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Eyes on the prize: Successful time management


“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Saint Francis of Assisi

We’ve often been told as a twenty-somethings that we should spend time enjoying our lives and not stress over things we can’t change or have no idea how to change. Well, from my experience, that’s easier said than done.

As twenty-somethings, we love to get involved in anything and everything, especially when we are trying to add new work-related experiences and things to talk about when a job interviewer says, “so, tell me about yourself” during a job interview. However, just because we are seeking new experiences, want to build connections, and are desperately hoping to feel liked by every person we meet, we still need to learn to say no when our plates are too full.

The time we spend stressing over our packed schedules can be eliminated if we just admit up front that we don’t have time for everything people ask us to do in the first place. This way we can come across as a more dependable, honest, and reliable person.

Below are several tips that can help you effectively manage your time and accomplish everything you have on your plate:

Learn where your time is going. Pick a day out of your already hectic schedule and track down everything you’ve done for that week and how much time you spent doing it. That way you will have a sense of what you’re spending time on and what takes the most time for you to complete.

Avoid working in distracting environments. If you are trying to knock out a full to-do list of activities, then your bedroom is probably not the best environment to get things done. It can be very distracting if you get side-tracked easily by all of the items in your bedroom. Create a dedicated workspace for yourself – somewhere you know you will be able to focus and complete the tasks at hand.

Prioritize and organize. When we use a planner or a calendar management system – such as Google Calendar – to keep track of the tasks we have to do, then we can prioritize our tasks according to importance and upcoming deadlines. It’s also important to include times you will be unavailable to work  (or other responsibilities) because of places you need to be or events you want to attend.

Stay focused when working from your computer. We’ve all been there; you’re working on an assignment on your computer, and the next thing you know, you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and so on. Drop those habits and train yourself to stay focused on the task at hand and you will get hours of your time back.

Avoid being a pushover. If a coworker asks you to take over a project or a friend begs you to accompany them to an event, politely decline if you know it doesn’t fit into your schedule. It’s important to first have time for your own tasks before adding others’ responsibilities to your schedule; don’t bite off more than you can chew.

If you have the discipline to use these tips to manage your time, you will not only feel like you have more hours each day, but you will build a reputation as a person who is able to complete the tasks you set out to do.

About the Author

Tynisha Ferguson

Tynisha graduated from Winthrop University in May 2012 with a B.A. in English-Creative Writing and a minor in Social Sciences. She is currently a New Media Journalism student at Full Sail University. She hopes to work in public relations and communications for a non-profit organization. When she is not writing, she enjoys watching supernatural TV dramas, reading, and playing her favorite online role-playing video game, Mabinogi.