Time Management: A Few Tips to Manage Yourself a Little Better.
At some point between finals’ week all-nighters and the onslaught of meetings during your 60-hour work-week, you’re going to realize: time management matters. The cost of procrastinating becomes more than just a bad effort grade, and there are no extensions in the real world.
There’s no sugarcoating it. In our world, time is truly money.
The silver lining, though, to learning the importance of time management the hard way is that you realize that everyone has to work hard at it. It’s not some innate talent that a few people possess. Like all good things in life, you have to try.
There are plenty of amazing resources and strategies out there on the glorious internet that help you manage your time (see here, here, and here). But these are worthless if you’re not in a frame of mind that’s conducive for time management.
Here are a few tips to help you get your head in the game and always be on time:
This may seem counterintuitive, so let me back up.
Words, especially negative words, have reinforcing power. Talking about how busy you are isn’t going to make you any less busy; it’ll just contribute to your stress levels. And in a world with so much technology, we hear enough about busy-ness and stress.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell people that you don’t have time for something. But instead of just doling out that catch-all phrase, try actually spelling out what you’re doing instead. For example, you could say, “I have to do x, y, and z, I don’t think I’ll have time for that.” You might realize you have more time than you think. If not, at least now you’ve reminded yourself of what tasks you have to do.
2. Take lots of breaks in your workday.
By breaks, I don’t mean social media time. I mean actually get up and walk around, even if it’s just to the bathroom and back. These don’t have to be long breaks either, just five minutes apiece.
Lots of little breaks let you stagger your energy so you don’t get exhausted so fast. They also help clear your brain, and they give you time to work through any problems you’re stuck on. Plus, changing your posture keeps you alert and helps you focus. If you need something to remind you to take a break, check out the Pomodoro Technique (and you can find free timers online!).
3. 3. Let your mind wander. Write it down. Move on.
Hyper-focus is not an easy thing to achieve. It’s probably not even natural. And yet we’re trained to see that as a goal instead of letting our minds operate the way they’re used to.
Instead of over-exerting my brain and then getting upset with myself when I get distracted, I’ve started to keep a notebook next to me while I work. That way, whenever a random thought pops into my head, I’m able to write it down to deal with later. It’s a good way to externalize all of the other things in my head, and sometimes great ideas come out of it. After I’ve written down whatever it is that crossed my mind, it’s easy for me to go back to work with a renewed sense of focus.
4. Don’t eat junk food.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, hey, I’ve done so much today, I deserve a little break. Treat yourself, right?
There are two problems with this attitude. The first and more obvious problem is that junk food is the surest route to lethargy. It weighs down on you, sucks all your energy to your stomach and makes you sleepy after the initial rush.
The second problem is thinking that fueling yourself with junk food is a treat for your body. If it makes you feel like crap afterwards, it probably was crap to begin with. If you really want to thank your body after a long day’s work, give it something that’s actually good for it. If you start to treat your body with respect, you’ll start to treat your mind with respect. And that’s how you truly treat yourself.
- Saffa Khan