Monday, January 20, 2014

Press Pause

Hey, there!

I have to be honest. Today I feel like I should be the last person talking about organization and time management. My past week has been CRAZY, with a 'y'. Classes are back up and running and exams are just around the corner (seriously, I have my first one tomorrow). Add a few unfinished projects to the mix and it's the perfect recipe for failure.

That's why I've found that time management is vital in order for me to survive this month. If you've stopped by Life in Sam's Box before, you'll know how much I believe in organizing your time efficiently. After reading previous posts I've written, I've realized I may have missed a few important details so with the start of 2014 and with it being the first month of the year, I thought time management would be a good place to start if you're looking to get organized. If you can't organize yourself, you're probably going to have a hard time organizing your stuff.

First off, PRIORITIZE. Determine what's most important. You can try this exercise: write a list of all the things you have to do today. Now ask yourself this question "if I could only accomplish 3 things today, what would they be?". Move those tasks to the top of the list. You can do this for other tasks you need to accomplish long-term (not today or this week).

For example:


This would be a typical daily to do list for me. Grant papers and giving back the library book are two tasks that have a deadline. I always try to complete tasks like these in advance but it's not always possible. For me, these two tasks would be the most important. Out of the other three, say my fridge is empty and I don't need any of the clothes in the hamper. Plus calling my mum is a weekly thing, not an obligation. Therefore, I chose "Shopping" as most important. 

Next, you'll need to assign a period of time for each task. In this case: 

  • Wash whites - 1,5 hours
  • Shopping - 1 hour 
  • Call Mum - 1 hour (we do talk a lot!)
  • Give back library book - 30 min (walk to the library and back)
  • Send grant papers - 15min (walk to the post box and back)
Finally, ask youself: must I be present for the whole task? Can I complete any of the tasks just by slightly tweaking my routine? Can I do two tasks at once? 
- When doing laundry you don't have to sit in front of the washer and wait for it to finish. Put the clothes in the machine, press start and then move on to something else in the meanwhile. 
- Never underestimate the power of multitasking. Make the most of your telephone calls. Fix that ripped pair of jeans or fold some laundry while speaking to your loved ones. If you have a hard time holding the phone and doing something else at the same time, try finding a phone with a loud speaker. 
- Is the library on your way to work? Leave the house a 10 minutes earlier to give back books before going to work or school. Is the grocery store closer to work than to home? Pick groceries up on the way back to save time. 

It's handy to have an agenda to jot down when you expect to complete these tasks (7am-get up, 8am-library, 8.30am-classes, 4pm-grocery store, 5pm- wash whites, 5.15pm- call mum, 6.30pm- hang laundry...).

If you're like me and you know it's possible for unexpected classes, lab practice or a phone call from a friend to pop up throught the day and mess with your schedule, try to plan as much as you can in advance. DON'T LEAVE IT TO THE LAST MINUTE. 

All these tips are important but if there's one I believe in the most it has to be BREAKS. Take a break. Press pause. You're not superwoman (or superman). If you can't accomplish everything in one day, don't stress about it. There's plenty of time to get everything done. If you overload yourself with too much to do and find you can't finish it all, you'll probably be less motivated to continue. Start small and grow from there. 

How's your January going? Busy or calm? Did you find these tips useful? Please leave a comment below!!




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