Top Five steps on how to manage your time properly

Between Grad school and having a full-time job, here are some tips and tricks on time management.

Are you having a tough time keeping up with your schedule and juggling too many things at once? Maybe you are attending grad school while still keeping your one or two full time jobs. It is difficult and it takes a lot of mental and physical power! I know because I’ve been there!

Time management has been such a helpful skill that got me through my busy schedule while juggling my full-time job and grad school.

Some of my friends, classmates, co-workers wonder how I was able to keep up with my busy schedule but it’s really about learning how to manage your time properly.

Here are the five most important time management methods that I followed to make sure that I stay on top of my school and my full-time job. Even when my schedule is less busy, I try to keep these up so that I can still feel productive and maybe find other things to do with my time!

  • Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is so important specially if you are expecting a busy schedule days, weeks, or months ahead.

This can be true when planning an event such as a wedding, or maybe you have a deadline for work in a couple of months, or you’re taking two to three classes and each of them are requiring a lot of your time.

How I planned ahead was to always keep my calendar and planners updated and gave myself a deadline. I wish you could see my calendar, but I put everything there even my bill schedule and workout schedule. Yes, I get desperate when I don’t go to the gym because of my busy schedule.  

My other job is all about out keeping up with my deadlines, so I have to manage my time and update my calendar almost daily. When I was attending grad school, I put my deadlines on the calendar and allocated specific times of the day to work on my essays or other homework.

Having a planner and calendar just makes me use my time wisely and prevents me from procrastinating.

  • Prioritize

Some people say to do the big things first and the small things last. This may be true to you so but for me, I try to get all the little things out of the way to focus on the big ones after.

This is because I have to clear my mind off the little things and only set my focus on the bigger and more important tasks, especially if it requires a lot of thinking and research. If I still have small things to do that are still lingering around, there’s a good chance that these could be forgotten and end up procrastinating on them. This may not be true to you, but it definitely works for me!

Another way to prioritize is based on deadline. If you have a deadline coming up, then, focus on that first to make sure that you get that out of the way.

  • Stay Organized

I can’t stress how staying organized is so important when juggling a busy schedule. This can start from having organized workspace or organized notes and whatever it may be. If you’re organized, then it is likely that your mind and thoughts will be organized too.

Staying organized could make your life a lot easier if you have all information that you need in hand to do specific tasks, maybe writing essays or research for work. Or if you have to put together some data in excel for work, having this information organized and clear won’t only make it easier for you but for others as well.

I stayed organized by having set structure for my folders in my computer, for documents and even pictures, and categorizing them in specific groups. Another thing to organize are your emails.

You may have thousands in your inbox right now, but you may be missing some important emails and you don’t even know. If you are like me, seeing hundreds or thousands of unread emails can be overwhelming.

This may be tedious, but it won’t be if you do them right away and right from the start. If you decide to be organized later when things have accumulated, then it becomes busy work which may take up much more time off your hand.

  • Get in the zone and black out any distractions

This maybe is the most difficult one for some people. There are all sorts of distractions such as social media, TV, pets, kids, food! Having our mental state get in the zone is difficult especially if you know you would rather be doing something else. I know… I’m always like that too.

This is when giving myself a deadline comes in handy as I trained myself to commit to that deadline. It’s not perfect every time but if you have a busy schedule like me, then, this definitely helps. If you know that you have a deadline or you have other things to do, get in the zone and turn off anything that is distracting you and focus.

  • Learn your limits and say no!

Lastly, I know you want to be a superstar and try to do everything, but if you can’t handle it, then learn to say no. This was a hard lesson for me, and I said yes to everything I thought I could do. In the end, I ended up having mental breakdown which makes me become unmotivated. Learning how to say no could be difficult but if you are over stretched and you know you can’t take any more tasks, then say no.

Do you have any favorite from the list above? Leave a comment!

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