I'm sure you’ve heard this before, but everyone has the same 24-Hours in a day! Yet, it seems the days go by so swiftly and you might sometimes find yourself saying “whooo, the time flies.” Before you know it, you're moving tasks for today to tomorrow. Trust me when I say you're not the only one. So here are a few tips to get as good a grasp as possible on your time and make the most of the 24 hours in your day.
First, Check your mindset every morning. Why? Because Mindset is a daily thing. Why do you think so many people use quotes or self-help books? Each person has their own reasons, but I guarantee you that one reason is to remind them about their purpose and that the journey to success is not an easy one. Daily reminders that you’re worth it or that keep your mind on your larger goal, despite set-backs, will help you to stay on track. When you have a positive mindset, you’re more likely to have a productive day, and thus more likely to accomplish more. So, start they day with something that places you in the right mindset. That could be motivational quote, meditation, prayer, music, etc., but find something that works for you.
Second, Use a planner/Plan your day. While you won’t be able to account for everything that happens in your day, you can have an idea of major events for the day. Whether you use a paper planner or electronic planner, get your major meetings, and other appointments for the week written down somewhere. This helps you to know where your time is going so that you’re less likely to look up and say "where did the time go.” Start with major events that can’t be shifted such as work and other meetings. Then make a list of smaller items you want to get done such an grocery shopping or exercise. You can plug the smaller or flexible items in the time slots between your major or less flexible items. Using a planner, You’ll also be able to visually see where your time is going and can make adjustments as necessary. For example, let’s say I have my items written down for the week, and I have discovered four (4) free hours outside of work, family time, and community work. Now someone comes to me to ask can I assist with an event this week. Depending on how much time I would spend planning for and attending the event, I can be specific with the person who asked about whether or not I can assist and in what capacity. So let's say the event is 3 hours and my prep for the event is 1 hours. If i'm up to it, I can go and have the available time according to my calendar. Now, let's say the event is 4 hours and the prep for the event would be 3 hours. I would either need to say I am unable to assist or see if i can assist in a different capacity that will meet by need as well. This takes us to planning with boundaries.
Planning your day also consists of setting boundaries with others. Don't be afraid to take care of your physical and mental as you are busy giving to others. It’s one thing when emergencies arise; however, take note of people who often come to you last minute for things they could’ve clearly asked for in a timely manner. For example, I had a student ask me for a recommendation letter the day before it was due. In respect of my own time, I let the student know that I had about 30-minutes to dedicate to writing a somewhat decent letter. I wasn’t going to rearrange my day for failure to plan on their end. It usually takes me at least 2-Hours to write a decent recommendation letter because I like to strategically think about the strengths of the student in relation to the advertised position or program. In other words “lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my end.” Again, emergencies are an exception. However, this student knew about this deadline well in advance, so it would have been unfair to me to move things around on my calendar to accommodate someone who failed to plan. If you don't currently set boundaries with your time, I encourage you to try it.
Finally, when planning your day, take work with you when possible. For example, if you know you’ll be waiting on someone for a while or traveling, take a book with you that’ll help you take some time off that assignment this week. I just did that this week as I was traveling with my sister. She drove so I could type my blog as we traveled to see friends. So, instead of trying to add an hour in the day to write, I did it while traveling. If you're planning your day and see that you will have an hour or so between events, be strategic about what you do with that time. You will be amazed at what you can get accomplish.
Three, set a night and morning routine. With a proper morning routine, you are starting the day with time for yourself, relaxing, clearing your head, and preparing yourself to conquer the world that day. You could start the morning with meditation/prayer, and coffee/tea or your favorite drink, and just reflect on your tasks for the day. Your night routine should allow you to reflect on the day and help you get organized and ready for the next day. For example, during your night routine, you can pick out clothes for the next day, put your hair in rollers or whatever you need to do to have a smooth morning the next day. A smooth morning can equal a great start to your day. So, think about how you can set a night and morning routine that will start and end your day on track.
Finally, utilize people (family and friends). In life we are not meant to work alone. We were placed here to help one another. So if you’re planning for your day and you just can’t find the time in 24-hours, use your circle to help. Don't be afraid to ask that friend if they can grab a few things for you if they're already going to the store, or to ask that family member to help you with study skills to improve your grades. Use your resources and the people who care about you to help you toward success.