The day a big project or essay is due in class, my classmates always compare to see who got the least amount of sleep. This isn’t only true in schools because college students take these bad time management skills into their work life. I’ve decided to write an article that shows some techniques that I use in order to make sure I get everything done and have more time to do what I love.
Keep a calendar
Schedule all of your work, school and any other time blocks where you absolutely have to be somewhere onto a calendar that you keep with you all of the time. I use my cell phone, and many smart phones are even better at this type of management. Then if someone wants to schedule a date with you, you’ll know when you’re available.
Planning/Goal setting Day
Have one day a week where you schedule the week ahead of you. I put an inspirational quote or something that will keep me focused on achieving my goals at the top. Then I write down the habits I would like to form, and a to-do list for the week. You should start every day by looking at your weekly goal list, and create a to-do list of what you want to accomplish on that day. I’ll also create of vision of how I would like to see my day going. I’ll write everything in the present moment, and describe how I feel experiencing my day.
For things like writing an essay, studying or paying bills, you should commit yourself to doing only that task for an alloted amount of time. No texting, cellphone, Facebook, or internet. Just focus on the task that you are doing. This doesn’t mean you should spend 3 hours straight studying, but it means you should commit yourself to doing 40 minutes of studying, and then taking a 20 minute break. You should keep repeating that cycle until you finish the goal you set to accomplish for that study session.
It takes discipline to follow through on your schedule and to accomplish goals. You need to slowly train yourself up from where you are now. I read a great article from Steve Pavlina that describes the 5 pillars of Discipline.
Acceptance — How strong is your discpline at this moment? which challenges are easy for you, which are virtually impossible? From here you will know what kind of results you can expect, and how hard to start training your discipline.
Willpower — Provides an intensely powerful, yet temporary boost. Use willpower to reduce the ongoing need for such a high level of sustained force. Alter the territory and replace distractions.
Hard Work — That which challenges you. Strong challenge is connected with strong results. The willingness to do what is difficult is like having a key to a private treasure room.
Industry — Tasks that aren’t necessarily difficult, but they collectively require a significant time investment. Things like cleaning, exercise, and organization.
Persistence — Ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. Persistence of action = persistence of vision. Consistent clarity about what you want.
If you continue to train your discipline and take small steps you will find that you become more and more productive, and will have more time to spend doing what you love.