Time management is supposed to be one of those magical skills that you are expected to pick up at some point in college. One the of things that they say all employers look for. But what are you supposed to do about it? Hope it hits you the morning of your very first year of college? (Spoiler: it won’t)
But how are you supposed to learn time management when it seems like there is literally NO time left at the end of the day? Where on earth did all the time go and how can you make sure it doesn’t disappear on you anymore? Those are the things we are going to answer today!
The first key in learning to manage your time is finding that time when there seems to be none left.
Everyone has this type of day: you wake up, get ready, maybe grab a granola bar and it’s off to your first responsibility. Class, work or a combination of the 2 last until about lunch, and it’s off to your next responsibility. That lasts until dinner time, then you grab some food and head to a meeting in one of the 10 organizations you signed up for.
When you finally get back to your dorm or apartment you are so wiped out that you don’t move for another 3 hours. Then you realize that it is late, so you do an hour of homework, shower and go to bed. This kind of schedule sound familiar?
You feel like you wake up so that you can run in circles all day until you are back where you started. However there is time to be found in this type of schedule. You will probably think I am going to say it’s in the 3 hours you did nothing in the evening. Actually, no. The best way to squeeze effective time out of this schedule is to simply wake up a little bit earlier.
What??? How can I when I’m SOOO tired from getting things done the night before?? My general rule of thumb is to go to bed the same amount of time earlier that you are trying to get up. In other words, if you want to wake up 30 minutes earlier, force yourself to go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you usually do.
I promise, your body will naturally adjust its sleep schedule in about a week or two. To help with this, wake up at roughly the same time on the weekends too. This will also help Monday morning to not be such a struggle!
I mentioned earlier that this was the most effective time in the day. Sleep helps to reset the brain, so when you wake up, even though you are groggy for the first few minutes, you will be able to think more clearly, as opposed to those 3 hours in the evening when you are wiped out from all the taxing things you had to do that day.
And in turn, you will be more productive. Assignments that may take you 2 hours to do in the evening, may take 20 minutes in the morning. That is a lot of time saved!
Also be wary of spending your few precious morning hours on your phone scrolling through social media. I am guilty of this too, but it takes up way more time than you realize. Plus that defeats the purpose of using that time to get things done.
So instead, hop out of bed and do whatever it is that will help wake you up the quickest, a few stretches, a quick jog, for me it is a cup of coffee and my devotional.
Even if you only have enough time for this, you will feel more confident to take on the day because you didn’t wake up stressing about not having enough time to get ready.
If you wake up earlier and have time for extra tasks, start with the ones that will require the most brain power, you will find that you will be more effective in getting these done, which means more time for you later! Yay!
However, remember those 3 hours you spent chilling because you were too tired to do anything? Believe me I’ve been there! The best fix I have found to that afternoon slump is taking a 26 minute nap. (26 minutes exactly!)
A study done by NASA revealed that a 26 minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 54 %. Read more about the 26 minute nap here.
And it really does work to give you an energy boost that will help keep you going on with your day! These power naps do wonders when you’ve had a long day, but you still have more you need to be able to focus on.
So whether you find you are losing time in the morning, afternoon, or both, try applying these tips to your life, and see if you can squeeze out a bit more time from your busy schedule.
Part 2 of this series will be coming to you soon! So stay on the look out for tips on managing time now that you’ve found some!