The Academy of Management Journal published a study showing that successful time management can lead to “critical outcomes in well-being and job performance” (Aoen and Aguinis 2017). In an era of our lives when motivation can be lacking, effective time management may save the day. Whether you spend hours in front of a screen attempting to learn coursework or you spend your day balancing working from home while also keeping your children on task, time can slip by without any sense of productivity. In the following article, we offer tips based on research found in the Academy of Management Journal as well as the Harvard Business Review. We hope the following tips will prove useful wherever you may find yourself right now!
- Take note of due dates
The HBR article, “Time Management is About More Than Life Hacks”, emphasizes the importance of “arrangement”. Arrangement means organizing your time so that you are aware of your responsibilities and how much time you have to complete them. A first step for this process can simply be to take note of major assignment due dates. Having these due dates in front of you and written down will make them easier to remember and, consequently, easier for you to schedule the time to get each task done. Putting these due dates on a calendar which you check frequently will make this first step all the more effective.
- Create a weekly schedule
Continuing on the idea of arrangement, creating a weekly schedule is the next step. After taking note of your important deadlines, making a weekly schedule is a sure-fire way to stay organized and use your time efficiently. Make sure to factor in other prior commitments such as dinners with family or other meetings so that you can make time for all of your various tasks.
- Use the “time blocking” method
Similar to creating a weekly schedule, the time blocking method is another way to hold yourself accountable to staying organized. This method is a great way to make sure that you don’t spend too much time on just one assignment. Allot yourself a fixed amount of time to complete a task or simply work on the task, and then after this allotted time, move on to the next thing on your agenda. By allotting yourself this time, you are able to be more efficient without the burnout that some feel after spending hours on the same project. Having a set schedule in front of you will help you feel more obligated to complete the tasks you have set aside time for.
- Set reminders
Setting reminders may be one of the most essential tools to managing your time best. Sometimes, life throws things at us which cause us to get off task. Setting a reminder is a way to rely on something more than your own memory to remember to complete a project or task. If there is a due date in the future, mark times in your calendar about what parts of the project you want to finish by certain times. Setting reminders can also be about making your own smaller deadlines so that you can finish the bigger assignment efficiently by its due date.
- Check in with yourself
“Adaptation” was another one of the key words that the HBR found as an essential component of time management in their evaluation of The Academy of Management Journal’s publication. Time management is about one’s ability to adapt to their schedule and find out what might be working and what is not. Checking in with yourself throughout your time management plan is essential. Are you giving yourself enough breaks? Are the methods you’re using for time management working? Not every time management technique works for everyone. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Starting off with the steps we provide here is only the beginning. “Awareness”, as described by HBR, is the single most important aspect of time management. Being aware that there is only so much time in one day and that you can only do so much before you burn out are important parts of time management that must be considered. Be realistic about how much you can get done in a day and space out your assignments accordingly.
Clearly, time management is more than just a hack; it’s an essential skill of life. Not everyone has these skills, and it takes motivation, drive, and patience in order to successfully create useful time management skills.
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