As a recent college grad, you probably think you’ve got time management all figured out. You might have even used a few basic techniques to help you get through your last round of finals before heading out into the “real” world.
There is, of course, more to time management than simply creating a studying schedule. When you get out of school, time management becomes a means for making the most out of every minute that you have. There is more to it than simply increasing your productivity (though that’s obviously a good goal). Time management is as much about the quality of the work you get done each day as it is about the quantity.
Jake Wand, an entrepreneur with his fingers in many profitable pies, once tweeted “one of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it.” The heart of this sentiment is time management (aka the procrastination killer).
Here are a few things that you need to master if you, like Jake, want to effectively manage your time outside of an academic environment.
1. What’s Your Starting Point?
Among other things, Entrepreneur.com recommends clocking your regular day every day for a week. Write down what you do, when, for how long, who else is involved, any interruptions that occur, etc. Then, at the end of the week you can see where your time is already going and figure out where the most adjustments need to be made.
2. The ABC & Pareto Analysis Combo
Experts at US News advocate the categorization method. Look at each of the things you want to accomplish and categorize them into one of three categories:
A. Urgent and Incredibly Important
B. Important but not really urgent
C. Neither urgent nor important
From here, look at the things in column A. The best way to increase your productivity, manage your time and improve your mental health is to tackle the things in column A that take up the least amount of time first. This way you get a feeling of accomplishment that you can use to tackle the larger and lengthier tasks before moving on to column B where the process repeats itself.
3. The Drucker System
In an article for Time magazine, time management consultants found that the techniques endorsed by Peter Drucker forty years ago are still incredibly relevant today. Drucker advocated that people carve out large swaths of uninterrupted time for themselves and that they only respond to phone calls (or emails today) in short bursts a couple of times each day. This minimizes interruptions and allows people to concentrate on bigger projects as well as shorter ones. The trick is to stick to this and not let anybody talk you into making an interruption exception just for them.
4. Julie Morgenstern
Best selling time management expert Julie Morgenstern wrote a blog post in January that talked about the importance of a good night’s sleep. She wasn’t just talking about quantity of sleep but of the quality of sleep. Getting a good and solid night’s rest each night is incredibly important when it comes to your daily performance. Failing to get good sleep can leave you sluggish, listless, and distracted and can really get in the way of you accomplishing your goals. Make sure you set up a regular sleeping and waking schedule and stick to it!
Start improving your time management with these tips. If these don’t work for you, that’s okay. Time management is as unique to a person as their corneas are. You’ll figure out what works best for you. The trick is to keep trying until you hit that sweet spot!
About the Author: Amanda Green is an online writer who normally writes on the topics of finance, business, education, and technology. Although those are her preferred topics of writing you can sometimes find Amanda writing on pet blogs and health sites! Amanda’s goal is to someday write for a worldwide publication and provide content to the masses.