Time Management

I’ve got to admit: this week is probably going to be the worst of the semester, maybe even the entire school year. There’s so much I have to do, but I’m still finding time to write my blog. I have a couple goals with the post today. I want to explain what all I have going on, and I want to give some tips on time management and how to cope with busyness.

So first things first: What I have going on. You may remember from last semester, my Honors class did a historical role-playing activity for a good portion of the semester. Well, since it’s a sequence with the same professor, we’re doing one again this semester. Last semester’s was about science and religion (specifically, The Trial of Galileo). This year’s is about Art in Paris in 1889, when the Universal Exposition was held there and the Eiffel Tower was built/revealed for the occasion. So it’s kind of a big deal. Thankfully, there aren’t too many things that haven’t been invented yet that we have to avoid (last semester, we couldn’t mention gravity among other things). Also, last semester, I had a very passive role. This year, my professor not only gave me an active role, but he made me the President of the Academy. Now, the Academy is a body of artists who determine what is “art” and what is not. This is like the complete opposite of my role from last year. I was the first person to speak, I presided over a couple sessions, deciding who would speak when and moderating discussion, and I had to step up and defend the Academy on multiple occasions. (Just so you’re all aware, this is when the Impressionist movement began to take off, so some of the artists in the room are Van Gogh, Monet, Seurat, Renoir, and John Singer Sargent, among others.) Anyway, that is wrapping up this week, so as President, I have to plan the exposition, so I’m emailing people frequently and I feel like I’m constantly having discussions on our Academy member GroupMe. So that is wrapping up this week.

It’s also midterm week. I have two midterms as well, one of which I REALLY need to do well on. They were both originally supposed to be on Tuesday, but one got moved to Thursday, which is sort of nice. But, on Tuesday, I have another exam that I need to do even better on than the other class with the midterm. My Tuesday goes like this: 1st class- exam, 2nd class- normal (but midterm on Thursday), 3rd class- midterm. Oh and I’m also in the process of testing out of COMM 210, which is a basic public communications course that all students have to take. I passed the written portion of the test, and I have to give a persuasive speech on Tuesday as well. I have another potential exam opening sometime this week, so I may have 4 exams (5 if you count the speech) in one week.

Along with this, I also have a 5-page paper due on Sunday. Not to mention, I’m working 16 hours this week. Oh and did I mention it’s Homecoming? That means that work is going to be extra chaotic and busy and stressful. Campus is going to get a lot busier with people coming in and visiting.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I’m very overwhelmed this week. There is so much to do, but I’m managing. That being said, here are some tips I find helpful to help me stress less and manage my time a little more:

  • Prioritize- Pay attention to deadlines. For example, I’m not worrying about the 5-page paper until after my speech was written. The paper is not due until Sunday, and the speech is due on Tuesday.
  • Don’t procrastinate- along with the last tip, don’t wait until the night before to do a project. I’ve never had to pull an all-nighter or stay up until 3 A.M. to finish a project. I do need to give a slight confession though: I wrote the bulk of my outline Sunday night. However, it started getting late, so I decided to finish it Monday afternoon. I had all my ideas down, but I needed to flesh out a few ideas and points.
  • Take breaks- Have you ever heard the phrase “Work yourself to death.” Yeah. Don’t do that. Work hard, but make sure you take time to relax as well. I went on a field trip with History Club on Saturday, and I slept in late on Sunday. Yes, work is important, but as I talked about last week, mental health is too.
  • Reward yourself- One of my favorite rewards is sleep. If I’m working until about 11 midnight (which is usually the case, especially when I’m working 5-9), I tell myself that I just have to finish something before I’ll go to bed. It gives me the motivation I need to finish the task.
  • Take care of yourself- Some people stress eat; I stress starve. If I’m too stressed, I can’t eat. I keep food in my room and have to remind myself to eat, even if it’s just snacking, while I’m working. I also keep my water bottle on my desk and do my best to stay hydrated.
  • Move- I can’t sit still. Those who sit next to me in classes and stuff will tell you that I change positions about every 5-10 minutes. I don’t see this as a bad thing. Sometimes, I use that as a reward too. If I finish a big assignment, I’ll go down the hallway to fill up my water bottle, take out my trash, use the bathroom, or check my mailbox. That way, I get my blood flowing a little bit and am ready to go back at it.
  • Keep your space clean- I cannot work in a messy environment. Even now, my room, especially my desk, is somewhat messy, and I can’t really stand it. There have been times where I go to sit down to work, and all of a sudden, I’m cleaning my room because I can’t work. So this also doesn’t have to mean the literal sense of “clean”. Remove or minimize distractions so that you can get the best work done.
  • Find your noise- I cannot work in silence. I’m pretty much constantly listening to music. When I sit down to work on something, I’m usually either listening to upbeat 80s music (Journey, Michael Jackson, Queen, etc.), country music (not sad songs though), or Hans Zimmer movie scores. It encourages me to get work done faster because I usually end up typing to the beat. But I know people who have to work in silence. If that is the case for you, then get some good noise-cancelling headphones and go to work. Whatever your noise is, find it and work hard.
  • Pay attention to time- This one seems really obvious for “Time Management”, but I’m going to explain it anyway. Almost every week, I have an assignment due on Sunday. Most weeks I do it before then so I don’t have to worry about it. However, one week, I did not have time until Sunday afternoon. I thought this assignment was due at midnight, so I wasn’t worried about it until I looked at it. It was due at 5! I didn’t start it until about 1 P.M. I completed it on time, but it still really stressed me out. So carve out a chunk of time for yourself to do whatever task you have so that you don’t have to freak out about it like I did.
  • Overestimate, not underestimate- Along with the last point, if you’re estimating how much time it will take you, overestimate it. That way, you surprise yourself when you finish it early, and you convince yourself that you have more time than you actually do. Going back to my previous example, those weekly assignments usually take me about 2 hours. However, I try to do it when I can give myself about 2.5-3 hours that way I don’t feel rushed to finish it in a certain time. Even with this blog post, I gave myself longer time than I think I need that way I can be certain I get everything and I don’t feel so rushed.

Those are the tips I have for good time management. I hope they help (also, thanks to my roommate for giving me this idea).

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