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Don’t Have Enough Time In The Day? Here’s How To Change That With This Time Management Tool

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

“What did I even do today,” was something I was asking myself a lot. It seemed like I was getting tasks done, but I was always racing against the clock with no time for anything else besides work. The realization for much needed change came when a guest speaker for my marketing class spoke of maximizing the “white spaces” on our Google calendars. He asked us to analyze how we make use of this time and how much of it exists on our schedules. Let me just say, my calendar was looking pretty white- which ironically, did not reflect my day at all or how stressed I felt. But I also was doing all my “living” after 11PM (gym time was 12AM)! So enough being enough, I decided this past week that I wanted to maximize my time and just live life more fully.

Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer Stress
Anna Schultz / Her Campus

Surprisingly, my marketing class gave me another idea of how I can boost productivity and still make time for that self-care: task managing tools! 

Phase 1: the hunt for the perfect task manager program. In my search, I was seduced by Monday.com’s clean, simple, yet effective aesthetic that allows you to visualize your tasks or plan, which is then instantly more gratifying once you are able to mark a task complete with one easy click. Unfortunately, Monday.com is not free but nevertheless, I was hooked and I knew exactly what I needed. I needed a visualization of what my tasks were to properly plan out my week and keep me accountable. 

Phase 2: research alternatives. This is when I found Trello! A free alternative to Monday.com that offers that same visual aspect, but more like a vision board for your tasks with lots of lists. The default is set to making three lists: a “To do” list, “Doing” list, and “Done” list. You can add tasks to the “To do” list and shift it to the “Doing” list if you are working on it. Once you’re done, you then move it to the “Done” list to see all your progress–or lack thereof.  Very satisfying!

Phase 3: set up Trello. I thought I would test Trello for a week and see how my day changes. The trial began when I made my first board specifically for this week on Monday. A bonus about this tool is that you can customize the board like an actual vision board. I set my board’s background to a blazing sunset on the beach, my heaven-on-Earth! I think this is a beneficial aspect of Trello because the images they offer can provide a calming effect in contrast to the stressful tasks at hand. It was so easy to navigate and beautiful that I was motivated to start right away!   

Phase 4: Trello test run. I made use of Trello for 4 days and I made some significant strides and changes to my daily routine! I was the girl who woke up at 12PM and I was still tired. Now I  am waking up at 8AM and I was finally able to find the time to explore Irvine! Day 1 was this past Monday and within a couple minutes, I had listed all of my tasks for the week with due dates as my deadlines. 

On Tuesday, I was able to get through half of my work. I realized that most of my week’s work is busy work that I can knock out in a short amount of time if I stay focused. Heck, I even finished homework I usually did on the weekend! The ability to visualize my entire week really incentivized me to work harder and faster to free myself from mundane tasks to do more. As a competitive person, the idea of being able to see the complete those tasks made me more driven to achieve goals that I never knew I wanted to attain. 

Within this past week, I was able to reach my goal of going to the gym every single day- and get this…that’s how I start my day! I never thought I could be this morning person who would wake up and feel excited to go to the gym while still having a full day ahead. Another goal I achieved was going beyond campus and the UTC area. With the extra time I had to spare in between classes, I decided to explore this area behind my apartment complex that seemed like a pond on Google maps. So on Wednesday, I switched out my usual gym routine to go hiking to this place. I found out that a duck pond and a regional park had been a street behind me this entire time! Overall, it felt like using Trello helped me find time that I didn’t think I had, which improved my headspace greatly.

Phase 5: conclusion. Trello, please don’t take this personally, but it’s a no from me. Yes, I’m grateful for how much I was able to complete this week, but I caught myself thinking about Monday.com’s satisfying, colorful buttons. I just really wanted to click a button to mark the completion of a task! For the first few days, I kept that three list set-up, but I grew tired of physically moving the task of one list to another. My solution was to try mixing it up by adding sub-tasks to the tasks on the list, which are actually “checkable” checklists. This way allowed me to finally have the effect of checking tasks off my list. Another problem was that I did not like how the titles were not specific to each course I was taking, so I changed the titles and made separate lists for each class I’m taking this quarter. In the end, however, I believe it was not a right fit for me, but it is a tremendous help if you are a scatterbrain like me or would like to better distinguish the important tasks from the petty ones. I recommend that you give Trello or any task manager tool a trial run to maximize your day if you feel the same way I did and need a boost in the right direction!

woman sitting on sofa looking at phone
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Kimberly is a California-native who draws her inspiration from nature, culture, her Spotify playlists and French-pressed coffee. She is passionate about giving her opinion on culture, media and tech.