Creating a Balance
When it comes to tackling all of our pressing tasks such as homework, projects, work, extracurricular activities, preparing for exams, and having enough time for ourselves, it is easy to feel incredibly overwhelmed. Spending a sufficient amount of time on each task becomes difficult as we naturally lose track of time getting lost in what is in front of us. The first and most important step in developing time management skills is to create a schedule that fosters a healthy balance between all pressing matters including periods just for you to enjoy yourself. For example, if you have an exam at the end of the week and a project due the following Monday, do not spend the entire week preparing for your exam and get around to working on the project over the weekend. Instead, dedicate anywhere between two to four hours per day on studying and another two to four hours working on the project bit by bit so that by the end of the week you have not only completed your work but you also have the weekend to do whatever makes you happy.
When creating an efficient schedule it is vital to account for an exact start time and end time, therefore once it is time to begin studying you commit yourself to working diligently and likewise once that period has come to an end it is necessary to put away your work so that you can decompress. This method prevents common college circumstances such as procrastination, overworking, intense stress, and anxiety since you are able to maximize the amount of time in a given day to its fullest extent without burning out too quickly. Additionally, whenever you relax the looming guilt hanging over you will cease as you will confidently recognize that you put forth your best effort so relaxing is well-deserved and earned.
Creating a healthy balance between productivity and leisure also means considering what hinders you from making the most out of your day in terms of having effective time management. Whether it be mobile devices, games, or those around you, when it is time to work on a task it is always best to set them aside to prevent becoming distracted. If being on your phone more often than necessary is the source of procrastination, download apps such as Forest which use a timer system in which you decide how long you will study and for that time your phone will be locked, restricting your ability to access social media, texting, and mobile games. Similar apps are available for laptops in which you can block access to specific websites such as YouTube or Netflix for a certain amount of time.
Socializing with friends and loved ones is always tempting, however in an effort to develop time management skills it is always best to keep in mind that there are periods to socialize and periods to work. Events, parties, and small gatherings can be reserved for “off-days” or after completing your daily work but never before so as leisure time before productivity reduces the likelihood of staying on track. Treat those moments as rewards from a long day of hard work so that you will remain motivated to maintain an effective schedule.
Developing Life-long Habits
Time management skills are a collection of habits after teaching yourself what works best for you in achieving your goals. These habits include a proper sleep schedule which is ultimately beneficial for your health, eating at set periods in the day, and most importantly having fun. Genuinely enjoying yourself through your hobbies and passions makes the fruits of your labor all that more worth it, therefore practice daily self-care in addition to your routine. Life-long habits are not solely about productive study methods but also what meals you have, maintaining proper hygiene, and taking breaks to refresh yourself. All of these simple parts of your day will collectively strengthen your time management skills as the 24 hours in a day are lived to the fullest.