When juggling many things at once and trying to balance school, work, and a good social life, it’s crucial that you know how to manage your time efficiently. Over the last few years I’ve had to develop certain habits that allow me to stay organized and stay productive on a regular basis.
Focus on one thing at a time
When I first came to the University of Oregon, I was the type of person that would shuffle between 2-4 assignments at once. It was hard to see progress because it was take me twice as long to get everything done. In my experience I have noticed that every time I transition to another assignment, it takes me awhile to get focused and figure out where I left off last. This year I have really made an effort to finish something once I’ve started it and it has been working out great for me. I believe that staying focused on one thing at a time has made me much more goal-minded and has enabled me to become much more efficient with my time.
Make a ‘to-do’ list
When balancing a busy life, it’s important that you set daily reminders so that you don’t forget the little things on a regular basis. Often times if I don’t have time to respond to an email, I will use the notes feature on my phone to remind me that I have to respond by the end of the day. This can also work for daily life necessities such as doing your laundry or paying your rent. This habit can go a long ways in making sure you do the things you wouldn’t usually put on your calendar or your planner. I would say the best practice for this habit is making your ‘to-do’ list one of the first things you do when you wake up in the morning, that way you know exactly what you need to do throughout the rest of the day and when you’re going to fit it in.
Plan out your week in advance
While working at the Emerald Media Group, I learned some very valuable habits from one of my bosses. He taught me how to plan out my week in advance in a effective manner and how to time block my days in order to make my schedule as productive as possible. When I was working for the Emerald, I would plan out my entire next week, Monday though Friday, every Friday before coming home from work. Then on Sunday, I would time block each day, meaning I would plan out each day based on the tasks I had to perform and what time I would perform each task throughout the day. Also, these tasks can vary from homework to work assignments, or even to getting lunch at some point during the day. It’s all about staying organized and always knowing what you have next. It’s also gratifying being able to check things off throughout your day and having that feeling of accomplishment.
Put away all social media
As a college student, this is something I’ve seen a lot of people my age struggle with. I’m convinced that social media is the number one distraction for college students today. When it comes to getting something done, you’re always better off just putting away all forms of social media for the time being. Its okay to take breaks every once in a while but it’s important that you prioritize what you need to get done first and try to avoid multitasking at all costs. Something I have found as very helpful in making sure I’m avoiding these distractions is blocking certain social media sites that I’m prone to visit for a certain duration of time. Last year I blocked Facebook and Twitter for my entire week of finals and I felt that this really helped me manage my time and stay focused throughout the week and I would suggest this to anyone my age that’s active on social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can always wait.