A couple weeks ago, I presented a workshop to a sorority on campus on the topic of time management. Everyone has different priorities and commitments, with varying levels of importance to them, so we instead focused on how those priorities and commitments could be kept in check.
To start the workshop, I recounted the story of the Philosophy professor and the Mayonnaise jar. If you’ve heard of this story, then you might know what I’m getting at, but if you’re reading this saying “what the heck is that?!,” check out the story here. The basis of the story is that no matter what the things are that we value in our lives, we should always keep the big things in mind, and worry about the “little things” later.
So how can you manage your time more effectively? Here are some suggestions:
- Keep track of everything. I know this sounds pretty obvious, but a lot of times when we have trouble keeping tabs on everything that we need to do, it’s because we’re not using a method that fits with our way of thinking! Those who are “task-oriented” focus on what they need to get done, so a to-do list where specific things are listed would be perfect. People who take a “time-oriented” approach find it much easier to organize information based on when the commitment should or will occur, so a planner where dates and times could be recorded would be the best method.
- Set check-points for yourself. You might be a task-oriented planner, but for commitments that are time-sensitive in nature (like exams, assignments, or event planning), it can be helpful to set check-points for yourself along the way to make sure you avoid a last-second rush to the finish. This is also a good tactic for things like group projects where you need input from multiple places!
- Don’t commit immediately. If you’re asked to do something and you’re unsure if there’ll be a conflict, you don’t have to give an answer right away. Say that you’d be happy to, but you’d like a chance to look at your schedule or list before giving an answer. Not only will it help you get everything in mind, it can also help avoid an awkward situation of having to back out of something you agreed to do.
I’m sure that if we all took a moment to think back, we’d probably find a time where we’ve recognized that we probably could have managed our time a bit better (I know at least one comes to mind for me!) Hopefully, with these tips, you can feel more at ease and confident in doing all the great things you do!