Time-management has always (and probably will be) been an issue for me. I stress over the fact that there is not enough time for me and that I have a lot of work to do and absolutely no free time, while in reality, I do indeed have a lot of time- just a very bad schedule.
Here are some tips that I learned (the hard way), after 3 years of my time at law school.
1. Shifting to a Digital Planner from a Notebook Planner.
Well, this is a very wise tip that I had received from my dad a few months back. Let's say that Papa is more technologically driven than I could ever be!
What was the tip?
The tip was shifting from the notebook planner to a digital planner. I never really had a notebook planner, but I do have a random notebook that I loved using as a planner, also, I sometimes use random small paper sheets to jot down my tasks, and I print out - free printable planners from Pinterest, and schedule my day/ week/month accordingly.
So what went wrong initially?
It was time-consuming. A lot of my time went in actually either looking for the perfect printables on Pinterest (because I'm very picky and if I find something remotely more interesting I'll shift to that) and printing them out. In turn, I wasted a lot of paper - which could be used for other purposes such as journaling or even writing down notes or ideas etc.
I would also go through Amazon to look for the perfect planner for myself. In turn, I also realised that whether you have a daily planner, a monthly planner or a weekly planner, you had to manually write tasks for each day and work accordingly. Writing down my goals and tasks for the next day on a manual planner was time-consuming.
Also, to mention that me, being a very clumsy person, lost a couple of notes, a few printables and forgot about the tasks I had to complete because I misplaced them.
How did this transition help?
Let's say, it is easier and less time-consuming. My biggest fear was being attached to my mobile phone because honestly, using my mobile phone for a long period of time is overwhelming. I thought that having a physical planner with me will always help me remain detached from my phone, but alas! I was wrong.
If I wanted to use my phone, I would, regardless of whether I have to write down tasks in my planners manually or not!
In return, this actually wasted a lot of time, because I would constantly have to look into my notebooks to see what task I have to perform next and God forbid if I accidentally misplace my stuff!
The best part about using my phone as a planner is knowing how much time I have at hand. When I used to manually write in tasks in my notebooks, I used to feel that I do not have enough time at hand because my physical planners never showed me the exact time and date of my tasks and never really reminded me of my tasks.
I still do need to feed in the tasks in my phone manually, but the best thing is, that if I have a daily schedule/ time-table that I follow, I can just feed my tasks in and there comes an option of -whether I'd like to repeat my tasks, and if I do, how often should the task be repeated?
This way, if there are tasks that I do every day, at the same time, then it would mean that I just have to click "repeat every day" and my mobile phone automatically shifts the tasks on the same time, every single day.
This is also the case where I plan on my weekly schedule.
For example, I post my blogs every Saturday at 11:00 AM. I just have to feed in my mobile phone once and then click, "repeat weekly". This way, I get a reminded every Saturday about posting my blog.
The best part is, that my reminder is set for reminding me about the event, half an hour before. This way, while I'm working on my other tasks, I know what my next task is going to be. I generally keep my internet connection off while working, and since reminders don't need an internet connection, I am not disturbed by unnecessary notifications, just my reminder reminding me what my next task is going to be about!
This has actually helped me a lot because I just need to review my schedule for the next day, before sleeping, once, to add on to the tasks that are already present, and then edit them if necessary.
Another thing that I love about this is that previously, if I had to edit my schedule, I would have to manually scribble over the paper and strike down my previous schedule and it looked absolutely messy!
*cue in the space constrains too*
With digital planner on my mobile phone, I can edit, re-edit and keep adding and changing my plans as many times as I want without actually having to scribble over the notebook and rewrite over my existing plans!
The best part about this is that I know what time it is and how much time will I require to complete a task.
The digital planner shows all the 24 hours in a day and I can actually see which slot is free and which isn't. This made my work really easy because now when I feed in tasks, I can actually see that there are many slots which are free for my leisure time without me getting overwhelmed by the same. This was not possible in case of my notebook planners because I did not know which time would actually be free, and my schedule would look jam-packed!
Do I use a particular app which I may have downloaded from my App/ Play Store?
NOPE! A big NO! I use my phone's outlook calendar app. I tried using the phone's built-in calendar app too, but iPhone does not give me too many options especially when I sync my Gmail with it and even if I don't it still doesn't give me many options unless I manually input everything on the laptop (and no, mine is not a MacBook so it's harder). You can use the Outlook calendar or the google calendar. To me, there is no better application for planning than my outlook calendar app. I generally turn off my phone while using my laptop or even sometimes keep it away from me. The best part about the Outlook calendar is that it reminds me in both my laptop and my phone and therefore, if I'm not using anyone, I would still be notified on the other one. Everything is automatic, everything is pre-requisite and I really do not have to look for any other app to plan my day!
I use my "Notes" app to write down my to-do list too! But sometimes, if I want details of the events, I use my Outlook calendar as well. It has helped me a lot and I really don't waste my paper on these things anymore!
2. Priority Marking of Tasks
Priority marking means deciding what tasks are more important than the others! Sometimes, we get a lot of tasks at hand and we do not actually know where to begin with! So we resort to being more frustrated homo sapiens than we already are!
What was the tip?
The tip was that I needed to see which tasks are more important than the others. I had to break down the areas and go through them and I also had to make sure which task takes how much time to complete.
Initially, it can get a bit confusing on how to work things out, but later on, you get the grasp of it! And exactly why I am here to help you out too!
So what went wrong initially?
Initially, I had a lot of trouble to list down the tasks- I would multitask and would eventually not be able to complete a single task properly. This led to an overwhelming amount of frustration inside of me and I was disappointed.
*cue in the imposter syndrome as well*
How did the transition help?
The transition helped me in the manner that I could now work on tasks without getting very frustrated about it.
Here's how I prioritize my tasks-
Firstly, look at the deadline. - This is something that I have started doing often. I look at the deadline and decide whether or not that task is as important as the others. If the deadline is close by, I make sure to do the task first. If the deadline is a bit away, I can take my time and do it leisurely!
What if two tasks have the same deadline? - In this case, I prioritize them according to their values and grades. For example, if there is a task that can be shifted at a later stage, then I work on the one that cannot be shifted, first, and then move on to the other one. Also, if there is a task that can't be shifted, then I work on the task that takes a longer time to complete and then move on to the one that takes less time.
Moving on from that, I set reminders on my mobile phone. In the list of tasks that I have made on my calendar app, I set up reminders for priority tasks, that way, my mobile phone shows me what my priority tasks are so that I can plan the rest of my day accordingly.
These are two of the best tips (amongst others), that I have learned and I'm transferring them you! Let me know if you find them useful or if you have anything to add which I may not be aware of!
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