Time. It’s one thing I find I always need more of. If I had all the time in the world imagine the things I could accomplish!! It can be super hard trying to understand what to do when you have multiple things that take time, but not enough time to put into all of them. Especially in 2017 where I started my blog, had my first year of exams, got my first job – I found that time really caught up on me and I just couldn’t fit in everything I wanted/needed to do.
It can be hard as well – and I’m sure many of you can relate to this – when, although you have these big commitments (school, uni, work, etc.), let’s call these the ’to dos’ for future reference; however you would rather be spending your time doing other things like seeing friends, pursuing hobbies, or just having down time – the ‘want to dos’. And this is completely fine, because if you only put time into the things that ‘need’ doing you would start to feel like you’re drowning, but at the same time, this feeling will also come into play when no time at all is put into them.
So how can we find a happy medium? A way to do the things we need to, and fit in those we want to? While this prospect is just not a reality, I’ve definitely picked up a few tips and tricks over the past year to help maximise the time on my hands, and have adopted a mindset which helps me stay far ahead of the game. Interested? Look no further than these 5 tips:
- Jot it down – A diary is 100% the best investment you can make towards improving your time management skills in 2018, although phone calendars are good also. However whether you’re going old school or digital, having these resources will only help you if you use them to their full potential. For example as soon a you find out about an upcoming task from work, school, or your bigger, ‘to do‘ commitments, it should be going straight in your diary on 3 dates: 1. the day you find out 2. a week before it’s due 3. the due date. This way you have no chance of forgetting about it and are more likely to begin it earlier, and complete it on time.
- Plan ahead – It’s completely fine to put time into things you want to do (hanging with friends, seeing a movie, getting a facial), however you need to make sure you stay on top of these things, so you can put them in your diary so you can work around them and figure out where you have the most time to work on your to dos. e.g. if you’re going to a friends birthday lunch/do, put this in your diary as soon as you find out so you know you’ll be unavailable this day to complete any other tasks. Doing this will help you see how much time you really have on your hands and allow you to not over schedule any ‘want to dos’ that make it impossible to complete the ‘to dos’.
- Prioritise – I’m gonna be real here, you’re never going to be able to complete that assignment if you’re focussing your time on lunches with friends, extracurricular activities, episodes of stranger things, etc. and that’s just common knowledge. This can be applied to anyone whether you’re in school with due assignments or not – the to do side of your life – whether this is work, school or something other, will never thrive if you’re putting all your time and effort into your want to do side. If you know or come to realise that you’ve over-committed yourself this year, the most important thing for you to do is prioritise – and you might have to be brutal. Here you’ll need to work out what is most important to you – and these can be a mixture of ‘to dos’ and want to dos’. After doing so you’ll have to remove a few things that just aren’t necessary from your schedule, and this could be hanging out with friends or even an extracurricular commitment you have to stop, but at the end of the day if it’s interfering with the more important things in your life – drop it.
- Have your long term goals in mind – these could be ‘get a scholarship to uni’, ‘graduate with honours’, ‘get promoted’, ‘move to a different city’. If the things you’re putting time into aren’t going to positively affect these goals or your wellbeing then they’re wasting your time. For example if you’re saving up to buy your first house, things like working and any additional money making schemes are going to help you achieve your end goal, however a ‘girls trip’ overseas with your friends will definitely not. The same goes for younger people, if your goal is to get a scholarship to law school at uni then focussing time on getting good grades and commitments like debating are going to serve more purpose than commitments like sports, it’s fine to do sports, however if you do too many and they begin to interfere with the bigger things like schoolwork, this is when they begin to negatively impact your long term goal.
- Put a time limit on things and stick to it! – This tip applies to both the ‘to dos’ and the ‘want to dos’ because if you start either with an indefinite completion time, you’ll be left with no time left in your day. For example, if you decide to work on your homework for an hour, giving 30 minutes to two different subjects, you’re more likely finish this work within the 30 minute time and probably quicker than what you would’ve done it in had you been casually working on it. The same goes for want to dos, if you wanting to watch youtube for example, give yourself a time frame and stick to it! If you give yourself 40 minutes of watching time you’re more likely to move on to your ’to dos’ after the time is up, and won’t be tempted to watch one video after the other, and so on.
I know that getting yourself organised and motivating yourself can often be hard, and it can be easy at the best of times to let yourself be distracted by all the want to-dos in your life, but if you try hard and work at these tips I can guarantee that you’ll find yourself with more time on your hands this year. So what are you waiting for? Go grab yourself a diary and make this year the best yet!!