Time Management 101
By Brianna Pennella, Student at Ithaca College
It's no exaggeration that the beginning of a new semester can be hard to manage. Throw in your goals for the new year, and it can get downright challenging.
Between your classes, schoolwork, extracurricular activities, internships/work and “me time," what about your New Year’s resolution to get back to the gym? How on Earth do you fit all of it into just one day?
It seems like there are simply not enough hours to do it all and yet you still need to get all of it done. However, with a little effort and some appropriate time management, you can find yourself with all hours you need.
The best place to start is by prioritizing your activities. What comes first? If it’s schoolwork, make sure this gets the time of day when you can give your undivided attention and focus. This could be anything from post-dinner to your lunch break. Next figure out what needs to be done that you might not necessarily want to do. Put this activity right before whatever your leisure or relaxing time is. This will encourage you to get it done in order to get to your preferred activity. Be careful not to rush through or blow it off, though!
Another key factor in time management is routine. Having a structured schedule and habitual activities makes your time flow better. Then, as time goes on, you become more efficient at certain aspects. A routine may sound boring, but good habits are the foundation of a good lifestyle. This is key when staying motivated for activities such as going to the gym. If it is a part of your daily schedule, you will become less likely to skip out. Jumping around with activities encourages you to blow something off in favor of something else or nothing at all.
The application of these ideas is simple. For example, I’m currently studying in Los Angeles for the semester and just settling into a new routine. I have an internship, classes, social commitments and a workout routine to stick to. In order to maintain all of these things, it takes a little bit of effort at the start, but eventually it will become a habit that it is more difficult to break than continue. For example, I go to the gym after my internship on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now it has become a habit to come home, have a snack and head straight out. It’s almost like autopilot, in the best way.
It is very important to factor in time to breathe and relax, too. You’re not a machine, so don’t try to be one. Habits and routines are great until they run every aspect of your life. So take time for yourself. Maybe it’s an hour to catch up on shows or 10 minutes of reading. In any case, maintaining mental health is necessary to a beneficial routine.
Getting over the hump of starting a new routine is the final challenge in time management. The best way to execute this is by starting small. If you’re someone who likes lists, make one. If you prefer to discuss your plans with others, find a friend who will listen. Making a general plan before hand is always a good idea. After you develop your routine, remember to remain flexible. You may over or underestimate the time needed for certain activities. In the first weeks of your routine, make sure you’re able to adjust. Along with this, it is important not to freak out when your routine is derailed. One day of off-schedule activities shouldn’t ruin the overall plan.
Lay out your day in way that makes sense to you. If it’s comfortable, it will be easier to settle into. A night owl shouldn’t force themselves to get up early and visa versa. If you develop something that works, it will be a breeze to stick to it. So as the new semester gets underway, so should your new routine.
With a little time and planning, you’ll be on your way to a smooth semester and new year!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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