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How to improve your time management skills

The semester is winding down, and it’s time to reflect on your progress, successes and where you could improve. Maybe a few assignments slipped through the cracks and were a day or two late, or you’ve been skipping too much sleep in order to study, leaving yourself exhausted. We’re here to help get your time management skills back on track before the semester is over. Here are a few of our favorite methods.

Find your “why”

To get better at time management, you need to identify the issue you want to improve. Think about how you currently schedule your life. If you miss deadlines or constantly feel behind, let that be your driver. Remember that you have the same amount of hours in your day as Beyonce (or anyone you admire) — how you use them makes all the difference.

Think like a machine

Find a computer science major to help you with the finer points of this idea, but the basic concept is to start managing your tasks like a computer. A computer doesn’t use its time to classify tasks by importance or interest, it just starts steadily working. If you spend less time excessively organizing, you’ll have more time to devote to each task.

Computers are also great at managing interruptions. Your computer knows when you’re clicking a button fifty times, but it’s going to complete whatever it’s doing before getting to that click. Treat your interruptions the same way. If you’re getting a ton of texts or emails, wait until you’re done (or at least close to done) with a task before responding. Check out this video for more.

Toss your to-do list

Instead of working from an endless to-do list, try working straight off your calendar. This changes your mindset from task-based to time-based. A calendar forces you to see exactly how much time you have to accomplish something, and can create a stronger sense of urgency to complete things in advance.

By ditching your list you can visualize how doable your expectations are. The calendar view of your schedule will help you notice if you have a ton of projects due on Monday and other, less pressing plans all weekend. You’ll see when you need to cut your social schedule in favor of a due date.

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