Updated: Apr 3, 2020
Good time managers achieve more and experience less stress because they achieve a better balance between life and work. When you’re under lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus you’ll need some good strategies to manage your time. So I want to share with you some tried and tested tips for managing your time when you’re not in school. Get into the right time management habits now and you’ll achieve more and be more relaxed than those who don’t. When this crisis is over, and it will pass, you’ll be able to use the time that you have more effectively. First, please answer the following questions honestly:
Do you ever seem to run out of time to do all the things that you want to do?
Do you see other people achieving more with their lives than you do?
Do you think you might need to be better at managing your time now and in the future?
If you’ve said “Yes” to any of these questions you’ll need some tips on managing your time. So let’s start.
TIP 1: Eat that Frog
Brian Tracy wrote a great time management book with the title, Eat That Frog. The premise of this book is this.There are horrible boring things we have to do in life - these are referred to as ‘frogs’. For children this might include household chores such as tidying up or even doing your homework. Frogs are unpleasant to eat, so if, by law, you had to eat one every day Brain Tracy poses the question: When would be the best time to eat it? The answer is obvious. Eat that frog first thing in the morning. Get it eaten and out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of your day. Don’t be the kind of person who puts things off meaning that you’ll have seven frogs to eat by the end of the week! People who put things off are called, procrastinators. So what’s the lesson here? Don’t let things pile up such as schoolwork, homework, cleaning up. Don’t be a procrastinator. Ensure that you tackle your frogs as you go along and you won’t feel overwhelmed and fall behind.
The author says this: “Your ability to select your most important task at each moment, and then to get started on that task and to get it done both quickly and well, will probably have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill you can develop.”
It’s tempting to do things that are fun and easy all of the time such as being on your phone or playing computer games but doing too much of this will get you into bad habits. You must learn to manage some of the less fun, more boring stuff too as this is what builds your knowledge and your character.
There’s a summary of the book and some other time management ideas here:
TIP 2: Plan your time in advance
Each week we all have the same amount of time – 168 hours. In our awake time we need to schedule things otherwise we might forget to do them. This isn’t just about doing the urgent things, which are the things that need doing straight away. It’s also about doing the things that are not urgent but are important. This includes exercise, studying, socialising and helping your family or others in your community. At the time of writing none of us are really allowed to leave our homes that much but all of the things that have been suggested can be done in and around your home.
So what’s the best way to plan your time in advance? Answer: Make a schedule.
Here’s a great way of scheduling your time.
Most people sleep about eight hours a night. That leaves 16 awake each day or about 1,000 minutes. According to Tim Urban the creator of a website called waitbutwhy.com we can break these 1,000 minutes down into one hundred 10-minute blocks such as in the diagram below.
This is a really cool way to think about time and helps us to get more done while reducing anxiety at the same time. For example, if you get into the habit of allocating 2 blocks for reading before you go to sleep each night (which represents 20 minutes) this will mean that you will read 15 more books a year than you would have done otherwise! Imagine that. You can choose to allocate as many blocks as you want a day to anything you want achieve. This includes exercise, studying and those frogs we talked about earlier.
Try this exercise to see if you are managing your time well. Click on the grid within Tim Urban’s website and print one out or failing that use a ruler to draw one for yourself on a piece of paper.
Be honest and write down how you spent each of your blocks yesterday. Once you have finished consider whether your day had the right balance. Did you spend enough/any time for reading? Studying? Exercise? Did you spend too much time on your phone? Playing computer games? Watching Youtube clips ? If you don’t think you’ve not got the right balance plan tomorrow better. Choose and stick to the time when you’ll exercise, study etc. Allocate a few blocks to these things and you’ll find that you’ll enjoy your leisure activities even better because you’ll be keeping on top of the things that you know deep down that you have to do to ensure you do well at school and beyond.
TIP 3: Talk about Time
Ask parents and other adults you know how they manage their time. Especially ask those that seem to have what is known as a ‘good life-balance’. In other words, they manage the time spent on their work, families, socialising and hobbies really well. If you know someone like this ask them; “How do you manage your time?” They might use a diary, calendar or use other strategies that they will probably have on their smartphone. Ask them to show you and give you some tips or even better use a block or two of time to set up an appointment with them.
Finally, at the moment you might have more time with family members than you’re used to. Use this to have conversations about time. Today, yesterday, the future. Show them some of these ideas and perhaps the whole household can plan better together and apart.
· Learn to eat your frogs.
· Plan your time in time in advance and create a schedule.
· Talk to others about time and what tips they’ve learned.
A final thought about time. From Denis Waitley
Time is the most precious element of human existence. The successful person knows how to put energy into time and how to draw success from time.
This resource was created by Andy Griffith, director of Malit in the Community.