Life @ U of T

5 Ways I’m working on my Time Management Skills

I have no idea what has happened but, I cannot keep track of myself. The days are going by and I feel like I’m falling further and further behind. 

Last COVID semester I was thriving, I function best when I have a solid routine to follow, and I can monitor my tasks in one place. Right now?  Not happening.  

Since I keep getting off-track, I decided to try out some strategies I found online to keep get me back on top of my coursework. 

1. Tracking my day

According to the University of Georgia, one of the best ways to understand how to better utilize your time is to keep a tracker or write how you currently use your time. I’m writing what I’ve done in a day and roughly how long it takes me to get it all down. They also suggest thinking about what time of day you feel most productive and who/where do you allocate most of it to. Here is a sample of what I’ve done: 

Tracking My Day - Wednesday 
Wake Up: 7:00 
Class: 10:00 - 2:00
Studying: 
Others 
* Watching a movie
* Going to the mall, doing errands 

Did you accomplish what was needed?
List tracking what I did on Wednesday

2. Creating a priorities list

A lot of times you hear “you need to learn to prioritize more” — I am a full-time student, everything assigned is important.

According to WeWork.com, they outline seven (7) strategies to prioritizing when most things are important at, and personally, I believe there are two (2) that work best. 

  1. Highlight what is URGENT, based on TIME and IMPORTANCE 
  2. Be realistic 

Here’s a sample of a priorities list I tried!

PRIORITIES - Deadlines 

Urgent! - Timed Deadlines 
Friday: RLG Discussion Post @ 11:55am 
Monday, Feb 7th - CLT & HST Discussion Post Week 5 
Tuesday, Feb 8th - CLT Paper 1 Due @ 11:00am 
Wednesday, Feb 9th - RLG307 Virtual Exhibit Due 
Friday, Feb 11th - Monster Film Study Due @ 11:55am 

Beyond Next Week 
Feb 17th - Seminar Presentation 
Feb 18th - Compliance Assessment Due
Priorities list based on deadlines

3. Avoiding Multitasking

Person in front of their computer talking on the phone while looking at messages on a separate device
Person in front of their computer talking on the phone while looking at messages on a separate device

According to the University of Georgia, various studies have shown that multitasking does not actually SAVE you time, instead it makes hard on you to concentrate and maintain focus for longer periods of time. I must say, I agree. 

I often say I need to answer this email urgently, or I need to respond to this message. In reality, it makes my life harder because then these things become a source of distraction from urgent tasks. 

4. Evaluate Distractions

Person using a Rubik’s Cube in front of a computer

This was the hardest to swallow…everything distracts me. My phone, my job, the squirrel that comes to sit on my windowsill. Anything can distract me, so I have had to find ways to ground me in what I am doing at that moment. 

One tool that has been really helpful in managing this, the POMODORO technique. I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter one’s created by YouTuber, ASMR Weekly. 

5. Stop saying YES

I am a people pleaser, and with online learning some people (especially parents and older siblings) don’t understand the demand of online school and managing your tasks. Don’t say yes to every plan or do every errand – balance your time. 

If you struggle with time management, I highly recommend looking into these strategies and seeking out advice or workshops from Academic Success, they have a great Time Management Bootcamp I will be attending very soon! 

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