2014 Resolution: Time Management

There are two nine-week periods left in this school year, and now is the time to bring back some good ol’ time management tips.

Remember your agenda? It’s true, by this time of year most of the pristine agendas from the beginning of the year are ripped, lost, or purposefully neglected. The fact remains, however, that keeping an agenda is the best way to organize and keep track of the assignments you need to complete. What that doesn’t mean is passively lamenting the loss of your DASH edition. Instead, use whatever works for you. Many students find reminder applications on their phones helpful, or even just the notepad feature. That way, you’ll always have your list handy.

Prioritize! By this time of year, you already know what classes give you the most struggle, and which come naturally. Make a note of that when deciding what to do first, and get the hardest projects out of the way so that the work you enjoy more comes as a reward after the tough stuff is over.

Don’t know it ’till you try it. Ten math problems? Looks like a walk in the park until you figure out that each problem requires three steps and a graph to go with it. The lesson here is that you should always start assignments as soon as you get them. Sure, time and priorities might lead you to finish them later, but you won’t know how long an assignment is really going to take you until you go through the actual motions of completing it. Better to find out you’ll need an hour the night before than realizing it’s too late the reading period on the morning it’s due.

Block your procrastination agents. You meant to do the homework twenty minutes ago, but you got caught on a Facebook feed that led to Instagram that led to…. If your favorite sites are getting the best of you, try finding a site blocker for your browser to keep you from accessing them for a couple of hours. Firefox has LeechBlock, and Chrome has StayFocused, two add-ons that will temporarily or permanently block websites to keep you on track. And while you’re at it, make sure to turn off your tv and phone when you need to concentrate. Any distraction is a reason to push work aside.

Go public for helpful accountability. By now you’ve probably recognized a few bad habits and some useful ideas to conquer obstacles for being more productive. The thing is, you’re way more likely to stick to goals and resolutions when other people around you know about them. Speak up and others will too. When people in your life are watching to see whether you stuck to your goal – there’s more incentive to keep it up. Being the only person holding yourself accountable makes it easier to slip up. So when the work is done and you’re back on your feed reading status updates – consider posting your own personal pat on the back: “Waited till finishing my project to catch up with FB. Feels great to get work done on time.”