The most vital time management tool is a personal schedule. You need to be able to plan out your tasks so that you know when they will be completed. If you don’t use a schedule you will feel that you’re always forgetting something, and it’s pretty hard to relax when you’re constantly thinking of everything you need to do. If you schedule allocated slots of time of each of your tasks, you won’t be worried about forgetting anything and you know you’ll have time to get all of your tasks completed! Personally, I love to use an excel spreadsheet to organize my days. I have each cell to represent 15 minutes, that way shorter activities like driving can be accounted for. In the past, I have tried to use a pencil and paper schedule to plan. This failed miserably as my plans were constantly changing and my schedule looked like a mess. Using excel, I can constantly change my plans, add or reduce time from different tasks and I do it all from my phone!
One effective way to determine time allocation for your tasks is using a ranking system. This ranking system will show you which tasks are more important than others and where you should allocate your time. The ranking system is based on importance and time sensitivity. Let’s use an example.
Task 1 = complete class assignment (worth 10%) due in three days
Task 2 = Study for class exam (worth 30%) due in two days
Task 3 = Work on project (worth 15%) due in three days
Task 4 = apply for scholarship ($500) due tomorrow
Using this example you must determine what task has the greatest impact on your future and which is the most time sensitive. The scholarship is the most time sensitive and the class exam has the greatest effect on your final grade as it’s weighted at 30% of your class mark. Now we will score each task on time sensitivity, the lower the number the more time sensitive. Task 1 = 3 , Task 2 = 2 , Task 3 = 3 , Task 4 = 1 . Since Task 4 is due the soonest, it is given a 1. Task 1 and 3 are both awarded 3 as they are both due on the same day. Now we will score each task on impact to your future. Task 1 = 3 , Task 2 = 1 , Task 3 = 2 , Task 4 = 4 . Task 2 has the largest impact as it’s worth 30% of your grade. Now adding both scores we get: Task 1 = 6 , Task 2 = 3 , Task 3 = 5 , Task 4 = 5. The lower the score, the higher the priority to complete the task. Now from a planning standpoint, you should schedule to work on Task 2 first and Task 1 last.
Keep in mind that this was just an example. A scholarship might have a greater impact to you than an exam. By using the reasoning behind the priority planning, you will become more effective with your time.
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