"Midsems are here, and I need time management help!!"
Dear Time Conscious,
The first piece of advice is to realise that you are the only one in control of how you spend your time. Are you time poor because you tend to get distracted whilst trying to multitask? Or are you a compulsive people-pleaser and who likes to say ‘yes’ to everybody in your life?
First let’s break time management down into four actionable categories we can work on:
Power of Planning in Productivity
Priorities over Procrastination
Practice makes Perfect
People-Pleaser to Purposeful Me
A key hack to maximise productivity is to plan out your day. Planning in advance saves you from accidentally ‘double booking’ yourself and needing to cancel on someone. It also gives you the foresight of knowing which weeks of the term are hectic so you can study for assessments in advance, allowing you to avoid that last minute cramming session the night before. A plan doesn’t need to be so specific that if you don’t follow it to a tee your day is ruined, it just allows you to stay on top of study, work and other commitments. This way you are less likely to miss deadlines and can instead feel a greater sense of balance in the different areas of your life.
Best online or app planners/calendars:
ZenDay : features a 3D slider interface and syncs all your calenders in the one app (available via a paid plug in).
iCal: default calender app where you can colour code events by category, inbuilt into the IOS for Apple users.
Planner Pro: versatile app that allows you to add unlimited notes as well as plan ahead for long and short term using the day,week,month and task view for a holistic time management strategy.
A physical paper planner: an oldie,but goodie, writing out your plans allows you to gain greater clarity and forces you to think things out more than typing. Available at gift shops or online platform such as eBay or Amazon. Feel free to be creative and decorate with scrapbooking and craft materials.
Go to a quiet place where you can honestly ask yourself what you value in life. What is it that you aspire to achieve in 6 months, 1 year and in 5 years time? How do you wish to be remembered? Would your 30 year old self be proud of the current you?
Write down what areas of your life you want to prioritise: health & wellness, career, finances, relationships, spirituality, physical & mental health. On a scale from 1-10, grade where you think you are at in each of these places in your life. Remember to be honest as this is for your eyes only! Under each area, write 3 actionables that you can implement into your daily routine. Review your goals and objectively ask yourself if you are making the progress you originally set out to make.
Procrastination is definitely a time thief, and leaves us feeling like we are no longer in control of the hours we have each day. The best solution to conquer procrastination is to eliminate the source of distraction.
Some practical and implementable tips include:
Install time controls on your favourite apps which temporarily disable access whilst you study.
Store your phone in an area that is out of sight from where you usually study. This means you will be less likely to physically get up to locate your phone since its out of arm's reach.
Create a sustainable reward system based on deposits and withdrawals.Keep a written tally of each time you tick something off your to do list count (‘deposit’) and conversely each time you let temptation get the better of you (‘withdrawal’). At the conclusion of the day if you have a positive balance treat yourself to 20 minutes on social media, a block of your favourite sweet or a conscious purchase!
There is certainly much truth in Tyron Edwards quote:
“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.”
Good habits set up the foundation to success. It is the everyday practices that we adopt which turn into habits and eventually determines the mindset that becomes programmed into our subconscious minds. Instead of beginning your day by scrolling through your social media feed, start the day with a positive tone by setting out your daily intention, writing out your to do list, or watching an inspirational video on YouTube.
Instead of focusing on the minutiae of what you want to achieve, implement a system or a routine you can fall back on when life becomes too overwhelming. This can mean the world of difference. you feel a sense of control over your life instead of feeling like your life is controlling you. Here is an example of how your day can look:
Wake up consistently at the same time everyday.
Organise what you are going to wear the night before, and pack your uni bag.
Begin the day by writing down three things you are grateful for.
Eat a wholesome breakfast, if you’re short on time try soaking some oats in your favourite plant-based milk, then add frozen berries and a sprinkling of seeds, or meal prepping a few toasties that you can heat up at uni.
Write down your to do list.
Take time out to reflect and pause from study. Schedule breaks.
End the day with some ‘me’ time doing your favourite activity. This means no digital devices.
Don’t feel pressure to constantly be the ‘yes’ person and overcommit to things that you do not feel are serving you or allowing you to be the best version of yourself.Only commit to saying yes to favours if you feel they align with your values and it feels instinctively like the right thing to do. This will save you from feeling drained, burnt out and in turn regretting that you didn’t invest the time to do something for yourself.
For every favour you turn down, do something that puts you one step further ahead of achieving your goal from your actionables list. This will have a positive effect in reinforcing that you don’t need to derive your sense of fulfilment by doing something that you think will please someone else. Trust me, in a year's time you will feel a deeper sense of fulfilment and spend less time worrying about trivial matters!
Hope you feel inspired,
Sugar, Spice and Blitz advice.
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