I think one of the most popular (and probably worst) statements many of us have said at some point is “I wish I had more time!”
It is a never ending struggle that seems to follow us through out every point in our lives. Even now where my days are a bit more structured, post graduate school, it is still a struggle for me but doable. However, life is not as predictable in graduate school. Assignments arise, experiments go wary, classes are overwhelming, the list goes on. So how does one do it in graduate school? How does one “master” making more time? After all, time cannot be created….but it can be managed. Here are just two simple ideas that give the illusion of “making more time”.
First order of business (and my bad habit at times), procrastination needs to be left by the way side.
Just like bad habits are hard to break, procrastination is hard to overcome. It is easy to put things off by a few minutes or a couple of hours. I have been guilty of the “I will start in 30 minutes.” There is so much lost time when that approach is taken. Just think about how many times you procrastinate a day. If that time was added up, it may be several minutes or even hours.
Make Post-Its your new favorite thing.
I have no idea how I would have made it without these seemingly unimportant pieces of paper. In graduate school, you need to write everything down and lay it out in your line of sight. It helps to have a list of daily tasks that you split up into three categories:
- Priority – These must get done.
- Minimum Value – The minimum number of additional tasks you will complete.
- It Would Be Nice – The group of tasks that would be great to get to but if you don’t, progress has not been lost because of it.
This may seem like overkill when it comes to executing your day, but when you have a visual list that you can pull from and discard on completion, you will be surprised by how much more efficient you become. Efficiency leads to more time 🙂
24 hours in a day means so much can be accomplished right? Wrong! You cannot expect to truly make more time if you are committed to different activities and tasks that are going to leave you with no time. When commitments suffer, it means that there may be too many extra activities and you may need to remove from your plate. Again, look at your task list. If the stack is not feasible then that means it is not just about time, it is about the number of things you do.
So how does one make more time? By doing what you are supposed to do when you say you are going to do it, and sticking to your task list.
What are other ideas have you tried?