Health Topics

Time Management

Time management is an important skill for all students to have. Between classes, assignments, extra curricular activities, and social life, it can sometimes feel hard to fit everything into one's schedule. Developing effective time management skills can help reduce stress and increase productivity in each area of life.

 

Scheduling

There are 168 hours in a week and if you sleep 8 hours a day and dedicate at least 40 hours week to school, then that leaves you with 112 hours a week to do something amazing with! Having a plan each week and a schedule can help maximize that extra time and allow you to do everything you want an need.

 

Weekly Planning Tips

  • Once a week, make three priority lists: career, relationships, and self.  Make 3-5 goals, with at least one in each priority list.

  • Ask yourself if an activity is it a good, better, or best activity?  And then ask if it is a need or a want.  Focus on the best activities and first on needs before wants.

  • When planning, if you think “I don’t have time for it” rephrase it to “it’s not a priority for me.”

Tasking

  • Batching Tasks:  Once your mind is centered on a specific task it is better to continue doing similar tasks than drastically switching tasks often.  When activities differ substantially from one another it takes mental energy and time to adjust which neural pathways are being utilized.

  • Stop Multitasking: When time is short and the to do list is long it may sound like a good idea to do everything at once, however the human brain isn't designed to effectively handle multiple activities at once. When we  multitask we believe we are simultaneously doing many things at once.What the brain is actually doing is quickly shifting between tasks, taking precious energy to adjust the neural pathways in use. Instead of multitasking try to complete one activity at a time.

  • Remove Distractions:  It is a good idea to reduce the amount of interruptions in our day.  Refocusing after answering a text takes and average of 10 minutes.Glancing at an email takes you out of focus for 10-15 minutes.Our phones are constantly beeping at us each time a text or email is received. Many of us have the habit of checking our phones when they make a noise.  Emails and phones are only two examples.Take a day or two to discover what your common distractions are and plan how to reduce them.

Listing

Listing is a great way to organize your tasks for the day.  Listing assigns priority to your to-do list, and when done correctly, improves your chances of success.  Lists should tell you what your most important priority is and lead you to accomplishing a goal.

Basics of Listing:

  1. Put your highest priority (Stretch Goal) at the top of the list!

  2. Break your priority down into 4 or 5 goals, or tasks.

The best to-do lists remind us what to do next, rather than make us feel good about checking off a box.  Your energy and excitement are maintained because it reminds us of our greater ambition and has brought us closer to attaining it.

 

Planning Down Time

Rest is necessary to keeping productivity up.  Continuous work, without breaks, uses up all the brain’s energy, leaving you mentally sluggish and foggy.

  • Take Smart Breaks:  Plan in breaks to rejuvenate your mind-power.  The Pomodoro technique has been proven to help increase productivity.  To use the Pomodoro technique, you perform a given activity for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break.  Repeat four times in a row and then take an extended long break, 10-15 minutes.

  • Schedule Breathing Room:  Schedule 5-10 minutes in between activities rather than back-to-back.  A short breather can save you from becoming overwhelmed and from being late.

  • Plan Reflection Time:  Analyze what worked, what didn’t work, what you enjoyed, and what you disliked during the day.  This can help you plan better in the future.

 

For more information please email healthed@smu.edu