A Reality Check on Time Management, Part 2

By: David

If you could recall, I wrote a blog post (A Reality Check on Time Management) last month concerning time management techniques and tips. After finishing that post and rewatching the video a couple times, I managed to apply some of the techniques into my daily life. Today’s post will be highlighting the results and outcomes of some of the tips and tricks that was mentioned in the video. I’m still not the best at time management, but hey, at least I’m better than I was last month.

So here’s a refresher of the 10 techniques to effective time management:

  1. Carry a schedule to record your thoughts, conversations, and activities
  2. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it.
  3. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities, and conversations that produce most of your results.
  4. Schedule time for interruptions.
  5. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day.
  6. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain.
  7. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you HAVE to get work done.
  8. Practice NOT answering your phone/texts and replying to e-mails.
  9. Block out other distractions like social media.
  10. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done.

Within a month, I was not able to perfect all ten, but I am still currently working on it, but out of all ten, I’ve manage to incorporate 2,4,8, and 9 into my daily schedule to better manage my time.

To jumpstart, I’ll be talking about 2 and 4 while saving 8 and 9 for later. Before I ran across the video, I had never assigned time to anything that was important to me. I mean, I would have small time blocks set off for things I needed to do, but nothing fancy like assigning time to important matters. You see, there’s a difference between “assigning time” and “setting time blocks”. The difference is that when you assign time, you are more inclined to get things done and be more productive, but when you set “time blocks” you are only setting free time with yourself which can lead to many distractions during this time. This correlates to number 4 because you always have to be prepared to have interruptions (or distractions) throughout your day. Though you may have time assigned to certain tasks or conversations, you’ll for sure have things that will distract or interrupt you during the process. Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve applied these two concepts to my daily schedules and it’s been quite effective. By having time assigned to important tasks and duties and preparing for interruptions, I’ve been able to really prioritize what I need to do and keep me in check. For example, lately I’ve been thinking about what to do after graduation, and so by assigning 30 minutes – 1 hour to talk to my advisors and faculty, it’s really help me have a general idea what I might want to do upon finishing my degree. In addition, as an executive board member for Asian Pacific American Association, I’ve had to assign office hours for myself to get things done for the organization.

The biggest distraction that all of us students have is checking our social media and emails. At first, it was quite difficult to not check and reply to my emails and texts. The urge to reply instantly is a common thing for our generation. In order to rid this urge, I closed all extraneous tabs that I didn’t need so that I could fully focus on my work. Another thing I did was to silence my phone. The notifications I receive for Facebook, Snapchat, and text messages was a huge distraction and would always stray me away from my work. So by doing this, it really helped me block out all forms of distractions and interruptions like email and social media.

Overall, I am still polishing my time management skills in order to effectively get my work done. For me, there is never enough time to accomplish everything in a course of a day and I’m sure it’s the same for everyone as well. Through time, I’ll continue to work on these time management techniques to eventually master the art of time managing, but until then the art of procrastination still holds strong. Thanks for tuning in for this week’s blog post, folks. Be safe, fun, and carefree as you enjoy Spring Break! Stay gold folks!

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A Reality Check on Time Management

By: David

After watching this video, How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work , on entrepreneur.com it drastically changed how I perceive time management now. In the beginning of the video, it states the difference between “clock time” and “real time” which really opened my eyes to why certain gadgets and books never work. The biggest point made in the video is that real time is a mental thing and is definitely manageable because as it says in the video, “anything you create, you can manage”.

The video suggests 10 different techniques that doesn’t polish “clock” time management, but rather it focuses on sharpening our “real” time management. Here are the 10 techniques according to the video:

  1. Carry a schedule to record your thoughts, conversations, and activities
  2. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it.
  3. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities, and conversations that produce most of your results.
  4. Schedule time for interruptions.
  5. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day.
  6. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain.
  7. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you HAVE to get work done.
  8. Practice NOT answering your phone/texts and replying to e-mails.
  9. Block out other distractions like social media.
  10. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done.

Of course, even with this list of tips it’s impossible to implement every single tip within a single day. It’ll take time to actually master the art of time management, “real” time management at least. With such a busy schedule this semester, I’ve vowed to myself that I’d improve my time management skills and was fortunate to run into this article/video. I will get back to you readers on how effective these tips actually are. Stick around and I shall update you all in the near future. Have a great semester and stay gold folks!

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Deadlines in the Career World

By: Michael

Many of you reading this might still be finishing up classes or your degree and still have homework and assignments to submit. I had never experienced how critical deadlines can be in a corporate work environment until my internship. I started in January having somewhat of an understanding of what would be expected of me, but it wasn’t until this past weekend when I was wrapping up my returns for the March 17th corporate deadline that I realized how crucial it is to complete all of your work on time. I realized that working in a field such as public accounting, you are eventually expected to occasionally work 60+ hour weeks. My most important piece of advice to you all thus far is this: Take advantage of your school requirements as practice and as a challenge to yourself to be prepared to meet those expectations in whatever field you go into.

Deadlines

During school, I was just as prone as anyone to procrastinating, or submitting assignments at the last minute, but I have learned quickly just how stressful that can be in a work environment. Completing your work in an efficient and timely way and practicing now will save you lots of stress in the future. I know I might be preaching to the choir, but I’ve heard so many people I’ve interacted with during my time at school say things like “I have plenty of time” or “I’ll do it tomorrow, it’s not that important.” I’ve learned that starting your assignments as soon as you have all the information you need to begin them is the best way to go. I started thinking the other day about how this pans out in other careers. Take journalism for example. You have deadlines to meet that could prove to hurt the business if you don’t follow through as an employee, and as a student with that mentality, the ‘business’ that you’re affecting is yourself. I know it’s easier to comply with this idea when you’re working and getting paid, rather than paying for classes, but remember you’re investing in yourself and your personal and professional development.

According to an article on psychology.about.com there are 4 reasons why students procrastinate and struggle meeting their deadlines:

  1. Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks
  2. Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future
  3. Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete
  4. Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project

Perhaps knowing these common thought processes that go through the minds of many student, it will help you to be more proactive and better prepare you for the future.

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Success After Breakfast

By: Taylor

Last school year I wrote about what the most successful people do before breakfast. I had read a book by Laura Vanderkam that spoke thoroughly on the topic and found it to be quite inspiring. There are many keys in making your entire day productive that start bright and early. A quick revisit of my previous blog posts would remind you to exercise, review your schedule, and allot time for personal and professional growth. So what do these successful people do after breakfast?

Before or after breakfast, an important organization method is to create a “to-do” list. Making a clear list of things you need to do throughout the day will make it easy to prioritize the big items and the small ones. Instead of preoccupying your mind with these tasks, seeing them on paper will help you to think clearly.

Upon getting to work on time (due to your time well spent before dawn), there are a variety of things you can do to have a high-functioning day. By creating a morning routine at the office you will have a consistent method of being productive. For some of the most successful, they begin by touching base with their boss or employees. If the people around you at the office aren’t productive, you won’t be either. Making sure your goals are aligned and are all working toward the same initiatives could take you a long way. Other business leaders take time to themselves to catch up on emails and other messages. Setting aside time to do this is important. If you do this throughout the day like in between meetings, may interrupt your workflow and productivity. Also, Remember that if you start your day off right, it will be your most productive time. Use it to tackle big projects or to hold your most important meetings.

A study published in an American Psychological Association Journal, Emotion, stated that early birds feel healthier and happier than night owls. Begin each day at your best!

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Mastering Time Management

By: Ashley

Each and every one of us has had that moment where we have had to decide if we are going to study, sleep, or go out with friends. Of course then when you throw work and actually going to class in the mix it seems like there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything you want, am I right? Well I was reading a blog post that Lauren Kirkpatrick, whose posts are as helpful as they are hilarious, on youtern.com  about how time management can essentially be mastered, if done right. In just 5 steps Lauren makes time management seem easy but it does take commitment. The 5 steps listed in her blog post are:

  • Use a calendar
  • Make to do lists
  • Multi-task
  • Overestimate time
  • Plan time to relax

So I know that at least half of all college students use a calendar, and whether that be an electronic one like Google calendar or a planner bought at the school store. But honestly, how many of us actually remember to write in it? I see people with planners that they bought with the best intentions of filling and then when they open them and I see them, there is little to nothing except maybe a few birthdays written in them, and I will be the first to admit that I have done this in the past, especially my freshman year. I do however use one now, and in this day and age using Google calendar and syncing it to your iPhone or smartphone is easier than ever. Every UMD student has a Gmail account through the university which means you have access to your very own Google calendar, you can even color code things and set reminders, exciting right?

Now having a to do list is something that I have always found to be beneficial in getting things done. Having everything you need to do right in front of you can be just the motivation you need to get up and get stuff done. I’ll be the first to admit that I even add things that I have already done just so I can check things off. Lauren says to add things that are as basic as eating lunch, because checking things off makes you feel good, makes you feel productive, and it is those basic things that make multi-tasking easier. I mean if you can eat your PB & J and read your biology textbook at the same time why not kill two birds with one stone.

My favorite of Lauren’s 5 ways to manage time is the overestimating how long it takes to get something done, that way you aren’t interfering with the time you have allotted to other things and when you have extra time to spare to relax and maybe take a mental breather. Lastly, I love the idea of planning time to relax, because then you have to do it! If you are anything like me you can’t rest until you have gotten everything done and if relaxing is one of those things you have to check off you are more likely to it!

So with a little commitment and effort, you too can have it all, sleep, a social life, and the grades. I feel that all of these tips will 100% show results, you will be surprised by how some free time might just magically appear if you plan out what you need to do and then magically get it all done.

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Time Management During the Job Search

By: Abby

Sometimes a whole month can pass, and you’ll realize, “hmm I haven’t done much to help me get the job I’ll need in four months.” That can be quite stressful.

Well, that is what almost (pretty much) happened to me. I am here to share with you the tips that I have learned to keep myself on track from here forward.

Time mgmt

It is all about time management!

If you keep a time-specific calendar for all major things in a day, include time specifically for job search tasks. If you do not keep a time-specific calendar, it is probably time to start.

Keeping a calendar is a great way to keep your life on track, not be late, be productive and not forget about appointments, meetings, classes, work schedules, and even job searching.

I have always kept a calendar, but I have never put “to-do” tasks on it – until now. I have designated an hour most days of the week to specifically dedicate to my job search. This time can be used finding new people to connect with at some of my target companies; it could be used to search databases and company websites for potential jobs, and applying for jobs.

On a side note: I have also added in times for working out, writing blog posts, and other “to-do” tasks.

If you don’t want to get to the end of April and wonder what you’ll be doing in a few weeks, start designating time to prepare. If you mark down those times now, it will be harder to put off, and potentially forget about.

Another side note: By no means do I mean to do this for all 7 days in a week. If you can, try to keep one or two days unplanned! Too much structure can cause stress as well.

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Don’t Get Overwhelmed

By: Ashlee

Some days I absolutely hate looking at my Google calendar. Like today? I have a packed schedule. Four different event emails to draft, a new invitation to design, and a small brainstorming session for preliminary story ideas for our upcoming newsletter. Oh, and there’s a stack of at least 15 different magazines sitting on my desk waiting for me to page through in search of ideas and new thoughts in regards to my office’s bi-yearly magazine. That’s just the professional side of the day.

Once I leave the office, I’m headed home to pack a duffel bag or two and hitting the road for my sis’s wedding (Yay!). Once I complete the three-hour drive, there’s a card box to finish, a video to edit, and a speech to write. More than likely, a handful of this magazine stack will come home with me for when I have an hour or two of “free time.”  I was approached by a member of the senior theatre class to help them with their senior showcase and offer my thoughts and opinions. Master degree programs…I’m starting to look and I have a few packets to go through. Did I mention I only slept three hours last night?

I have a chronic problem. I don’t know how or when to say no.

In college, you are up to your eyebrows in classes, extracurricular activities, volunteering, internships, jobs, homework, family, friends, hobbies…With all this going on 24/7, how do we ever get it all done? It does all get done, but is it to the best of our abilities? Having that crazy busy schedule put a lot of stress on me when I was an undergrad. If I were to do something, I wasn’t going to go the sub-par route. The end result had to be fantastic and something I was proud of in the end. Juggling all those balls definitely didn’t make life easier.

So, how do you attempt to cope with such a large load on your plate?

Developing strong time management skills will save you down the road from being haunted by your long to-do list. When I start to feel overwhelmed by my original daily to-do list and the tag-on additions that pop up along the way, I push myself away from my computer and take 10-15 minutes to look over everything. Then, I prioritize what needs to be done now. It certainly helps me breathe a little easier for the rest of the work day.

Make sure to keep the big things your main priority. You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and resources to be here in college or at your internship/job, so be sure to make the most of it. Stop by that professor’s office and ask about their research that interests you. Attend the seminar on Hollywood films in the ‘70s. Learn all you can while you’re here. Me? I attend monthly social media breakfasts to expand my knowledge and meet professionals also in charge of social media for their companies. I’ve also signed up for fitness classes offered to employees. (See? It doesn’t have to be serious all the time!)

In the end, you have to keep you happy and healthy. Trying to “do it all” can take a toll on your mind and your body. Remember when I only got three hours of sleep? Not something I want to be doing consistently. The reality is if you’re stressed out and tired, you’re not giving the things you are doing your full attention. It’s okay to allow yourself a break. In fact, schedule one into your day, every day. After some time, if that light at the end of the tunnel still isn’t drawing closer, it might be time to scale back. Is what you’re taking on worth it to you? If you answered no, it’s time to drop it and let yourself have a little breathing room.

Even after college, I struggle with saying no to things, so it’s something to be worked on long-term. Someone really should develop a class called ‘How to be Wonder Woman 101.’

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Photo Source (brianna.lehman)