How to Manage Your Time Effectively
Time is the biggest limiter, "Time is the fire we harness", and learning to efficiently use your time will aid in your success.
Hello, and welcome back to this week's edition of the Project Uni Blog! This week, we'll be tackling the final frontier: time. Time is often against people, and no people group more often than students; with due dates, tests/quizzes, project timelines, summatives, and only 24 hours to complete all of your homework, a student's daily schedule can be very unruly and disorganized. So, we invite you to join us on our journey to learn efficient time management.
One of the biggest problems students face is choosing where to start, frequently being swamped with work. Being able to prioritize which tasks you need to complete first, last, etc. will allow you to finish the most important activities first. Specifically, priorities have a hierarchy and certain things may be more important to one person and be the opposite for another. Take the following diagram with a pinch of salt.
Weightage: Importance of the task or how big of an impact it will have on you or your grade
E.g. Presentation > Homework
Time Constraint: If all of the above priorities are equal, whichever activity has the nearest due date has the highest priority
Easiest or Convenience If all of the above priorities are equal, whichever activity is the easiest to complete has the highest priority
Commitment: If all of the above priorities are equal, whichever activity you are more committed to or driven to complete has the highest priority
Preference: If all of the above priorities are equal, whichever activity you feel more compelled to pursue has the highest priority
Schedules serve to keep their users on track and they're very effective at it. Though, schedules can be rather daunting and seem like a lot of commitment. In addition, "schedule" has turned into somewhat of a buzz-word that could signify a plethora of different scheduling techniques and methods. So, we've gathered a brief compilation of tips, advice, and schedule variants:
Tips & Advice
Break down your tasks on your schedule into smaller, easier steps; this serves to reward you with consistent milestones and foster a positive feedback loop
Create a routine; creating a routine allows you to get into a groove, spend less time remembering what you have next, and gives your days a predictable pattern
Plan free time for yourself; nobody is a robot and taking breaks to reset your state of mind and relax will boost your productivity when you return to the grind
Contextualize your tasks; rather than writing down the vague outline of whichever task you need to do, remind yourself what you need to do specifically, how you want to do it, where you want to do it, etc.
Plan ahead; equip yourself with the information you need to succeed ahead of time so you can add and rework your days as they draw near and you don't hit the ground running
Create a list of "Backburners"; backburners are tasks on the backburner, something you never quite get around to doing. Having a list of Backburners gives you something to do in your downtime or if you're ever ahead of schedule
Be realistic; if you find yourself constantly swamped or bogged down with work, then something has got to give. Find the root of the influxes in work and take action
Types of Schedules
Block Method: The block method entails the creation of blocks on your schedule that last varying amounts of time. The block method is extremely easy and effective to execute, and on top of being easy to predict, it's easy to read off of a calendar or agenda too. This is the recommended schedule for any day or situation.
Absolute Method: The absolute method is very simple, you set out the tasks in a day which you must finish. There are no alternatives but to do these tasks. This is the recommended schedule for someone who is consistently assigned projects, have a heavy workload, and not much else to do.
Session Method: The session method is a method which you execute within another scheduling technique. The session method is a way of organizing how you work. For example, give yourself half an hour to work and then allocate a five minute break; every hour and a half, allocate yourself a longer break. This method is recommended to those who have trouble focusing, work in short bursts of productivity or require frequent rejuvenation.
3. Fixing Your Sleep Schedule
As a teenager, having a poor sleep schedule is basically a right of passage. However, a poor sleep schedule does very little for you. Not only does it stunt your growth and give you eye bags, it puts you into TST, or "Teen Standard Time". Sadly, the world marches on without TST, to the detriment of those mislead youth. Here are some tips to get your sleep and biological clock back on track:
Commit to a routine; select your sleep schedule and commit to it. Don't flip-flop between times, and stay true even during the weekend, at least during the initial adjustment period.
Learn what works; figure out how you sleep best and give yourself the tools to sleep. If you can't sleep early, wake up early and have your body compensate later.
Sleep soundly; some people prefer to sleep in the dead of night, some prefer to have the peaceful sounds of the Mongolian Steppe echoing, and some prefer white noise. For the former group, consider investing in noise cancelling earbuds or headphones. For the latter groups, there exists countless websites which can give you your fix; "https://mynoise.net/" and "https://asoftmurmur.com/" are two excellent websites/apps to this end.
Skip naps; rather than compensating for a poor night's rest, save that exhaustion for one, all-out snooze-fest.
Mattress makes perfect; choose the bed that's right for you. Unless it's your jam, sleeping on a rock or cloud can be a detriment to your sleep; in addition, having the right pillow that fits your head and motion patterns will go a long way in assisting your sleep.
Time management is dynamic and in no-way easy; it requires some discipline, forethought, and commitment. Despite this, being able to master (your) time will give you near instant feedback and instant gratification. Despite sayings about the ocean and space, time is truly humanity's final frontier and harness; now it's up to our next generation to finally harness the harness.