Time slips by so quickly: classes, internships, programs, special events, various obligations, even those of a personal nature, all require time. With the hustle and bustle of life one forgets to put the self first. With so many things on the “To Do” List, some things just never get done in time. Knowing that so much is expected of you, even by yourself, can be overwhelming. But be assured, there are ways to get done what NEEDS to be done. By managing your time effectively you may even do what you WANT to do, here are some tips to help!
Prioritize means to determine the importance of things, if you find yourself overwhelmed take a breath and remember to weigh importance. A “To Do List” looks way less hectic when there is order to it. Ask yourself, “What needs to be done immediately and what can be done last?” Every other task should fall somewhere in between those two polar items on the list. Be sure to also note what can be done a little at a time or broken up into different projects, then spread those tasks out within a reasonable timeframe. Once you have prioritized and understood your tasks you will have completed a very important step in your road to better time management.
Once you have the list of what needs to be done you can begin to concentrate on how it will be done. Ever heard of the phrase, “There’s always more than one way to skin a cat?” Well there’s usually more than one way to get a task done. Encourage yourself to think outside of the box and to utilize all resources. People, for example, can be great resources. They can motivate you, help you form a study or focus group, help you get a better understanding of your work, and of course, connect you to others to point you in the right direction. Maybe that person you never thought to come to could be an unexpected resource. If people are not your preferred resource, consult a book, a computer program, or customer service. Remember there is always more than one way.
One of the greatest investments I have ever made has been in a planner. Planners allow you to get a better sense of how you will be using your time by applying your list of tasks to dates. Dating tasks give them a sense of urgency if needed or quell anxiety when not. They also help you predict what may stand in the way of you accomplishing your goal and enable you to plan for hindrances. Get a planner. Watch it change your life.
Sometimes the last thing we leave time for is ourselves. Truth is, no matter how busy you are, you must have time for yourself. Without sleep, nourishment, and time, you cannot expect much to be productive and get it all done. Managing time requires focus, something you cannot have if you are distracted by personal needs.
Part of self care is saying “no”. It is not always easy to do. You may feel terrible for saying it. But saying no can be healthy and helpful when you have a lot on your plate. And when you think about it, you cannot manage your time well if you have no time. You cannot do it all, all the time.
TALK TO YOURSELF
Every now-and-then, when you find yourself procrastinating or getting behind, remind yourself of what’s important. Remind yourself that you need to use your time like it is valuable, that you have goals and a plan, and the only way to reach those goals is to follow that plan. Get real with yourself and your time. But most importantly,
Be encouraged. The tasks will get done. You will survive!
Written by: Cynthia M. Sharpe, a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson