Do you ever feel like there is more work to do than there are hours in the day?
1) Figure out how much time you have.
The first step to getting control over your time is to determine exactly how much of it you have. Start with your calendar (printed or digital) and input all of your “non-negotiable” tasks, such as classes, doctor’s appointments, and any other things that happen at a set time. Next, block off time for class preparation.
Pro tip: Schedule your class prep for at least 2 days before the class meets. This way, if something comes up, you won’t be behind.
Finally, don’t forget to block off time for your extra-curricular activities and personal tasks.
2) Prioritize how to spend your time.
Once you have a complete picture of exactly how much time you have, you need to figure out the best way to spend it. First, set your goals. Decide what success looks like to you.
Next, create prioritized to-do lists to help you reach those goals. To create a prioritized to-do list, you should brainstorm all of the tasks you need to do to reach your goals, mark the tasks that are urgent or time-sensitive, determine which tasks need to get done first, and rewrite your list in order of importance. Creating prioritized to-do lists allows you to know exactly what you need to work on during the time blocks you created in the previous step.
3) Become a productivity machine.
You can plan all day every day, but the thing that really makes time management work is actually executing the plan.
In order to become a productivity machine, start by minimizing distractions. That means getting off Facebook, turning off Netflix, and stepping away from your texts. If you find yourself particularly distracted by technology, consider downloading an app that can help keep you focused by blocking access to specific apps.
Next, If you find yourself procrastinating starting a task, commit to doing it for 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes you truly don't’ want to do it, stop. However, you’ll often realize that the task isn’t so bad and you keep going.
Finally, set up an accountability system. The easiest person in the world to disappoint is yourself. So, if you are the only person who knows about your goals, you are far less likely to reach them. To combat this, share your goals and your plans to reach them with an accountability partner. Ideally, the person you choose is someone whose opinions and advice you respect as well as someone who you don’t want to let down by failing to keep your word.
While you can’t get more hours in the day, no matter how hard you pray for them, you can use these tips to make the most of the time you do have.
Kerriann Stout is the CEO of Vinco bar exam coaching company