It took me until my mid-20s to really understand how to plan my time effectively, from micro-managing my days to haphazardly noting future events on a yearly calendar. Having been through the stress and anxiety of trying to plan properly, I thought I’d share with you the habits and tools that have helped me enormously!
What this post covers:
Why Plan Your Week?
Do you struggle to balance work and social? Are you trying to find time for a hobby? Maybe planning will help you organize your time more efficiently and help you balance the important things in life. It is especially important now that more of us are working from home, to find the balance between working and spending that quality “me” time.
A weekly plan can allow you to gauge how much you can get done in the amount of time you have, think of it as a budget but instead of saving money, you are saving something arguably more precious; time.
Side effects of planning your time can include:
– Developing a sense of accomplishment
– Good habitual routines
– Confidence in time management
What are you waiting for?
Know Your Goals
It may seem a bit daunting to note down goals. Without end goals, it is hard to prioritize what is important. With no priorities in mind, everything happens all at once, and that can be a little overwhelming.
Tips for Goal Setting:
- Set a maximum of 3 Top Goals for both Work and Personal life
- Break the goals down into smaller tasks
- See how these tasks can intergrate into your routine
Placing routine tasks in the planner first gives you a sense of what you already achieved in a week and how it balances out other tasks. It also keeps a track of your habits and helps to create new habits.
This can be anything from cleaning, chores, sports practice, book club; anything that is a regular occurrence!
Personally, I was terrible at staying on schedule for taking out the rubbish/garbage as I never remembered when the outside bins were emptied. With a little note in my weekly planner, it soon became a routine, with fewer smelly bins!
Plan Your You Time
Every now and then it is good to remind yourself that you are the main character in your life. Block out time in the week for you, whether it is getting round to having a luxury bath, finishing that book that’s been half-read for months, or even watching a movie.
Keep to your you time slots, people can plan around your you time!
If checklists are not your thing, I respect that. I was never a to-do list, checklist person and honestly never saw their relevance. This was until my third year at university, all the modules I took were essay and coursework-based, meaning no exam stress but the amount of work throughout the academic terms doubled. After two years of working and studying in the “in the now” style, I was admittedly, struggling. This in term took a toll on my mental health. My anxiety was the worst it’s been and I needed to order the ever-growing overwhelming chaos. Enter the simple to-do list.
By no means are checklists a cure-all solution, but for me, it changed academic chaos from barely passing papers to high grades and tranquillity. Well as much tranquility a student heavily involved in sports as well as academics can have!
Where to start? Any scrap of paper has the potential to add order to your life. However, if you are looking to create a habit of lists, look to invest in a notebook or bullet journal, or if you are tech-savvy you can use a spreadsheet. The pros of having a designated area for your lists are of course reinforcing a habit and also tracking your progress.
Don’t Over Plan!
The last thing I am going to reiterate is overplanning. Having too many tasks on your list can add to the ominous feeling of being overwhelmed. Make sure the amount that you want to complete in a certain time period is attainable. It does take a few days or even weeks to manage time effectively, but perseverance and having fun are key!