Top Ten Tenacious Time Management Tips!

Allyssa Ertz, Arts & Life Editor

It’s that time of the year again.  Schoolwork is piling up, tests are coming, and everyone seems to be demanding something of you!  There’s only 24 hours in a day.  How are you going to fit it all in, schoolwork, extracurriculars, athletics, membership in organizations, working out, sleep, AND still have some fun?  Believe it or not, you don’t need superpowers to manipulate time.  You just need these 10 time management manipulation tips! 

1)  Plan ahead! 

Whether it’s for the month, week, or just the day, this can be essential in accomplishing what you need to.  If you’re not a usual “planner” and struggle to space out your day effectively, take 10 minutes in the morning to write down what you’re going to do that day.  This mentally roots itself into your brain, and you have that reminder whenever you see that note. 

If you’re not a morning person, finding that you need that 10 minutes to get ready or eat breakfast, take the time to do it the night before right before you head to sleep.  Having this list of things to do will remind you that taking one task at a time will help you accomplish your overall goals. 

2)  Use a planner/online calendar. 

My planner is essential in keeping every little piece of my life organized.  It has every single class, organizational meeting, and extra task inside, all highlighted for each specific class/topic it’s under.  Now, you probably aren’t as OCD as I am about organization, but a planner helps IMMENSELY in truly knowing what you have to do. 

You’ve probably heard this a million times but keeping a planner will help you be less stressed and realize what you need to get done as a priority, and what comes next.  I always write things down as they come about in my life, and separating things according to what makes sense in your brain will help you to be most efficient. 

“One way I better my time management is by keeping a planner with a list of what needs to get done each week.  This way, I don’t get overwhelmed and I am able to see what needs to be done when.  Then, I can plan my day around sports, eating, friends, faith, and me-time,” junior Digital Media major and soccer player Ella Wiebusch says. 

When I was a freshman in college, I didn’t have a clue how to use my online Outlook calendar, let alone set up meetings with professors or other students.  However, this is how I found BVU mainly interacts with each other on a daily basis, so I figured out how to use it by asking professors and some friends.  This is now how I keep my entire life on schedule! 

This calendar, as well as other online calendars, will remind you when you have a meeting, and include the other person in that scheduled event.  It allows you to see your entire schedule on a monthly scale, and has many other features that will benefit you to have a more effective way of viewing your life, if a planner is not sufficient for you.  I highly recommend this as a way of keeping yourself on schedule.  An additional tip in this arena is to schedule out a block of time out in the calendar for homework time, so that no one is able to schedule anything with you and you have that time specifically to get tasks done. 

3)  Find your priorities. 

I speak from experience, if I know something has to be done for tomorrow, and it continually gets pushed back for that day, my stress also continually undergoes an increase.  If you can, try to get the most important tasks that HAVE to be done for the day in the morning.  This will immediately take a load off of your shoulders!  Plus, you will most likely be more productive and get other tasks done ahead of time later in the day.  Or, you’ll have some free time! 

4)  Switch your schedule. 

Maybe you’re finding that your day-to-day scheduling is just not working for you anymore.  Change it!  You may have to let go one commitment or just plan ahead to organize your days better.  Next semester, you could even try to arrange your classes so that they work better for you in a planned schedule. 

If you’re an athlete, there are ways to manage this as well.  As a previous track athlete, I personally made sure that my schedule allowed for some down time in between class and practice. 

“I manage my time by getting my workouts and homework done early in the morning,” junior basketball player and Environmental Science major Billy Sparks says. 

Talk to your professors or your academic advisor to see if it would be possible for your next class schedule to be arranged differently for your needs, if you think this would benefit you. 

“Another thing I recommend, if you can manage it, is having all your classes in one chunk.  As an athlete, this helps me because then I know I’ll have an extended period of time to study before practice,” Wiebusch elaborates.  

5)  Make recharge time! 

Going from meeting to meeting, to class, to working, out to the next thing to the next to the next might seem as if it would be the best way to get everything done.  This may, in fact, be counterproductive.  You need a break for your brain to process recent information and activity so that you can go into the next with a fresh mind. 

If you need to, schedule a block of time, even just 15 minutes worth, where you will have that amount to sit down and take a break.  This will make you way more successful in the long run of your day. 

6)  Go where your environment enhances your productivity. 

Is your room REALLY going to be the best place to finish that science assignment?  Maybe it is for you, but maybe it’s not.  I know I can get work done in my room when it’s clean, so it is worth it for me to pick my messiness up and put stuff away before I try and do my homework. 

If people are always in your room or you seem to find distractions left and right, you may want to figure out another place to study.  Of course, there’s always the library, but this might not be the best spot.  Find a cozy little spot to dedicate to getting things done, training yourself mentally to only be productive in that place. 

7)  Phone. Down. 

I am SO guilty of this.  Checking my phone randomly makes EVERYTHING take 10 times longer than it really should.  If you’re heading to another place, leave the phone in your room.  If you’re not, place it somewhere you won’t touch. 

8)  Seriously, sleep. 

No sleep = no thinking straight.  Not getting enough sleep will only make you 1) feel awful, 2) not think straight, and 3) just “get it done” instead of doing your best.  You could set a reminder on your phone when it comes time to get ready for sleep or have a steady bedtime every night to make yourself at least try to get 7-8 hours a night. 

If you just cannot sleep, sleep tea and sleep lotion has been a wonderful mechanism for me to be able to drift off and get those zzz’s.  Reading has also been a great way for me to put the electronics down for the night, so the LED lights don’t keep me awake for hours on end.  Start a new series and make it a habit to read a half hour before bed so that you are getting the sleep you need this next week. 

9)  Say “no.” 

So many things to do.  So many people to please.  How will I do it all?  Yeah, I’ve been there, too.  You want to help everyone out, but you just don’t have the time to do it all and keep yourself sane.  You may have to say “no,” so that you don’t feel so stressed and then hate yourself when you don’t do it all at your best. 

It’s hard to say no.  It really is!  But, sometimes, it’s necessary.  If you’re a yes man (or woman!) it’s never going to work for you to produce your best product when you have a million things to do.  Choose what you want to do most, and this will make your to-do list much easier to approach.  I truly speak from experience! 

10)  Quit being “perfect”. 

It’s never, ever going to be perfect.  Perfection is a wonderful thing to strive for, but if you are constantly beating yourself up for being imperfect, it will just make you more and more miserable and frustrated.  Perfectionism is a blessing and a curse! 

Try to be perfect but satisfy yourself with doing your absolute best.  You can’t be perfect, no matter how hard you try.  You can, however, aim for perfection in everything, but ditch the beating yourself up when it didn’t turn out the way you wanted.  This new approach will make you the best you can possibly be!