Back to School Volume 3

Things to Do

Does your “Thing’s To Do” list seems to just keep getting longer and longer? It seems impossible to finish all of the tasks and it starts to become overwhelming. It’s not always easy, but managing your time can help with having an overwhelming to do list. Time management is about consciously managing your time effectively. So, what happens if we don’t manage our time?   We miss deadlines and due dates.  We forget about tasks on the list. We don’t perform at the level we know we are capable.

But we can’t talk about time management without talking about procrastination! What is procrastination and why do we do it? Procrastination is the process of delaying or postponing something. There are many reasons why we procrastinate such as we might find the task boring, we get anxious about the steps to take incompleting the task, we are not confident in our ability to do the task (see last weeks blog).  Research suggests that we procrastinate as a way to avoid the negative feelings  associated with the task; however, research also shows that individuals who chronically procrastinate are more likely to to have higher anxiety, depression, and lower self-esteem. So, how do we start to implement some time management skills?

Keeping track of many things in one place can  be helpful to remembering.  You only have to look in one place to find all your due dates, assignments and appointments.

Sticking to a schedule helps with building routine and habits.  Ever been driving and all of a sudden you are at your destination with limited knowledge of the turns, stop lights and cars you encountered.  This is because you have made the route a habit and it doesn’t involve as much active brain function to recall.

Setting realistic goals can make sure you accomplish more.  Completing 5 hours of homework in a 30 minute window will leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsuccessful.  Make sure the goals you set are ones you can achieve.

Prioritizing can make sure those things with time limits or due dates are given ample time to complete.  Break down large assignments and tasks into smaller bite size pieces and put them in order to prioritize first steps before later ones.

Put away the technology that distracts you.  Most of us think we can multi task.  It’s kind of a myth.  Those things we can do simultaneously are those that we have habituated through practice…like doing the dishes and talking on the phone.  The more complex the task, the more it needs your full attention.  If you must use technology, consider it as background noise versus active engagement.

Using checklists helps us to create strategy.  It can be a rush to mark off something completed.

Give yourself a much needed break after a successful task completion.  15 minutes of down time can help rejuvinate you for the next round of work.  Make sure it is time limited or it may start to become avoidance.

Click here for more tips on how to start mastering your own time.

Alex Young, Intern

Alex Young is a Graduate Student Intern with the Mindly Group studying Mental Health Counseling. If you are interested in joining this group or want to learn more about Alex click here.