Time-management Tips: Make Each Day a Productive Day
As a grad student juggling work, school, family, administrative processes, sports, while still managing to get sufficient hours of sleep and eat adequately, managing your time effectively can have profound positive effects on your studies as well as your general sense of well-being.
Here are four time-management tips that will help you to make each day a productive one.
1. Set objectives
- Ask yourself why you need a better time management, that is, what are the goals you would like to achieve? Write down those goals
- Be honest about how you use your time: how do you spend most of your time and is it worth it? This assessment will allow you to create an accurate picture of what you can truly get done in a day.
- Learn to know yourself - determine when you are generally most productive or alert: you will tackle your most difficult tasks then.
2. Set priorities
- Prioritize to reach your goals - Managing your time effectively requires a distinction between what is important and what is urgent. Experts agree that the most important tasks usually aren’t the most urgent tasks. However, we tend to let the urgent tasks dominate our lives. Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, states that when we focus on our highest priorities, we work on achieving our goals.
- Organize and manage your tasks according to their priorities. You can use different tools and techniques to help you.
3. Schedule, schedule…and repeat
- Whether you use an app or prefer the old-fashioned paper version, find a planner that will work well for you.
- Spend time planning and organizing. Make a daily schedule, keep a monthly calendar, establish priorities for the semester and reassess these priorities from time to time.
- Break it down and be specific when you plan your study schedule. Instead of saying you’re going to work after dinner, say you’re going to finish your Econ reading and start your Physics problem set. If you get assigned loads of reading for each class, try to schedule to do a little it each day
- If you go out of your schedule, it is fine.
- When people are busy, sleep, eating healthy meals and exercising are often activities that get cut. Yet maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle gives you the energy you need to get things done and helps keep your immune system strong. It also improves focus so that you can work more effectively.
- Be sure to consider your well-being as a priority: plan sufficient time to sleep, eat, exercise, relax or do nothing. To do so, you need these strategies to complete your self care toolkit.
- Ask for help and use the available ressources that exists to help you, including those of the library. Many GradProSkills workshops can help you manage your time by learning how to plan your thesis submission, take better notes and develop effective reading strategies.