This Whole Time Management Thing…

I am not as good as I want to be at time management. There, I said it. What about you? Lately, it seems that time management is taking over my life and I’m not sure if I like it or not. Between 5 courses and the associated workload (= lots. All fourth engineering students nod their heads), trying to make time for God, Mr. Bean and my family, ballroom dancing lessons, two different bible/book studies, church duties, exercise, preventing my house from becoming like a bomb blast, counselling, trying to keep my sanity and stress levels low(ish) while preventing any kind of depressive or anxious episode, and writing in my blog let alone commenting, I’m pretty busy. Oh yeah, I have to remember to be a social being somewhere in there as well. (Can you tell which one falls to the wayside first? haha.)

Last time I saw my counsellor, he challenged me to come up with a system to manage my time so that I don’t stress out as much and fall down the slippery slope of negative mood swings. (like two weeks ago, which I really don’t want to repeat.) I haven’t really, so I need your help. Especially since I see him tomorrow – procrastination anyone?

I realize that I could spend lots of time scouring the interwebs on tips for time management, but I thought that it might be fun to ask all of you: What are your best tips for time management? How do(n’t) you effectively manage your time?

Please, do help a student out! I guess it’s time to stuff in some separation questions before bed. ;)

Please note that I do have a day timer, which is quite helpful for keeping track of when things are – Meeting with design project supervisor tomorrow – check, midterm and quiz on Thursday – check! But I have difficulty keeping track of all the tasks that I need to do. I usually end up writing them on a random piece of paper that gets lost in all the mess that equals my desk or kitchen table. Help?

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “This Whole Time Management Thing…

  1. Stopping by from SITS! I keep a cute notebook that I write all kinds of things in for each day. I keep track of my food intake, my exercise, my to-do list (which I mark off the items I get completed) and my list of things I am grateful for. It isn’t too hard, every morning I fill it out and then I know what I need to accomplish for the day. I really think writing a to-do list is most important. Then you can see what needs to be done first (usually the worst thing on my list) and get it out of the way.

    Hope this helps some! Good luck to you!

  2. Jen

    I hear you on time management. I worked in public accounting while studying for the cpa exam, doing my masters nearly full-time, playing a destination wedding, organizing a several hundred mile move of two full houses of stuff with just my husband (then fiance) without any other help or movers, I also started a new job in there…twice plus traveled pretty extensively for work. To say I exhausted my body and killed my health was an understatement. A few tips that I tried to put into place (and still do!) when mapping out my time. I made lists, a ton of them! Each week I make a weekly list of all the bigger stuff I need to get done, errands etc. So hw, studying, grocery store, run to the bank etc… I then would make a list first thing every morning of what needed to get done that day along with approximately how long it should take, any appointments and commitments would be included on this list (gym, bible study, yes, I even scheduled quality time-might not be romantic but it was often the only way it happened). That helped me to see up front if it was physically possibly to get it all done without majorly stressing out and trying to get the impossible done. I also make it a point to schedule small breaks throughout the day to give me a chance to clear my head, check email, etc. Staying on track and staying aware of the time helps too. Healthy meals, working out and sleep are key for my health so I plan the meals in advance and then do all the prep work (mis en place) during the weekend to get the food ready to go. I couldn’t do it all if I didnt’ have my husband by my side doing all the same as well, we’ve got a pretty good system going of areas where we work together or where we divy it up.

    If you’re constantly using your lists, I would recommend the long sticky notes lists that you can attach to your day timer. I do that a lot and it’s very helpful having it all in one place! Good luck!

  3. Michelle

    I love sticky notes for lists in my day timer. And I have a bulletin board in my office for things that I don’t want to loose, but aren’t quite as urgent, like wedding invitations and newspaper clippings.

    I also find saying ‘no’ to doing some things helps, even if they’re things I’d really, really like to do – you just can’t do everything! Saying no to church duties is a really good place to start, IMHO. God will provide someone to help the church – I’m sure He’d rather if you didn’t completely run yourself down trying to do everything! :)

    I also find that housework, while important, is not as important as eating healthy or getting a good night’s sleep. And a once weekly cleaning service can actually be surprisingly affordable.

    Let me know if you want to talk about it more – I majorly have to manage my time at work, and I like to thing that I’m somewhat good at it. :)

  4. I featured a great time management guru for students in my new book Find Your Time, available on Amazon. The guru’s name is W. J. Rapaport, How To Study. You will probably like since he uses cartoons to make his points. His website is at http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~rapaport/howtostudy.html Check him out! You can even make points with the counselor. Sandie

  5. brandy

    that cartoon is too true.
    Love the blog its making my hungry
    the buzz, Brandy

  6. I would love to help you except

    Kait sorta = Bean right now

    depressive/anxious episodes included.

    So good luck, is all I can say!

  7. i have no tips for time management because lately i have not been that great myself. i used to use a planner, and it kept me so on top of things. nowadays i’m so overwhelmed with the amount i have to do, i can’t seem to make myself do it and then it just keeps building up…

  8. I use my calendar as a to do list. I write due dates and appts on it, but I also have a space each day to write the three things that HAVE to get done that day.

    Sometimes it is just

    Go to the Gym
    Fold Laundry
    Call Insurance Company

    But I make sure I do THOSE things before I do anything else. No computer or blogging or TV or ANYTHING until those are done.

  9. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I don’t make that list until THAT day!!

    I on the side of my calendar I have a list of all the things that need to get done and I choose things off the list or add something that I find out about that day. Or if it is something like laundry, I just KNOW it has to be done.

  10. I have two tips and they are the hardest ever to follow.
    1) Say no. NO. It’s a small word, but oh so hard. You will have to say no to some things. Re-evaluate your activities and see which ones you can drop right now, just for a while, until you get through some of the rest (like school!!)
    2) Delegate, delegate, delegate. Or sometimes, it just means allowing someone else to do it. Even if they do it different than you. As long as it gets done!
    And with that said, I am TERRIBLE at both these things, so I feel your pain!!! Best of luck!
    ***Ally
    Stopping by from SITS

  11. I’m a big list maker. At my desk at work, I have sticky notes up as reminders of things I need to get done or do, but just can’t get to right that second. I have to write them down or I will forget. I also have been using my phone (which is like a blackberry) – it has a listmaker in there that I can use. But writing down notes on stickys is so much faster.

    But I am the world’s biggest procrastinator. I’m really bad, and my hubby makes it worse – all he wants to do on the weekends is watch TV. So I tend to get overwhelmed during the week when he isn’t around, trying to get everything done and usually failing miserably. Life is hard, and I don’t even have kids yet!!!!

    Just keep on going…. head down, keep on pushing. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

    By the way – I’m sure you could use tomato paste instead of ketchup, but you’d probably want to add a little sugar to balance it. Not sure how much – you’d probably have to taste test.

  12. Like you, I try to stay on top of it all….but sometime we just have to let go, do what we can when we can…..and somehow it all manages to fall in place and get done. So (it must be about 20 years now) I stopped sweating the small stuff….and most, when you stop to really put everything in order, is small stuff. :-)

  13. I hear ya! I FINALLY got all of my stuff onto the calendar on my laptop and then my laptop was stolen from my car! So that, along with most of the photos of my my daughter’s first 4 months of life, are gone. I’m starting over on a new (to me!) laptop and forgetting things all over again!

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