Time is not within our control. But we can decide how we use it; that means setting goals and prioritizing our time. Effective goal-setting is the driving force for success. You want to use your time effectively to achieve your goals; whatever those goals are.
Always keep your goals in mind as you move from one step to the next. That means being aware of what the end goal is.
The main reason people struggle is that they start too late or they try to do too many things at one time. For example, study for a test while also writing an essay. Prioritizing and goal setting should not be about getting more work done. It should be about avoiding/eliminating the tasks you should not be worried about.
Work smarter not harder.
Be aware of what kind of learner you are. We all have our own ways we like to work. That means becoming aware of the when and what’s; the time of day you are most motivated or the things that motivate you.
It’s important that you have a good understanding of these things. The higher your awareness of these things the more ability you will have to take advice, tailor it to fit your learning style and motivate yourself to get things done!
gETTING TO WORK
There will always be many things competing for our attention. Friends, family, work, etc. This can make it difficult to focus on the task at hand. You won’t realize the importance of focus it until you struggle with it.
Many people believe that the most efficient way to get things done is to multi-task. What they don’t realize is that multi-tasking will cause issues. You can only do one thing effectively in any given moment. Single tasking is what you want to learn to do; identify the most important task and block everything else out, when you finish that task you move onto the next important task. When planning your next steps you need to consider these factors: parents, friends, employers (shifts) and teachers (deadlines).
Be aware of all of these moving parts prior to beginning and throughout your task until you are done. Not doing this will cause delays, missed deadlines, increase stress and less productivity. A well thought out plan does not take a lot of time. The bonus is it will save you a lot of time. It is all about making good decisions.
When making decisions you want to ask yourself these things:
What do you want to accomplish?
What do you need to get things accomplished?
Am I being honest with myself when prioritizing? (needs versus wants)
The decisions you make can affect more than just you. The truth is your decisions do affect others.
not getting school work completed on time (teachers)
not getting chores done around the house (family)
calling into work (employer & co-workers)
You want to be an effective decision maker. It will help you in every aspect of your life. Not making good or effective decisions can have negative impacts. So be aware of how you make decisions and their potential consequences.
Improvements will be noticeable by being prepared beforehand. Ask yourself:
How much time do I have to commit to the task?
What resources do I have available? (materials, people)
How am I physically/emotionally, mentally feeling? (am I in the right head space)
Be honest when answering those questions. It will help in becoming more organized. There are many tools that can be used to stay organized. Whether you use a planner, your phone or a computer it’s important that you find what works for you.
Part of being organized is planning and prioritizing. Breaking things down to the smallest and most appropriate steps is important.
Knowing what you are doing day to day and having something to refer to will help you stay on track and manage your time effectively.
Strong communication skills allow you to gain supportive relationships that will be vital in you reaching your goals. Knowledge is powerful. The more others know about you, what you need and what your plans are will give the opportunity to support you if things become challenging.
Thinking will bring you clarity, help you communicate your needs/wants and ultimately save you time. Of equal importance is learning to say no.
We all have our own priorities and things we want to accomplish but, there will always be people that will want to unload some of their work onto you. The intention isn’t to be mean; they are probably struggling to manage their time too. You need to keep focused on accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself. Questioning and challenging are also essential skills. Ask yourself these questions when you are trying to gain clarity and knowing exactly what is expected of you.
When are they deadlines? (rough copies etc.)
How much is required to achieve a certain grade?
What are my options for delivery of a presentation etc?
Be proactive by answering these questions and talking to the people that may be impacted prior to any deadlines to eliminate potential problems.
Know that there may be times where you may need to ask for help or even sacrifice some of your social time in order to achieve your set deadlines and goals. You may even need to renegotiate responsibilities in the short terms. Examples: chores, switching or giving a work shift away, group assignments/changing roles within the group, etc.
Know your limitations and live within them. People can be more understanding than you give them credit for – if you are honest and they know the whole story.
Expect things to go wrong and accept that you won’t have any control over it. Ask yourself; what is it that I need in these moments? If you are unable to answer this question, stop what you are doing and start identifying what coping strategies you can use effectively. Then practice using them!
Your thinking and mindset play a big role in your successes. Knowing how to cope helps you bounce back with minimal loss of time.
Be patient with yourself. This is hard work! Patience is a skill that needs to be practiced. Having the patience to work through a process from beginning to end can be challenging. This is especially true when you have multiple deadlines. Trust the process.
We all know what pressure is. What we don’t understand is how it is a good thing. It motivates and keeps you alert. The concern comes when we move from pressure to stress because we aren’t coping well. When highly stressed you can start to notice struggles physically, emotionally and even experience some level of mental distress. The longer you wait to deal with the stress the harder it is to keep yourself on track.
Time management and stress management are connected. They can allow you to understand and prevent problems before they occur. Proactive stress management is key to your success. But remember, sometimes, no matter how much you plan and prepare, things just don’t go according to plan. This may result in you becoming angry at yourself or others, questioning if all the hard work was worth it, lose trust and so on. Forgive yourself.
Forgiveness is a skill. It doesn’t just happen on its own. Forgiveness happens when you decide to be kind to yourself and others. You are going to make mistakes. You will make a plan and it will not work. You will fail at some point and that is okay and expected. Finding a way to forgive is to your benefit. It allows you to work through, let go and move on from the given situation.
You will get let down, choose to forgive. When you make a mistake choose to solve the problem. You will feel better about yourself, gain relationships and reduce the amount of wasted time.