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Family Files

Manage time instead of time managing you

If you were to follow yourself for a day, would you be bone-tired by the end of the day or still have the energy to do a few more tasks? Did you have an overall productive day, or do you still have the feeling that you need to get things done? Now, follow yourself around for a week and consider the same questions. Did you just step off a rollercoaster or floated peacefully into the weekend?

Effective time management skills are valuable to everyone in their daily lives. Jobs value an employee who demonstrates a strong work ethic and who is reliable. When scheduling an appointment, there is usually a warning of the consequence for arriving late. Time management surrounds us in our professional and personal lives.

Those who able to better manage their time and daily events find themselves feeling more productive, have more energy, feeling better about themselves, and other personal benefits, according to the University of Georgia Extension. But there are only 24 hours in a day, 6-7 of which are recommended for sleeping. So, what are some things we can do to make the most of our day?

  • Reflect on your day/week. The University of Georgia Extension suggests keeping a log of your time throughout the day for about a week or so. This visual aid keeps track of your time and allows you to look back on what may be taking most of your attention. From here, you can revise and plan your day accordingly.
  • Learn your learning style. There are three ways we learn—listening, writing, and seeing. Knowing what learning style best fits can help in time management. If you are a listener, record reminders for yourself throughout the day and replay them later. A writer can benefit from a dedicated planner or calendar app to jot things down as they are scheduled. Likewise, a seer can use a constant reminder on their phone’s home screen to see their day’s events. You may prefer one learning style or use all three for a productive day. Use whatever works for you!
  • Set daily/weekly/monthly goals. Setting goals for the day/week/month can aid in feeling accomplished. Start small with the daily goals to learn how you reach them the best. Setting small goals means you are earning achievements along the way, keeping you encouraged to be productive.
  • Set alarms for time-sensitive events. Do you have a meeting you cannot miss? Set the alarm 15 to 20 minutes before the actual time of the event. This helps you arrive on time and early to prepare yourself for the task at hand.
  • Focus on one project at a time. Avoid multitasking, especially on important tasks that require your attention. University of Georgia Extension comments multitasking can lead to a loss of time and lowering productivity. Therefore, setting time for one project, taking a break, and beginning the next allows you to regroup between projects and set time for each task without feeling as though both need your attention at the same time.

Remember to take the time to find what works for you. You are not limited to the typical calendars and paper and pen reminders. There are many apps devoted to productivity available. Experiment with different techniques, and find what helps you be the most productive. Keep in mind that what works for someone else may not work for you. You may find traditional sticky notes are the best resource while others prefer an alarm to mark the beginning of the next task. Regardless, find what works for you and revise your plan if needed.

Source: University of Georgia Extension
Written By: Jordyn Hayes, Family Life Intern, Human Services Program Administration, Eastern Illinois University