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Time Management Strategies

by Alicia Qin

Time management is a skill that almost everyone needs to learn at some point in their lives. Without having a good sense of the tasks and events that need to be completed, you might even experience a rapid increase in stress and anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve compiled a list of strategies and resources that you can use to manage your time better and become more productive in your day-to-day life. These tips are all suggestions, but I’ve found them to be incredibly helpful and I hope you do too!

1. Use a calendar

We’re all very busy people, and because of that, scheduling can become hectic and difficult to manage.  To keep track of upcoming events or obligations, mark them down on a calendar! You can use a physical calendar, an app, any website that will help to remind you of where to be and what to do. Being prepared for these events can also prevent you from overbooking yourself, arriving late, or missing appointments on accident.

  • Google Calendar
    • This is the calendar that I use personally and I’ve found it to be extremely helpful in tracking and planning events in a busy schedule. Events can be inserted easily and the settings are very easy to use and understand.
  • Notion
    • Notion is a platform that can help you create calendars, task lists, and more. It has a variety of different data management capabilities and can also be used for team time management.

2. Make a to-do list

In order to manage your time wisely, you need to have a good idea of which tasks you need to complete and when. A good way to do this is to start a to-do list. You can physically write tasks down on a piece of paper, type them out, or use an app or program to track all of your tasks. There are dozens of good resources that can you help you do this, so here are just a few:

  • Reminders App (iOS)
    • This default app comes with any iOS device and is relatively simple and easy to use. Notifications can be set to create reminders for certain tasks if they need to be completed by a certain time.
  • Todoist
    • Todoist is another simple but effective to-do list app that you can use. It has a variety of different features that you can use, such as creating tasks, categorizing tasks, and managing tasks.

3. Schedule buffer time/breaks

It’s easy to plan out your day and assume that you’ll be able to go from one activity to the next seamlessly. The reality, however, is much different. Not everything goes smoothly and some activities will take longer or shorter than expected, and most of all, you need moments to breathe and relax throughout your day just as much as you need moments of focus and hard work. This is why it’s important to be conscious of and schedule breaks and buffer times between activities and events. By spacing out your time, you will actually be saving more time because you will decrease your amount of fatigue and increase your productivity.

4. Think ahead

Get into a routine of thinking ahead; have a good idea of the events coming up in your week so that you can be prepared for them. Scheduling events and marking tasks down is a good way to keep track of everything, but you should be aware of how you will try to balance everything throughout your day. I recommend going through a mental checklist of everything that needs to get done when you first wake up in the morning. You can do this while you brush your teeth or eat breakfast. Always thinking ahead will help you manage your time wisely so that you can accomplish as much as you want and plan to.

5. Time yourself

Distractions tend to come easily and can throw you off your schedule if you have many tasks that need to be completed. A good way to eliminate distractions and keep you on task is to find a safe and quiet space and mute all notifications. Another good way to keep yourself focused, however, is simply timing yourself. Timing yourself will make you more aware of your actions, and distractions will have less of an effect on your mindset.

  • Toggl
    • Toggl is a really great and free time-tracking software that you can use. It helps you categorize the tasks that you are working on and even generates reports on your levels of productivity.

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