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Troubles with time management

January 28th, 2011

I already find myself stressing about my work load, which is especially concerning since it is only the second week of the semester. I am sure I’m only one of many who have this same concern.

My class schedule is more difficult now, than it has been since I enrolled at JCU. I just can’t seem to find enough hours in the day. On the first day of classes I told myself that I was going to stay ahead of my work in all of my classes—now in week two I find myself struggling to finish all of my work on time.

Each time I finish Spanish homework I have enough time to take a deep breath, and then start the homework for my other Spanish class. The same routine applies to my English classes, along with the other courses in my schedule. In between classes and homework, my time is split between being as productive as possible in the newsroom, and supervising the Recreation Center.

I am the type of person that can’t admit I have too much on my plate. This may very well be a flaw in my personality, but I just feel like I’d be backing down from a challenge. I should probably get over that sometime soon. Until that day comes, I will just have to find a way to manage my time.

I’ve been reading, “Run Your Business So It Doesn’t Run You” by Linda Francis, and her tips for good time management have actually been helping me stay organized. I will touch on a few of her points so they can benefit anyone who fits in the same overwhelmed category as me.

One tip that Francis provides is to buy a weekly planner/date book and write down everything that needs to be done. In this book, separate the pieces of the to-do list into two categories: urgent and vital. This is important because, though many tasks may seem urgent, they do not exactly call for immediate action.

Another point Francis makes is to schedule priorities rather than prioritizing the bits and pieces of a schedule. I find this to be especially helpful because usually my to-do list consists of numbering the parts of my schedule in order of importance. After her advice, I have been scheduling my priorities to finish first, and finding time to get to the rest of my schedule seems to be starting to fall into place.

Francis emphasizes the significance of saying “no.” In this sense, say “no” to projects rather than to people. There is no way to do everything that everyone asks you to do. I have difficulty with this point because it is not easy for me to say no—though I’m working on not being such a pushover.

It is important to set goals, both long and short-term because when achieved it gives a feeling of success. This success leads to more motivation and the achievement of more goals. At least, this is what I have found since reading these tips.

Many factors can contribute to procrastination: fear, boredom, stress, etc. Francis advises that in order to beat procrastination, the source needs to be identified as soon as possible. This way, the problem can be fixed before it gets out of hand.

The last part of Francis’s work I want to touch on is more of an organizational activity. Keep track of your time in 10-15 minute increments for a few weeks in order to see how your time is actually spent. This can be beneficial because it shows what aspects of the schedule ought to be changed/improved. For the past two weeks, I have been keeping track of these increments of time before, after and in between my classes, and I’m realizing how I can use my time more wisely.

These are just a few ways to take a seemingly overwhelming schedule and make it more manageable. This is the second week of the semester,  and there are still 13 more to figure out how to work smarter.