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How to Improve Time Management Skills

January 15th, 2011

time-management-clock.jpgDo you ever have days where you wonder what you did with your time? Maybe you had something you planned to do and the next thing you know you’ve watched four hours of television and now it’s time to finish your homework, which is due tomorrow. That thing you planned to do will have to wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and after school you need to catch up on homework you weren’t able to finish, plus the new assignments. We’ve all been there. The following tips will help you work on your time management skills and hopefully reduce stress. And better yet, these are skills that will last a lifetime.

1. Record how you spend your time

The only real way to know how you spend your time is to make an accurate record of it all. For one week record what you do each hour. Some chunks of time will be easy to fill, like school and soccer practice. It’s the rest of the time that will be interesting. Don’t be embarrassed if you see that you spent two hours on Thursday evening chatting to your friend online or three hours on Sunday watching Seinfeld reruns on different channels. It happens to the best of us. Record everything honestly and you’ll be surprised at how much time could really be put to better use.

2. “Need to do” tasks

Now that you’ve got one week of your life on paper, run through and highlight all of the activities that needed to be done. These are things like school, homework, practices, clubs etc. Think about things you may be currently neglecting that you’ve pushed to the side. These things might include going to the gym or some other form of exercise (health is important, it should always remain in the “need to” category). Now you have a new list of things that will later be put into your schedule.

3. “Want to do” tasks

Take a look back at your weekly record and make a list of the things (if any) you continue to want to do, in lesser amounts of course. There is no reason to cut out watching TV altogether. Instead, make a list of the shows that are “can’t miss” for you. Now think about the things that you always say you want to do and add them to the list. Maybe you’re an artist and never seem to draw or paint anymore. Maybe you’ve had a story idea running around your brain and haven’t sat down to write it. If you have something (or numerous things) you want to do, add them all to the list. Don’t worry about it seeming like too much; you don’t have to do them all this year.

4. Create a new schedule

Each day will be slightly different, so create a schedule for each day. Fill in the “need to” activities first thing. Now you’ll be able to more clearly see what kind of free time you have. If you want to watch shows you cannot miss as they air, fill those in. If you can tape some of them to be watched on a weekend or during another free period of time, that would be good also. Sometimes working your schedule around TV can be annoying. Next choose the activities you want to tackle immediately and fill them in. You might be the kind of person who wants to do something different each day. Or maybe you want to finish one project before taking on something else. Go with whatever works best for you. There is no right or wrong. Don’t forget to give yourself down time as well. Time to just sit and relax (not lounging in front of the TV). Maybe you relax by taking a warm bath, reading a good book or sitting in the backyard listening to the birds. Also don’t forget to schedule in meals and time with friends and family.

Once you realize how much there is to do, it might seem overwhelming and easier to ignore it all, but that’s where a schedule comes in handy. If you accomplish even one or two more things than you were before, it’s a big step forward. A schedule will also help you to keep from falling behind when it comes to school. If you find that the hour by hour schedule doesn’t work for you, try creating a to-do list! Different things work for different people. Don’t be afraid to try a bunch of ideas to find what works for you.


This article on time management skills was supplied by April Aragam from Constant Content.


One Response to “How to Improve Time Management Skills”

  1. comment number 1 by: Majlinda Priku

    We all have the same amount of time available to us (24 hours a day), is what we do with it that makes the difference in how effective we are.

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