Time management is a song we have heard being sung so many times. And, whoever you are, and wherever you are, it is always 24 hours a day. If you are Bill Clinton or Arda, a student at METU NCC, you both have the same 24 hours a day. But! The difference is how you invest your time! How you make the most of it. We all have work, projects, dreams, future plans etc. … which are way bigger than these 24 hours. Most of, if not all, the successful people around the globe use their time wisely. Time is like gold for them. Well actually, it is more important than gold itself!
We all can have a grasp on our time, our time is in our hands so it’s up to us on how to use it. So, today in this blog I will talk about how to manage and invest our time. I will mention some methods and tips to follow that I myself tried and worked on! But hold on a second, this blog is meant for the ones who are willing to invest in their time and put in effort. If you are not one of them, all I can say is, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
So, with no further ado let’s start looking at the steps!
Steps for time management
STEP 1: monitor your time
In order to get the most out of it, you should monitor your time and see how it’s spent and where it is wasted. This step is more than enough to increase your productivity and the amount of stuff you do in a single day by 3 times at least even on day one. Sounds cool right! Now you feel excited to study, don’t you? So my secret weapon here is to make a schedule of 3 columns;
|Time From||Time until||What I was doing|
|7:00pm||9:40pm||Scrolling through Instagram, Twitter and texting on Whatsapp.|
|9:40pm||1:00am||Trying to finish assignment due tomorrow morning at 7am.|
You need to write everything every moment even when you’ll sleep… And now, while you are watching over your time you won’t be satisfied or accept to waste more time, that’s because you will be disappointed and ashamed in yourself when you write “I spent 2 hours on social media today liking pictures of people I don’t know” for example. You will find yourself encouraged to do the right things in order to write it down in your (time monitor) table. Rest assured, if you follow this step, you will see the differences in no time. But, you need to be honest about it and want to put in an effort to change yourself.
Step 2: have a daily plan
We all have plans to do on a certain day, to study chapter 5 in a course, going to the gym, taking care of your kids, if you have ;), so, we need to write a plan for our day either in the morning or the night before. Or as we call it, a TO DO list! I know you’ve heard this advice so much, but you will still hear it my friend because it is very important.
There is no single successful person in time management in the whole world not using a NOTE or TO DO LIST in order to have his daily plan for everything he/she is going to do. Having a specific and accurate plan will save you a lot of time when you fulfill anything you have in your plan for this day.
So my friend bring a little notepaper and keep it in your pocket always, and write the things that you’re supposed to finish this day. It is not a must to keep your list neat and colorful in order to start planning, just use what makes you feel comfortable. There are some notebooks or even sticky notes you can buy to place your to-do list on.
If you are not a paper-based person (as I call them) like me, you can use your mobile or your pc. There are multiple TO DO list apps out there. Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to write, you can choose what makes you comfortable and more productive.
NOTE: there are some journals, bullet journals, and agendas that come along with TO DO LIST and your day’s schedule (in step 1). You can follow some study blogs on Instagram to see how people really enjoy using these journals and even some people have their page only for journals.
Step 3: think on paper
When you think about anything, think it on paper. I always have a pocket size notebook with me to write whatever comes to my mind. I even have it next to me while sleeping. Sometimes ideas come and go and you yourself think that you will remember it, but at the end of the day you won’t.
This tip I took from a famous author and historian that I met in person about 5 years ago. I asked him what advice he could give if I want to write (because I used to write short stories) he told me, “always have a notebook, and what I mean by always is always.” It honestly helped me greatly in my life in my writings and more. Your attention and concentration will drastically increase when you write what comes to your mind. Plus, it will save you a lot of time in the future. JUST GIVE IT A TRY.
And for those who are curious about who this author is, he’s actually Palestinian and known nationally not internationally. His name is Hussain Loubani.
Step 4: Pareto principle
Use Pareto principle of (80/20) in most of your work. Simply, you have millions and hundreds of things to do, you have your own dreams, plans, and ambitions. BUT, it’s impossible to finish/do them all. Surprisingly about 20% from these stuff, dreams, etc. will achieve 80% of success in your life. Let’s say that you have 10 things you should do today! There will be 2 things out of 10 that will lead to 80% of your success in life.
You must allocate the largest chunk of time and concentration for these 2 things. The rest of the time can go to the other less important tasks. Of course, you are the one to decide which is important and which is not! For example, some might not consider drawing as a priority or as important as other tasks. But for others, it’s their top priority for several reasons (for their jobs, as therapy plan, for social interactions, etc.)
Step 5: don’t do 2 things at the same time
If you have an important thing that you should do, never do it with something else. Because it will be a waste of time and energy. And it will never be as useful as what it is supposed to be. If you are studying, never trick yourself that you will study in front of the television or Facebook.
So don’t do one important thing with something else. But it’s fine if you’ll do two unimportant things together.
Fun Fact: you study and listen to music at the same time. Don’t listen to anyone who goes against that. New researches show that it’s quite effective to listen to music sometimes while studying. Of course not all music types are applicable. For me, I do listen to calm music or classical music. Go ahead and check the researches about listening to music while studying!
Step 7: have a specific time for concentration
You will need to have several chunks of time be reserved for work with high concentration and without any distractions. This portion of time will be for about 30 minutes for example. During this portion of time, you should eliminate all forms of distraction; forget about your phone, Facebook, Instagram, chatting, calls, and everything else in this world. Only for these 30 minutes do important stuff and give it your utmost attention.
After these 30 minutes, take a break and award yourself, maybe your self-satisfaction will be your reward ;). This step is what most people call the POMODORO TECHNIQUE.
By following this step correctly you’ll finish many important tasks in these 30 minutes. Especially if it is about studying, or, any work that needs concentration. Whenever you have work with less distractions, your productivity will increase. Then you will be able to finish stuff more than anyone else.
These portions of time could be more than 30 minutes. It can reach for an hour or two for some people! You can start with a smaller portion if you are not used to focusing much. You can start by 10 minutes and increase it gradually later on.
Step 8: invest in your time management
Organizing and managing your time is the most important thing that will make you successful in life. So, you should use and exploit your time to the fullest. You should always be updated about time management techniques, through books, videos, articles, or any other possible reliable source. Plus, a very important step that you should take is to limit your time on social media. When not avoided, it can ruin all the previous steps that I mentioned above.
Congratulations for all who reached till here. That means that you really care about your time! 😉 XD
In brief, time management is a very important skill, and we all can acquire it. The steps above are one of the ways to master time management. METU NCC provided me with great support to follow these steps by joining societies, seminars, and getting to interact with lecturers. The lecturers here are more than willing to share their experiences and help the students. I am more than lucky to be a METU NCC student! And I hope that you all have a good experience.
And if you did not, still give it a try! METU NCC is a great place to build skills. METU NCC is not only about academics, rather it’s about life long skills and hacks.
Please write your opinions down below, and share your own techniques. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, I am here for you guys! Sharing is caring, maybe you can share this blog with people who can benefit from it.
These steps are merely techniques I have learned and experienced. I did not create these techniques. All credits goes to the owners of these techniques.