Time management

You've probably asked yourself how some people are able to work so many different activities in their schedules and yet still maintain a good balance personally and socially. Are they smarter? Doubtful. More organized? Probably. Better at managing time? Likely.

Time management is important to most people, but even more so for you while you're still on campus and wanting to get involved to accumulate a diverse range of skills to leave UBC with. Participation in co-curricular activites means that in addition to classes, homework, meals, jobs and socializing, significant time will be taken up with organizational obligations. Managing your time is a personal skill, and only you know what works best for you. The following steps can help you determine your best approach.

The big five

The five steps to effective time management are:

  1. Plan

    • Research has proven that individuals who set personal goals have a greater chance at success

    • These individuals have set down their goals on paper, and a process for doing so

    • Set goals that you know are realistic, believable and achievable

    • Zoom in and out - first set the goals you would like to achieve for the semester, the year, and throughout your university career to ultimately prepare you for what comes after graduation

  2. Assess

    • Assess how you currently manage your time - you cannot make productive changes unless you know what areas need to be changed

    • Try keeping a time log for three days, describing your activities and evaluate the priority of each one

    • Reflect on your findings: what patterns can be identified as time wasters? Interruptions? What felt the most rewarding, versus what you would eliminate?

    • Have a friend or family member review your time log - they may be able to point out discrepancies or patterns you didn't see

  3. Organize

    • Make a list of everything you want or need to do for that day

    • Don't try plan every minute - it can be useful to group your tasks in five to seven day groupings

    • Keep in mind that everyone has their good and bad days - don't abandon your to-do list if you don't accomplish everything

    • An effective technique is to begin each day with the tasks you put off the day before

  4. Prioritize

    • Go over your list and rewrite in priority order what needs your attention first

    • Keep in mind due dates, commitments you have made, and whether or not these tasks involve other people

    • Remember that your priorities should reflect your goals - this often makes the prioritization process much easier

  5. Schedule

    • Now, take this list and work it into your schedule

    • Remember to leave breaks for socializing, exercising, breaks and unexpected events that pop up - there is no point making a schedule that is impossible to follow

    • It is useful to keep a day planner, use a handy mobile calendar app or the one on your computer to keep track of all your commitments

Try these suggestions, see what works for you best and then be sure to integrate them into your lifestyle. Learning effective time management now will help you throughout your personal life and professional career.

Skills to do a job

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