Mastering time management is one of the keys to being productive. And being productive is one of the keys to being successful, both in school and in general.
However, time management is not something you can learn instantly. It takes time to build, practice, and master.
In this post, I’m going to teach you how to get the hang of time management in 1 week. Once you’ve built a strong foundation by doing these things, you’ll be on your way to becoming a more productive person.
Day 1: Evaluate yourself
Before you can become better, you must discover what’s holding you back. When we talk about time management, this can mean a lot of things.
First, you must evaluate your time usage. Are you spending hours each day scrolling through TikTok? Are you binge-watching Netflix shows every evening? Find the few activities that are wasting your time and keep it in mind for later.
Next, figure out what bad habits you have that are preventing you from being productive. There may be a lot, or there may be a few. Some common examples include:
- Working while watching Netflix.
- Procrastinating until the last minute.
- Checking your phone every 5 minutes.
Lastly, find out what objects are constantly distracting you from your work. Usually, these are things on your desk or in your workspace that shouldn’t be there, such as video games, food, or phones (especially social media).
Once you figure out what’s holding you back from being productive, you can focus on eliminating these in the next couple of steps.
Day 2: Learn to prioritize
Prioritizing is a very abstract and difficult thing to master. Especially if you’re indecisive, it might seem impossible to figure out what’s important and what’s not.
But once you master prioritization, your to-do lists will be so much easier to complete. It’ll make you more efficient and less stressed, and an overall more productive person.
So how do you prioritize?
First, analyze time. There are 2 things you should evaluate: the deadline (how much time you have to do it) and the commitment (how much time it’ll take you to do it).
Next, analyze its impact. What will happen if you don’t do the task? Will you fail your class? Or will you just be behind 1 episode on a Netflix show?
Lastly, analyze the delegacy. Do you need to complete the task by yourself, or can you get someone to help you? Or, can someone else do the task entirely?
Keep these points in mind when analyzing your to-do list. I also suggest keeping a planner to keep track of your top-priority tasks each day as well as long-term objectives– this will help you stay accountable and maximize your productivity.
Day 3: Remove unnecessary tasks
Once you’ve got prioritization down, you can eliminate the unnecessary tasks in your to-do list. I suggest trying the Eisenhower Matrix (read more about it here: 9 Powerful Daily Habits For Productivity).
You can use the 4 quadrants to decide which tasks you should tackle first (another way or prioritizing), which to tackle later, which to delegate, and which to eliminate.
You can download a free copy of this matrix in my Freebie Library.
Some people may have the habit of writing down an excessive amount of things on their to-do list. For some people, that’s helpful; for others, it’s just overwhelming.
Learning to eliminate unnecessary tasks will help you weed out the pointless tasks and keep you on track to be super productive.
Day 4: Plan out the month
That’s right, we’re planning out the entire month. This can sound daunting, but it’s much simpler than it sounds.
First, you’re going to need a calendar. Whether it’s digital or physical (I suggest using both!), a calendar is absolutely crucial for time management.
You can write down:
- Short-term due dates
- Long-term deadlines
- Test dates
- Appointment dates
- Plans before said dates
- And more!
On your calendar, write down all the above dates (you can color-code them as you wish, too!). If you’re using a planner with a monthly spread, you can also write down reminders in the weekly spreads before the date.
Once you’ve got the big picture in front of you, it’s easier to get deeper into the details and make more specific plans.
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Day 5: Plan out the week
Here, we’re getting into the details and making more specific plans!
Just like making your monthly plans, you should be making weekly plans to visualize the upcoming days. You should do this at the beginning of each week– it should take at most 30 minutes!
In your weekly planner, write down the week’s priority tasks and important dates, and plan out how you’re going to break down those deadlines throughout the week.
For example, if you have a project due on Friday, plan ahead and assign 25 minutes each day to working on the project.
Similar to monthly planning, you can customize your system to maximize your productivity. This means color-coding, bookmarking, adding stickers, and more. Make your planner your own in order to maximize it!
Day 6: Create a morning routine
Once you’ve got the big picture planned out completely, it’s time to take action. Routines are a great place to start, and morning routines are especially important. If you start the morning right, the rest of your day will follow.
In order to have a productive morning, you must wake up early (I know, ugh). Waking up early will give you extra time to do stuff in peace and without the stress of running out of time.
I love to maximize my morning by warming up both my body and my mind by stretching and reading/listening to the news, then spending some time studying or maintaining my blog.
However, it’s important to remember: a morning routine is only a helpful routine if you stick to it. You must be able to form a habit of waking up at a certain time and doing specific things in a set amount of time.
A good place to start is to invest in a good old alarm clock! Smartphones generally don’t work as well as alarm clocks when it comes to actually waking you up.
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Day 7: Eliminate distractions
Last day in this time management challenge, and another day of taking action! In order to maintain your productivity game after all the progress you’ve made, you must take this step.
Remember the distractions you identified on the first day? It’s time to eliminate them completely! Whether they’re bad habits or distracting objects, you must actively try to get rid of them (metaphorically and literally).
If you figured out that you have a bad habit of multitasking while you study, literally delete or remove the thing that’s taking up your attention.
If your procrastination is constantly getting the best of you, make detailed plans during the week or month to work on the task a little bit each day.
If you’re constantly on your phone and scrolling through social media, turn off all notifications and/or delete the app itself.
Sometimes, you need to be a little harsh on yourself in order to see progress and improvement. So as hard as it might be to delete TikTok, remind yourself what possibilities you’re opening yourself to.
As hard as mastering time management might be, there’s always something you can do to improve. Start with baby steps, and you’ll be crushing the productivity game in no time!
Looking for more ideas? Check out these great time management tips.
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