I have to admit—my time management skills during my first year at university were extremely subpar. I waited until the last minute to do many assignments, using the excuse, “I work better under pressure” to justify my bad decisions. My eating schedule was extremely off. I was basically terrible at being an “adult”. However, last spring, one of my very organized friends wanted to help and bought me a week calendar. We went over each of my days, filled out my class schedules, and then she blocked out times for me to study for a particular class, eat lunch, watch Netflix, etc. Something amazing happened. I actually followed this calendar.
Summer came and went and I had a new class schedule on my hands. Being the gullible person I am, I thought I would be fine. I don’t need a calendar to follow, right? I was wrong. A few months in I was falling back into my old habits. I stepped up my time management game by colour-coding my planner, and this semester was gifted a desk planner. These have been game changers for me, yet I still wanted a way to keep on top of my assignments and daily life down to the hour. I decided to block out study hours and meal times on my daily planner. Here’s what happened.
At first, I was excited. I went to the library and followed my study plan, doing reading for one class for an hour and switching when the time was up. The second day I strayed a little bit, simply changing up the classes I’d study for at specific times and eating meals at a different time. However, the third day I was exhausted. I had barely gotten any sleep the night before, and just wanted to nap all day. I felt incredibly guilty for cheating out on my challenge, yet I needed to do what was best for my body and well-being. The other days were a little rocky, and I ended up just creating a checklist for what I needed to complete each day. I found that to be a lot more manageable.
Overall, I would call my challenge to myself a success. Although I did not follow each day’s plan, I figured out what time management method was best for me—a daily checklist, and two planners. I found that a strict plan only made me anxious to follow what I wrote down, forgetting that I am human and if I need to eat earlier or nap in between study breaks, it’s okay. If time management is a huge struggle for you, challenging yourself to become just a little more organized—maybe by buying a new planner, or making lists—is a huge step in the right direction.