Updated: May 16
Do you always feel strapped for time? Does your day seem to pass you by? If so, it’s likely that you need to work on your time management to help you take control of your day. Check out the following great guidelines from the NHS to help you tackle this.
Whether you feel overwhelmed by the amount you need to study, or you’re unsure of how much time to allocate to different subjects, good time management will help you feel focused and relaxed.
Emma Donaldson-Feilder, a chartered occupational psychologist, has listed these top tips for better time management.
Work out your goals
"Work out who you want to be, your priorities in life, and what you want to achieve in your career or personal life," says Emma. "That is then the guiding principle for how you spend your time and how you manage it."
Once you have worked out the big picture, you can then work out some short-term and medium-term goals. "Knowing your goals will help you plan better and focus on the things that will help you achieve those goals.”
(See Educo London’s previous blog post on SMART goals)
Make a list
To-do lists are a good way to stay organised.
Emma prefers to keep a single to-do list, to avoid losing track of multiple lists. "Keeping a list will help you work out your priorities and timings. It can help you put off the non-urgent tasks."
Make sure you keep your list somewhere accessible. If you always have your phone, for example, keep it on your phone.
Focus on results
Good time management means doing high-quality work, not high quantity. Emma advises concentrating not on how busy you are, but on results.
"Spending more time on something doesn't necessarily achieve more." she says. Studying for an extra hour every day doesn’t necessarily mean you are using your time effectively.
“As a general rule, taking at least 30 minutes away from your desk will help you to be more effective," she says.
"Go for a walk outdoors or, better still, do some exercise," says Emma. "You'll come back to your desk re-energised, with a new set of eyes and renewed focus."
Planning your day with a midday break will also help you to break up your work into more manageable chunks.
Prioritise important tasks
Tasks can be grouped into 4 categories:
urgent and important
not urgent but important
urgent but not important
neither urgent nor important
People who manage their time well concentrate on "not urgent but important" activities. That way they lower the chances of activities ever becoming "urgent and important".
"The aim is to learn how to become better at reducing the number of urgent and important tasks. Having to deal with too many urgent tasks can be stressful," says Emma.