I recently read a tweet that referenced Smash Mouth’s most beloved song, “All Star.” The song claims that “the years start coming and they don’t stop coming,” and the tweet agreed with this statement. When I think about this quote, I can see a person being pelted by the days and years as if they’re tennis balls being launched out of a machine—getting hit time and again without a break. During my first semester at college, I experienced that same feeling: time hit me too fast and I wasn’t prepared for it. Waves of events, deadlines, priorities, and other activities tackled me, and I lost track of the time as it washed away forever.
Even though the days never stopped coming, I kept up with my schoolwork and other responsibilities pretty well. I turned in all of my work on time, volunteered, kept my dorm clean, and even managed to carve out some time for friends. However, I never would’ve been able to keep up with my responsibilities if I didn’t have a planner. Even then, I let some things slip through the cracks: extracurricular writing, practicing yoga, getting regular haircuts. But I’ve resolved to do better during the spring semester, and I have some advice for other people who need help managing and taking advantage of all of the time that’s being thrown at them.
The best way to manage time is to invest in your own planner. I have to say it again: get a planner and get your time in line. One of the biggest perks of using a planner is having all your appointments, plans, assignments, responsibilities, and other events listed in one place so you won’t lose an important date. Instead of having to refer to five different syllabi, my work schedule, and my Facebook events page, I can just look at my planner once when someone asks me if I want to make plans. Everything is in one place, and it simplifies my life.
Another great thing I do with my planner is use it as a checklist. I write down what I have to do on what days, and I tick off what I’ve done as I complete tasks throughout the day. Every time I mark off an item on my to-do list, I feel a sense of accomplishment, and this inspires me to work hard and get everything done for the day. If I do something during the day that wasn’t originally part of my agenda, I write it down and check it off too.
Over the fall semester, I learned that I can’t wait to “find” time to write or do yoga or read the Iliad, so I make the time. Since writing things down in my planner compels me to get them done, I write my to-do list in my planner to make time to do what I want to do. Motivated by my desire to feel accomplished, I attack my to-do list every day instead of letting time slip away from me until it’s too late.
Related: Video: Time Management Tips
Time doesn’t wait for anyone, so I make my time work for me. No more saying “I’ll get to that later” or “The time just slipped away from me so I decided not to do it.” Now I take advantage of the time I have, and you can too!
What other ways do you keep on top of your time management? Tell us in the comments.