Do you procrastinate a lot? Do you find yourself justifying this by telling others "I work well under pressure?" Do you feel stressed out when tasks pile up on you and you wonder "why did I leave this until the last minute?" If so, you can manage your time better by creating a table to help you visualize where your time goes. You can choose to create your schedule in Microsoft Word, Excel, or even graph paper if you prefer. So if you'd like to learn better time management skills just follow these steps.
Create 7 columns for each day of the week and an eighth column on the left for times. Block them out in half hours, or other increments if you prefer. Enter them into your schedule in starting at midnight and go until 11:59 each night. Then enter time into your schedule for sleep. Color code this blue.
Your first priority is something that you know you can't move. For student this would be your classes. For full time employees, this would be your shifts. Color code these yellow.
For example, if you are a full time student, this would be your job. Other weekly commitments would go here also, such as if you work full time but you're taking a course, or if you do volunteer work. Basically, these commitments are ones that you need to do at specified times, but you schedule them around your first priority. Color code these orange.
Look at your schedule with fresh eyes. How much time do you have left over at this point? Add up the hours. And then start adding in "flexible" activities. These include eating, studying, exercising, and housework. These things take time, but they could be moved if need be. No one cares what day and time you vacuum, just so long as it gets done at some point! These are the activities that people tend to feel they'll "get around to," and end up procrastinating. Put them down on paper in a time slot that works for you and make a commitment to get them done at the time you plan for!
If you don't give yourself any leeway, you'll just end up procrastinating like you used to. Everyone needs down time every day, so plan for it. Give yourself permission to have it, and you'll be more likely to feel ready to focus on working when it comes time for those "flexible" activities like studying and housework. Good luck!
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