Date posted: 17/02/2017

Are your time management skills up to speed?

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It's difficult balancing school or uni, friends, family, time out and study. But with a few simple tips, you can learn to manage your time better - and find those extra hours in the day.

Life just gets busier and busier, with more and more distractions. As we get busier, we all need to manage the time we've got more effectively. So, here are six top tips for getting more out of your day and being more effective at what you do:

Create a list

At the start of every day, make a list of everything you have to do. Prioritise the list: either way, it's a great feeling to have a specific list and see what you've been able to cross off during the day.

Measure time

Try writing down everything you do for a week, and see how much time activities are taking. Even if that activity is 'doing nothing' you'll be able to see where time is being used wisely, or not. Once you've done that, divide your day up into half-hour blocks. Allocate specific amounts of 'blocks' to each task, and stick to it. You'll find having one task to complete in say, two blocks will help you focus.

Stop multitasking

We all seem to think that doing more than one thing at once is good. It's not. It means you may well be doing several things badly instead of one thing well.

Different locations for different activities

Change the environment to suit different activities. For example, if your bedroom has a TV, computer and games, it'll be hard for that to switch to a serious environment when you have to study. Perhaps the library becomes your 'work' place, keeping home and your room for relaxing. Perhaps your bedroom becomes the work space, and the living room the place you can relax.

Use the downtime

If you look at a typical week, you're sure to find some downtime - time where you're waiting around or travelling, for example. Use that time to cover one of the tasks on your list, like reading a reference book. A half hour on a bus can achieve a lot.

Include some 'me' time

You'll work or study better if you include some time just for you, to do what you enjoy doing. Allocate that as though it were a serious task - it deserves to be treated seriously, if you're going to be able to get a better balance in your life. It can't be all work and no play.