Time Management Tips
By: Chau Tang
Have you ever felt there’s not enough time in the day? You’re at work until nighttime and you have all of these chores you need to do but you’d like to fit in your hobbies and you have other plans. Or, if you’re a student, it seems like homework and study guides are piling up and it’s hard to keep track of it all. It doesn’t seem possible to do most of the things you’ve been meaning to do. I have a part-time job, looking for a full-time job but I work from 9:30-8:30. I keep telling myself, I’ll exercise or read when I get home. Then I’m mentally and physically tired so I eat dinner while watching an episode of Friends. It’s tough trying to manage time but I’m glad there are Youtubers such as Lavendaire and Kristina Choi to give us tips on time management.
Manage Your Attention
We are all procrastinating and we are experts at it. We let other objects such as our phone, pets, and outside distractions, distract us from what we really need to focus on. You need to be aware of what you’re putting your attention on when you’re procrastinating.
If you’re on your phone, turn the phone completely off or put it on airplane mode. If you put it on airplane mode, you wouldn’t be able to go on social media or receive any text messages until you turn your wifi or cellular data on again. Also, put your phone away. Whether it’s in another room, your closet, or anywhere that’s not within eyesight.
Effective > Efficient
If you’re effective, it means you’re doing the more important tasks. If you’re efficient, it means you’re doing something really fast and flying through it. It’s better to be effective rather than being efficient. When you’re working on important tasks, you need to slow down and pay attention to detail.
How To Prioritize
One of the ways Lavendaire prioritize her tasks is to use a four quadrant system. She got the idea from a book called 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The four labels she used were urgent, not urgent, important and not important. The first quadrant was urgent and important. The second quadrant was not urgent and important. The third quadrant was urgent and not important and the fourth was not urgent and not important.
The first quadrant would be the pressing deadlines, things we must fix right away and deadline driven projects and meetings. “If you’re spending a lot of time in this quadrant, then it means you’re going about life in a reactive way. You’re procrastinating and waiting at the last minute and now you’re thinking, “Now I have to do it.” said Lavendaire
She said it’s best to spend more time in quadrant two. In this quadrant, you’re planning, preparing, preventing, relationship building and learning/investing. They are the key to success for the bigger picture. The third quadrant are tasks that are urgent but aren’t very important. These are tasks such as emails, phone calls, certain people asking for favors, reports and meetings. You need to ask yourself, “Is this really important to my goals?” Which is why it’s better to understand what your goal is.
Lavendaire suggests not to spend your morning replying to emails. Most of us have a habit of checking our emails in the morning because we’d feel like we just checked one less thing we need to do for the day. Especially since the morning time is when we’re the most active and awake. It’s best to use your morning time wisely and to do important tasks first. Do an important task first then pick a time slot to reply to your emails.
The fourth quadrant are things that are not urgent and aren’t important such as browsing on social media and watching TV. These are things we waste our time with. Drawing these boxes and putting certain tasks in each category can help you figure out what you need to do first. It’s a good physical outline to remind yourself to stop wasting time.
Do The Important Tasks First
Finish the important tasks first. In order to do that, you need to plan and prepare what you need to do. It’s like a blueprint, you need to map out what you would like to accomplish and make it a priority. What you need to accomplish could affect your future.
Schedule It In
Now that you’ve mapped out what you need to accomplish, you need to pencil it in your calendar. You need to make space for it. Lavendaire loves to schedule on a week-to-week basis. She’ll look at her upcoming week, find time slots for it and schedule what she needs to get done.
You’re putting similar tasks together so you can do it at the same time. She tends to shoot multiple content all at once and if she has to edit her videos, she does them all at once as well. The same goes for emails and when it comes to planning her videos. She doesn’t like to switch from one task to another. The term for that is ‘context switching.’ “I believe you waste 20% of your time from one task to another because your brain needs to get warmed up and used to the new task.” said Lavendaire. Your brain should get to the flow state, which is when you’re performing at your best. If you want to reach this state, then do things one task at a time.
Plan Your Day
You can put all of your tasks on a small post-it note and you can put it on your desk or in your pocket. I tend to lose post-it notes so instead, I put all of my tasks in a planner. I use the Lavendaire daily planner. I love that I can put the three most important tasks on top, other tasks that are less important on the left side and self-care rituals on the right side. No matter how you plan your day, don’t forget to breathe.
3 Tips For Time Management By Kristina Choi
Keep Your Calendar Up-To-Date
You can schedule your plans for the day with the calendar on your phone. That way, once you’ve finished the plan, you can delete it and your phone can remind you when the time comes.
Block Off Time On Your Calendar
Kristina doesn’t do this everyday. She does it on days when her day is slower. She’ll block off a couple hours of her day for a project. If you’re a student, this could be beneficial to you. Let’s say you’ve gone out for lunch at noon and your classes finish at 3. You could block off an hour or so for homework, another hour to study and the last couple hours could be for your projects and study guides. That way, you can expect to be done at a certain time and leave room to watch Netflix and relax.
Write To Do Lists and Prioritize
I enjoy writing lists, especially on my days off. After you’ve finished a task, you can check it off and it feels so good. At the end of the day, you can look back to see how you spent your time today. Did you use your time to do tasks that were important or did you finish tasks that were less important? We all have the same 24 hours in a day so let’s spend the time productively.
Everyone has tasks they need to achieve but things like technology can get in the way. The tips above are to help you learn how to prioritize tasks and makes you question what the most important task is for you.