How’s it going? Good. Crazy busy.
Sound familiar? Being busy is often seen as a badge of honor but that crazy-busy sensation can cause stress and anxiety, affect sleep and destroy work productivity. According to McGraw-Hill Education’s 2017 Workforce Readiness Survey, college students named time management as a major area of weakness and concern, both while in school and beyond.
Here are some tips you can share with your students as they start to head in to Thanksgiving break and finals to help set themselves up for success over the next few busy weeks.
1. Consider how you spend your time
Making a schedule and sticking to it is crucial. But it won’t help if that schedule doesn’t account for everything happening in your day. Start by keeping a log of everything you do for a few days. Then decide what needs to stay (things you must accomplish) and what can go. You cannot actually manage time, but you can manage tasks and events in your life.
2. Understand “urgent” v “important”
To-do lists should take both urgency and importance into account. Prioritize accordingly to feel more in control and insure the important stuff is the focus when you’re alert and focused.
3. Stop procrastinating
Try breaking tasks down into smaller, easy-to-accomplish chunks so they don’t become a major last- minute scramble. Close your door, turn off your WiFi and get rid of other distractions. Don’t try to multitask: switching back and forth between tasks actually makes it harder to complete either of them. And if all else fails, just get started. Even if that early work isn’t very good, inertia will make it easier to keep moving forward.
4. Take a break
Don’t feel guilty about needing some time off. Put regular breaks in your schedule and then actually take them. Exercise, meditate, kick back, make a smoothie, get outside --then come back to your work feeling refreshed.
5. Check in with yourself
Sometimes you need to stick it out and persevere. Sometimes what you’re doing isn’t working for you. Do you work better in a certain place? At a certain time? After a run? Figure out what helps you get stuff done and make that your new routine.