Do you find yourself asking why are there never enough hours in the day? We all have the same 24 hours, but some people seem to get a lot more done than others. Good time management is the reason some people are so much more efficient. The highest achievers manage their time extremely well, and you can too. We want to learn to work smarter not harder, this can be done through mastery of the techniques below:
A Great Work Space
Find a quiet work space free of distractions; make sure this is an area designated to studying/working only. Do not study in bed, that area is for resting and you do not want to confuse the two. You want your mind and body to feel rested in bed, therefore doubling it as a work space is not a good idea. If you do not have a good work space at home, try your local library or school. Make sure this area is equipped with everything you will need to get your work done, pencils, paper, calculators etc. Make sure this work space is free of emails, phone calls or web surfing, unless its work related. The goal is to only have work take place in this area and nothing more.
Knowing Where To Start
Making a list of thing you need to do, using calendars, colour coordination and syncing all your electronics with your deadlines is important. Make sure you start with the most difficult assignments/tasks first. By doing this you make sure to get difficult things done when you are full of energy and your mind is in its best state. In turn you tackle easier tasks when you are starting to burn out and probably not as sharp or focused. Make sure you also do the most important tasks first, anything time sensitive should be a priority. Always remember to schedule in some self-care time as well, taking care of yourself is important to avoid burning out.
Designate A Study Time
Figure out what time you are most productive during the day and use that time well. Schedule in work and homework in between this time every day. Use this time to get stuff done, review and organize your life and tasks. Making this part of your daily routine will help improve your productivity. By doing this everyday it will eventually becoming second nature to you.
Figure It Out
How much time do you need to get things done? How much is each assignment worth? Ask yourself these important questions and make sure your schedule is realistic. You might have to reschedule a few things that aren't time sensitive to get some bigger projects done, or to make sure you have some time to relax and rejuvenate. Figuring out all the important details of each task is crucial to effective time management; you need all the information you can get to create the most effective schedule and game plan.
Learn To Say No
It's OK to say no. Your friends and family will understand if you can't go out one night, or need to find a more convenient time to see them. You have goals and responsibilities; anyone that cares about you will be supportive and understanding. Setting priorities and practicing good time management means sometimes saying no to things because you have more important things to focus your time on.
Always Be Involved
Do not mentally check out of meetings or classes, you're wasting valuable time. You have to be there, so might as well make it count. Take notes, ask questions, and get involved in what's happening around you. It clearly has some type of relevance towards what you are working on so pay attention for what that relevance is.
Organization Is Key
Everyone absorbs and organizations information differently, figure out what works for you. Organize your thoughts by hearing yourself speak out loud, using a spreadsheet, writing it down or creating flash cards. Use whatever method works best for you and keep it organized and in an accessible place for future reference.
Find A Study Buddy
I find that studying with your BFF usually turns into a gossip session and isn't at all productive. I suggest finding someone else in your class who you won't get distracted by, and who you only associate with studying. Find a colleague who shares your passion, but whom you don't spent your lunch breaks with gossiping about last weekend's adventures. Our friends tend to be distractions whether we want them to be or not, the two of you can always find 100 other things more interesting to discuss and do than actual hard work.
Don't Let Free Time Slip Away
Use travel time to review, prepare and start tasks. Listen to audio books and podcasts that can be beneficial to your future goals and plans instead of the radio. Make sure you can spot free time and use it; this will help you avoid staying up late when you should be resting your mind and body.
Communication Is Crucial
Do not wait until it's too late to communicate with your teacher or your team. If you don't understand something or need assistance bring that up immediately. Your teachers and team are there to help you succeed; they want to help you when they can. If you don't communicate your thoughts or ask for what you need, I guarantee you won't get it.
Most importantly always remember to celebrate and reward yourself for your hard work and achievements. Work smart, not hard.... but definitely play hard from time to time! You'll deserve it and enjoy it so much more!
Tania DaSilva, Child and Youth Therapist, firstname.lastname@example.org