- Find out where you are wasting time
Tracking your activities so you can form an accurate picture of how you spend your time is an important first step in effective time management. Mobile phones can now track how long you use certain applications. Pay special attention to your use of social media platforms and mobile phone games. Do not let distractions eat up your time: cut them off from your schedule or set limits.
- Set SMART time management goals
Once your SMART goals are established, set additional time management goals that change your behaviour. A good place to start is eliminating your personal timewasters such as unproductive social media use.
- Prioritise wisely and remove non-essentials tasks/activities
Prioritise tasks based on importance and urgency. Removing non-essential tasks/activities frees up more of your time to be spent on genuinely important things.
- Set a time limit to complete a task
It will help you be more focused and efficient when completing tasks, such as studying. Putting limits to the use of timewasters is also a way to reduce their use progressively. Consider also setting limits on the time you spend focusing on basketball.
- Take a break between tasks
Allow some downtime between tasks to clear your head and refresh yourself. Consider scheduling a brief nap, going for a short walk, or meditating.
- Organise yourself
Using your mobile phone calendar is the easiest way to manage your time effectively. It will also improve your long-term time management.
- Plan ahead
Make sure that you start your day with a clear plan of what needs to be done that day. Make it a habit to, at the end of each day, update your calendar with your planning for the next day.
- Use time management tools
Whether it’s a physical agenda or digital application, a key step to managing your time is knowing where you currently spend your time and planning how you are going to spend time in the future.
- Establish routines and stick to them as much as possible
While crises will arise, you will be much more productive if you can follow routines most of the time. Try to wake-up and go to bed at the same time; or try to schedule your education hour at the same time every day.
- Don’t waste time waiting
From travels to medical appointments, it is impossible to avoid waiting for someone or something. Always take something to do with you so you can make the most of your waiting time. Nowadays, technology allow you to study anywhere!
- Don’t multitask
Multitasking may seem like a good way of getting extra work done, but in reality, it decreases your productivity. The best way to manage your time is to focus on a single task at a time and give it your full attention while you’re working on it, to avoid mistakes.
- Reward yourself for your successes, but don’t punish yourself for failure
Rewards can be a great motivator. Give yourself a small reward for every task that you accomplish in the day. This can be in the form of a short walk, or an extra use of social media if that is what you like. On the other hand, punishing yourself for not sticking to the plan will decrease your motivation and increase frustration.
- Follow a time management course
This is just a small guide. There are organisations that are experts in providing this training and they could give you further advices that could be tailored to you. Time management skills don’t come naturally. Investing in improving them is not a waste of time; it will pay off sooner or later.