A Guide to Time Management

I’m a busy girl. I’m sure you are too; it seems that there’s never ever enough time to do the tasks we need to. I’ve been known to have excellent time management skills, though. Years of learning to procrastinate and still deliver a great result have made me the perfect candidate to talk about this. I’m no stranger to being called crazy for the workload I take on (22 hours of class with a part-time job while writing for Her Campus and maintaining a romantic relationship is the most I’ve done at once, but I’ve since calmed down).

But the fact is: I’ve got nothing but time.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So, here’s the rundown on how I manage my own time to hopefully help you manage yours.

KNOW YOUR LIMIT. My limit is not the same as yours. I can sleep for five hours and then participate in a 14-hour day. If you need nine hours of sleep, get those nine hours, prioritize them. Time block it into your schedule. If you need an hour to lay on the floor, put it in your schedule. Do not try to do more than you know yourself capable of because you could potentially be letting down others or, worse, yourself. You’re allowed to say: “I have a lot on my plate right now and if it’s not time sensitive I can take a look at it at a different time.” Definitely don’t be afraid of a plain old “No.” either.

Lists are your best friend. I’ve got lists everywhere for everything. Grocery lists, school homework lists, miscellaneous tasks lists. Just list it up. Write everything down that you need to remember to do, don’t just keep it in your head. That being said, you might have a small list for things you need to get done in an eight-hour span and then another list for things you need to do after that. Don’t overwhelm yourself with one list because it will look impossible to complete. We’re going for the little victories here.

Prioritize. With the last two points in mind, you need to prioritize your time. A very simple method of doing this is by thinking of the Eisenhower Matrix. Dwight Eisenhower was the King of Productivity, the man knew what he was doing. I’ll link an article to why here, but basically, his Matrix looks something like this:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately)

  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later)

  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else)

  4. Neither urgent or important (tasks that you will eliminate)

Not that you can’t procrastinate, you just have to do it smart. If you’re constantly procrastinating and getting angry at your past self, you’re doing it wrong. Always think of how your future self is going to react to your past self.

You can only do one thing at a time. Never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing.

GIF Courtesy of Gif

This seems stupid but also like common sense. In the real world, making half-baked work because you’re doing multiple things at once means you’re not going to get the client, it means you’re not doing your best. Doing two things at once is also very stressful and leads you to become frustrated faster. I, personally, try to do my hardest tasks first. If I know I’m going to have to walk to the post office, stand in line and then deal with the worker, I’ll do that first. Because, after that headache, folding my clothes doesn’t seem like such a terrible task.  

Take care of yourself! Nothing is worse than going through a full day of classes with no sleep! You won’t retain anything, you’ll feel terrible and you’ll think of playing in traffic when homework is assigned. Same goes for eating, fuel your body! You are a human, not a machine, you will crash and it will just mess everything up even more. If you feel yourself getting too stressed, take a break, go for a walk, sing a song, just let your brain settle a little before going back at it.

My planner, notebook and sticky notes are never far from my reach and if you want to manage your time well keep those close and use them. Life is crazy, but you can absolutely manage it.