how to manage your time effectively

I’d like to think of myself as a very organised and productive person. I love the feeling of completing a to-do list and getting everything done on time. And I’d like to think I’m pretty good at managing my time too. So I’ve had a couple of questions to do this post and since it’s back to school season, I thought that this would be the ideal time. Therefore, I’m going to be sharing a little insight and some tips as to how I manage my time effectively, especially when I was in sixth form.

WRITE IT ALL DOWN & PLAN IT OUT

The most important tip and that is to write everything down. If you need to print something off, write it down. If you need to speak with someone, write it down. Even if you just need to remember something, write it down. In a planner, notebook, paper, anything so that you can refer back to it. Then, once everything is written down, you can begin to plan.

Planning is crucial to ensure that you manage your time effectively and personally, I love a planner to do this. Something that has each day to a page, where I can bullet point anything I have going on that day, or anything I need to do.

We all love a good to-do list right? So use whatever it is you use, to bullet point a to-do list, but this to-do list needs to include the most simple of tasks. Printing off a past paper, filing away work, reading a book. Anything and everything you need done in that day, write it down. I found that especially in sixth form, I had super simple tasks that I needed to do, but always forgot about because I never wrote them down. Once you have written everything down then you can have a rough idea as to when you can get these task can get done and in what order.

Effectively planning is key. Delegating certain tasks to a day and being strict on yourself to get them done. And if you don’t get them done that day, fit it around your other days. I found that it was something that came with practice. The better you understand yourself, the way you work, and how long tasks take, you will be able to manage your time more effectively.

START EARLY

I love the mornings, and I am definitely so much more productive in the morning. 2pm hits and I’m done. Now obviously when your in sixth form or high school, it is a little more difficult but you can still use your most productive time to your advantage. Say you work best in the evening, work around that and start early. As soon as you feel that burst of motivation, start and get it done.

Personally for me, I would be so much more productive in the morning. So I would get bits of work done in the morning. I would get in school early just to get a couple of jobs ticked off the to-do list because I knew I would get them done quicker and to a good standard if I did them in the morning. A lot of people thought it was kind of weird that I would do this before a day of school, but that way, I had less to do when I got home. Which was better for me as I had no motivation once I would come home from school.

ACCOUNT FOR THE SMALLER TASKS

This kind of pairs with writing everything down. But if you want to manage your time effectively, you need to get the smaller tasks done too. From having a shower, to reading some sheets, or glueing in sheets. Anything you need done, no matter how big or small, you need to account for. And especially with smaller tasks, you can tend to get them done quite quickly and with little concentration. So once you’ve written those tasks down and added them to a to-do list, that’s when you can find the best time to get it done.

For example, I knew I wasn’t very productive in the free lessons I had with friends, so I would delegate my smaller tasks within that time period. That included highlighting sheets, printing off practice questions, writing flashcards and organising my files. They may not seem like something you would need to write down and tick off, but it ensured that I was consistent within my work and didn’t need to waste time doing it at the last minute.

Same thing goes for when I got home from school. I knew I wouldn’t want to do a bunch of practice questions or heavy revision when I got home from a day of school, so I would do smaller tasks. Look for revision resources, brainstorm deadlines and future to-do lists or begin to organise my revision.

This was probably the biggest game changer for me that ensured I could manage my time effectively and I know it is something I’m going to continue to do throughout university and after.

PRIORITISE

If you have a big task that needs to be done in that day, prioritise it. Nothing else matters but the tasks that NEED to be done. I think it’s key to establish what NEEDS to be done and what you WANT to get done. For example, you might be quite happy to write up some notes and flashcards for your end of year exams, but what about that essay that’s due tomorrow? Prioritise the things that have got to be done. Homework, exams, coursework. Things that will only help you in future get it done. Your pretty notes can wait another day. So prioritise meeting your deadlines.

I hated writing essays for history, I always wanted to be making notes for it instead. But if I had an essay due, I would give myself a day to plan it and two days to write it. And that would be prioritised so that it would be completed way before the deadline. So once that was completed, I could then do my preferred task and write up the notes.

ONE TASK AT A TIME

I’m not much of a multitasker. I would much rather dedicate my full attention to one task at a time, and I do think it is the best way to get the most done.

Although it may not seem like it at the time. One task at a time ensures that you give that job your full attention and your best go, therefore producing the best outcome. I think it’s really important, especially with academic work that you don’t multi task the jobs you need to do. I often preferred to dedicate certain days to certain subjects. For example, I’d make sure on Saturday that I get my maths homework done and then on Sunday, my history work done, and any extra work for each of those subjects would be done on that day also. I just found that it got me in the most effective headspace and gave me the best opportunity to get the most work done.

I’d love to know if you have any other tips in the comments below!
Lots of love,
Grace xx

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