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Time Management (1 of 5)

April 15, 2010

Time Management – 5 part course!

Time is a very interesting thing. We never seem to have enough, yet we (including myself)  spend our time on many unimportant tasks and then complain we did not have enough time to do whatever it is we actually wanted to do.

So it makes sense to me to look at time once again in the attempt to get it under better control.

  1. Part 1 – Time is On Your Side.
  2. Part 2 – Your Planner is Your Friend.
  3. Part 3 – Time Management 101.
  4. Part 4 – I’ll Stop Procrastinating Tomorrow.
  5. Part 5 – Stop The Cramming!

Let’s go ahead & get started today with “Part 1 – Time is On Your Side”.

Part 1 – Time is On Your Side

It will help you manage your time well if you know where your time actually gets spent. One very helpful way of determining your actual usage of time is to track your time. The process here is like making a schedule, but it works in reverse. Instead of writing things in that you are planning to do, time logging is a process of writing down the things that you have already done. Doing this is sort of a get-to-know-yourself exercise because this procedure will highlight many of your habits that you might selectively ignore currently.

For instance, some people find that every time they plan to do math homework they end up watching television.   Instead of studying for that Psych test, they play Internet poker.  Other people just can’t seem to follow their schedule until the week before finals.

Whatever your time habits, time tracking will help you adjust and fine-tune your time management practices. Having accurate information about your time usage patterns can serve as another important point of reference for self-monitoring. Following are a few ways to track your time.  Take a moment to do this – it will truly help you open your eyes and take control of your time.

Time tracking is fairly straightforward. At the end of every hour jot yourself a quick note about how you actually spent your time for that hour. The note needn’t be long – one sentence or less should suffice. If how you spent your time doesn’t match an already planned activity, simply enter a comment as to what you really did during that time. This way you will be able to review patterns that emerge in your use of time and make adjustments to improve your productivity.

Some people find it helpful to modify the planning page to facilitate tracking time. The modifications are easy enough: make two columns on your paper for each day of the week. In one column, write down the plan you are trying to follow; in the second column, make notes on what you actually did with your time. The side-by-side comparison is very telling and an excellent way to figure our where you’re not using time in the way you intend.

Another effective way to make changes and get results from your time management strategies is to summarize your time use by time category such as: sleep, study, work, travel and so on.

Next time we’ll be discussing a little about “Your Planner is Your Friend”.  Stay tuned!

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