Do you have trouble getting things done? It may seem like there arenít enough hours in the day, but perhaps you are not using your time as efficiently as possible. If you have too much to do and too little time to do it, here are some time management tips to help you get the most out of your day.
Time to Study
Set aside time to get your work done as soon as possible. When it's out of the way, you can move on to the fun stuff. Plan on spending between 30-60 minutes per subject. The subjects that come easily to you will take less time. This will leave extra time for your more difficult subjects. Use a month-per-sheet form or a calendar to record all of your big deadlines: papers, projects, exams, performances, etc. Donít forget to provide time in your daily or weekly study plan for those special reports and projects that are due at different times. If you donít stagger your work on the long-range projects over a period of time, you will suddenly find yourself facing not only their completion, but also your usual amount of daily assignments - and probably an important test besides! By the way, you should also plan some systematic review work a few times a week. Then everything youíve learned will remain fresh and vivid in your mind, and you wonít have to do last-minute cramming for exams.
Time to Organize
Donít have time to get organized? Getting organized now will actually save time in the long run. Time is too valuable to waste it on searching for things. We need to have a place for everything and put everything in its place. This enables us to concentrate on more useful things rather than on picking up, rearranging, and looking for things. When we put things down and not away, they just get piled up. Then one day when we need to find something, we have to shuffle, unstack, and search, yet it never occurs to us to establish a system that works in the first place. File cabinets are a must for storing papers, newsletters, and articles. Bookcases and shelves are an excellent investment not only for books, but for models and displays, as well as for storing stackable containers filled with small loose items. Store rarely-used materials in the back of the closet, under the stairs, or up on a high shelf. Reserve the easily accessible locations for materials that are regularly referred to. In general, things should be stored as close as possible to where they are most likely to be needed. Buy extra quantities of often-used essentials (such as pens, pencils, and paper) so there will be a supply handy in every room. Keep a box or basket in a central location to toss in things you find around the house, then set aside a certain time each day or once a week to return the items to their original locations. Make cleaning fun by playing lively music, singing a clean-up song, setting a time limit, or racing the clock (keep track of how long it takes and try to beat the time previously set).
Time to Read
Keeping information overload under control is possible if you have a system to manage and digest everything. Try to handle papers only once. Read them, file them, or discard them so you don't keep re-shuffling the same papers. Do the same with electronic mail. Get in the habit of reading part of a book each day, if only for 30 minutes. Keep a tote bag equipped with bookmarks, notepad, pencil, scissors, stapler and highlighter pen. Use it to store all the newspapers and magazines that you want to browse through. When you have time to sit down and go through it, you can take notes, selectively tear out articles to read, clip and staple what you want. When youíve finished, put the articles in a folder to keep with you for reading at breakfast, while riding your exercise bike, waiting for an appointment, etc. Recycle or dispose of the rest.
Time for Yourself
Time management is the ability to balance your activities so that life is not all work and no play. Scheduling time for recreation is just as necessary as meeting an important deadline. Think of free time as an appointment with yourself. You need time to clear your mind. Take breaks or even a 10-minute nap during the day if you can. Follow intense jobs with routine chores that give your mind freedom to roam. Vacuum the floor, weed the garden, go for a walk, take a long drive. Youíre active, but your mind is relaxed, and a solution to a problem youíve been working on may suddenly pop into your head Ė thus saving time wracking your brain later. Childrenís schedules donít have to be filled with activities every minute of the day, either. They need plenty of spare time for creative play.
First Things First: To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy by A. Roger Merrill, Rebecca R. Merrill, and Stephen R. Covey.
Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule--and Your Life, by Julie Morgenstern.
www.mindtools.com (Click on ďTime ManagementĒ to learn about practical techniques that have helped leading people in business, sports and public service reach the pinnacles of their careers. Articles, resources, and a downloadable e-book.)
www.alistapart.com/articles/pickle (The Pickle Jar Theory of Time Management. A simple idea that can help you get more done with less stress.)
http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/homemgt/nf172.htm (Thirteen Timely Tips for More Effective Personal Time Management.)
www.ucc.vt.edu/stdysk/TMInteractive.html (Where Does Time Go? Interactive self-assessment.)
www.collegeboard.com/article/0,3868,2-9-0-116,00.html (Time Management Tips for High School Students.)
www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/success/time.html (Time Management Resources for College Students, downloadable in Microsoft Word and/or Microsoft Excel format.)
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