How often do you find that you’ve run out of time? For some people, it feels as if there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Below is a short quiz, courtesy of Mind Tools, the purpose of which is to identify aspects of time management you need help with. You will be able to find additional and related posts on the Student Wellness Blog that will help you with learning to manage your time more efficiently and effectively.
- For each statement note which response best describes you and write down the point value (e.g. Q.1 – Rarely = 2 pts; Q.2 – Very Often = 5 pts).
- Be sure to answer the questions as you actually are, and not how you hope or wish to be.
- When you are done, total up your points to get your final score.
15 – 30 Ouch! The good news is that you’ve got a great opportunity to improve your time management and long term success. However, to realize this you are going to need to work on your time management skills.
31 – 45 You’re good at some things, but there is room for improvement. Identify where your time management skills are falling short and with some changes you will most likely find that your life will become less rushed and stressful.
46 – 75 You know how to manage your time efficiently. You may have some areas you’d like to tweak but overall you’re doing well.
As you went through and answered the questions you may have picked up on areas where your time management is lacking. Below is a summary of the main time management areas explored by the quiz, and a guide to what posts you need to keep a look out for to help you improve on them.
Goal Setting (Questions 6 & 10)
One way of managing your time effectively is by setting goals. When you know where you are going, you can then plan for what exactly needs to be done, and in what order. Without proper goal setting, you may waste time on a muddle of conflicting priorities.
People tend to avoid goal setting because it takes time and effort. What they fail to see is that a little time and effort now, saves a lot of time, effort and frustration in the long run.
Visit the Goal Setting posts that are already available on the blog – there you will find tips on how to set goals and avoid common pitfalls.
Prioritisation (Questions 1, 4, 8, 13, 14 & 15)
Prioritising what needs to be done is a vital part of good time management. Without it, you may work really hard but not actually achieve the results you were hoping for because you were working on tasks that were strategically unimportant.
Most people make use of a “to-do list” system of some sort. The main error with these lists is that they are just a collection of things that need to be done, in no particular order. To work efficiently you need to identify and work on the most important, highest value tasks first. By doing this you won’t get caught out trying to get a critical task done as the deadline approaches.
Visit the Time Management posts already available on the blog for tips on how to create effective, time managing “to-do lists”.
Managing Distractions & Interruptions (Questions 5, 9, 11 & 12)
Having a plan and knowing how to prioritise it is one thing. The next step is knowing what to do to minimize interruptions and distractions when you are working on implementing your plan and getting tasks done. Although interruptions and distractions are a natural part of life, there are things you can do to minimize their time-robbing effects, something as simple as closing your door when you are working, or switching off your cell phone.
Procrastination (Question 2)
“I’ll do it later” has led to the downfall of many a student. After too many “laters” the work piles up and any task seems insurmountable. The first step to beating procrastination, is recognising that you are a procrastinator. Next you need to figure out why – Are you afraid of failing? Are you not understanding the work? Are you focusing on less important, low value tasks because they are easy and give you a false sense of achievement?
Once you know why you procrastinate you can start planning ways of breaking the habit. Reward yourself for getting the task done, and remind yourself regularly of the consequences of not doing the boring, high value tasks.
Scheduling (Questions 3 & 7)
Much of time management boils down to scheduling your time effectively. When you know what your goals are and you’ve prioritised them, the next step is to create a schedule that keeps you on track, and protects your from unnecessary stress.
This means understanding the factors that affect the time you have available to you. You not only need to schedule priority tasks, you also need to leave room for interruptions, and build in contingency time for unexpected events that would otherwise wreak havoc on your schedule. By creating a realistic schedule that reflects your priorities and supports your goals, you are gaining control over your time, as well as keeping a healthy work-life balance.
To learn more about how to schedule in “safety margins” and make the most of the time available to you, visit the Time Management posts already available on the blog.
How Good is Your Time Management? (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_88.htm. [Accessed on: 13 February 2017].