Written by Amaka Okafor |
If you struggle with time management – or Netflix manages to lure you in for what you keep telling yourself is just another ‘twenty minutes’- these steps will help you beat the procrastination and show you how to use your day effectively
1. Wake Up Early and On Time
Challenge yourself and wake up early! I find that my days are most productive when I wake up before 8AM. For me, repetition and sticking to a routine really helps me feel as in control of the day as I can be. I tend to wake up, make myself some tea (whatever I have in the cupboard – usually green tea) and I either go for a walk or run (depends on how much energy I have), or I sit and focus on my breathing for 10 minutes (you could call it mediating), which makes me feel really at peace which is an ideal way to start your day! Whilst having a routine works for me, it does require a lot of discipline to stick to – so once you start, try your hardest to commit to it.
2. Keep a Bullet Journal!
After I have relaxed through mediating or going for a jog, I shower, and make myself breakfast. Whilst I am eating, I will usually have some music playing, depending on whether it’s a chill day I will listen to this playlist on Spotify “Chillhop Essentials Fall 2018″ or if I feel like disturbing the peace in my household, I’ll listen to a collection of songs by Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Frank Ocean, NoName and SZA.
Whilst I am eating breakfast, this is the perfect time to plan for my day. I use the bullet journaling system:
This system means that before I start my day; I am aware of the commitments I have to people during the day – whether that be social, academic or extracurricular related. This is effective because during the day I can fill in the tasks that I have completed and feel happy with myself as I can physically see that I have had a productive day. This leads onto another way of using your day effectively…
3. Give Yourself a To-Do List
It just reinforces this feeling of both accomplishment and feeling in control of your day as you know what you are meant to be doing and when; even if it is a small mundane task like “Send an email to my academic tutor to arrange a meeting”
4. Try to ‘Block’ All Your Responsibilities
For example, “a study block”, “extra-curricular” block, “health block” and “social block”. A study block is for work, extra-curricular is for any societies, health is for exercise – the gym, a run, swimming, cycling and social is for meeting with friends like watching a movie with pizza or going into town. Why organising your day in blocks is helpful is that you know where you are investing your time into and you can see how many hours you invest in each block
5. Make Use of the Applications
When I plan my day – I do not write in lectures or seminars, because I don’t find it necessary. Do yourself a favour and sync your timetable to your Calendar app. Also, make full use of your University app – gives you information like free space, free library rooms, your email, and FXU events.
6. Give Yourself Time to Rest
When the day is busy, you forget to give yourself time to rest. I know many of my friends have said things like “Oh, I just forgot to eat today”, and this is a bad thing. Alongside your busy schedule, you should always make sure you’re taking care of yourself – drinking the right amount and eating the right foods. It is important that you work smart not hard, do not burn yourself out, that helps nobody!
7. Keep a Track of Your Working Day
Use a Pomodoro tracker – you could buy a watch. You work for 25 minutes, and this work block in known as a “Pomodoro”, after you have worked for 25 minutes, you give yourself a short five-minute break. This works as a 25-minute focus period and a 5-minute break.
The purpose of this tracker is that it means you are holding yourself accountable to how much time you are actually spending effectively working. Sometimes it’s really easy to trick yourself into thinking you’re working because you have your laptop open in a library, but be honest with yourself, if you’ve been there longer than 2 hours and you’ve got through two episodes of Peep Show and three Youtube videos – you were not working (trust me, I’ve been there).
8. Have a Yearly Goals Page
If you have a page where you have jotted down what you wish to achieve in a year, it is good to always refer back to that page, so you stay motivated daily to achieve what you set out to do. For example, if your goal of the year is to write for The Guardian, small tasks will help you get there, for instance writing for your University paper.
However, I would like to reiterate that it is so important to be kind to yourself – some days you may not have the energy or the motivation to do anything, and on those days, please give yourself the opportunity to rest – you come first, time is a social construct.
I feel like a quote is an apt way to close this:
“Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined, Be hopeful. Be empowered.” – Michelle Obama