Your weekly goals list will be another invaluable time management tool, and the great thing about it is that it does not take long to fill out. Your weekly goals list will play a key role in putting together your plan of attack when it comes to doing well in high school and college. You will use it in conjunction with your class completion planner and your daily planner; it will serve as the link between these two items. You will use your class completion planner to build your weekly goals list, and once you have completed it, you will then be able to flesh out your daily planner with clear goals for each class in mind.
Basically, your weekly goals list will be a compilation of all your class completion planners, but organized all into one convenient space. This way you can turn to one computer file or paper planner and see at once everything you need to complete for the week. In addition, you will include any other weekly goals you have set for yourself in any area of your life. If, for instance, you want to run an hour a day by the end of the semester, starting by running 15 minutes a day and then work up to an hour; you can plan your progress and put it in your weekly planner. Any scheduled events you want to attend, such as football games, school clubs, special speakers, or debates, should also go in here. Everything you are aware of that you need to accomplish by the end of the semester should go into your weekly goals list. Of course, situations can change and new goals and responsibilities can arise, so from time to time you may need to revise your weekly goals list.
Once you have gotten all your information together, you will then move on to filling out your daily planner for the entire semester. This may sound daunting-and it would be if you tried to do it without this middle step, flipping back and forth between all your class completion planners and any other goal outlines you have. But by compiling and organizing it all together in this form, it will not take nearly as long as you think. The final step is to review your weekly goals planner at the end of each week and check off each one you have accomplished, noting any weak areas that might need improvement.
Vary Your Approach to Tackling Your To-Do List
Your daily to-do list is a fundamental part of your time management strategy. If you tackle it faithfully each day, you will stay on top of your many tasks and responsibilities, and you will be well on your way to achieving academic success. How to go about approaching the different tasks on your to-do list is a matter of personal style, but many people find that it helps to vary their approach, depending on the situation. Of course, if you tackle your daily list the exact same way every day and it is working for you, there is no need to change anything. For many students, though, it is probably a better idea to avoid setting any rigid rules so that things can be changed depending on the situation.
Of course, there will be many days when you will have one or two really important and urgent tasks, whether school related or otherwise, and they will have to be taken care of first, with no further debate. Most days, however, will offer more flexibility. You will not have anything that is really urgent and pressing, but at the same time you will have a long list of tasks for the day. In this situation, is there a single best way to go about completing your tasks? Should you start with the one that will take the longest and knock it out? Or should you start with the one that is the most unappealing and get it out of the way? How about tackling the easy, small tasks first, to give yourself time to focus on the big stuff later?
Actually, all of these approaches are fine, but you will need to experiment in order to find the approach that is right for you. Furthermore, once you do come up with a preferred style, you will probably find yourself in a rut from time to time, dreading tackling your to-do list. That is why it is good to change things up every now and then. Some people have an iron clad rule that they go right to work on the biggest item on their to-do list, and they stick with that thing until they are finished. For others, though, such rigidity would be stifling. There is no one rule that is right for everyone. There are a number of different approaches, and you should pick the one that is most comfortable for you. On days when deadlines force a change, you can adapt, and every now and then change things up just for variety’s sake. Never let boredom or a dull routine cause you to neglect or put off your daily to-do list.
Whenever Possible, Combine Two Activities
In another time management tip, we strongly recommended that when you are working on something that requires concentration, you engage in only one activity at a time. That is because trying to do two things at once, such as memorize chemistry terms while listening to the radio, does not work. However, there are many times when it is not only fine to do things at once, but also very productive. Typically, these will be situations in which your body is physically engaged in one activity, while your mind focuses on an intellectual task. By doing two things at once, you can free up more time to study, relax, socialize, etc. There are more opportunities for this during the week than you realize, and once you pick up the habit you will start noticing more and more ways to combine activities.
Want to indulge yourself with a little guilty pleasure like watching your favorite sitcom but cannot justify wasting a half hour? Turn on the TV while you tackle such chores as cleaning your house, doing the dishes, organizing your desk. Do you need to go the doctor’s office for a checkup or to the DMV to renew your driver’s license? Odds are you are going to spend a lot of time waiting, but there is no need to let that time go to waste. Take a book or some flashcards with you, or your laptop if it is convenient, and use the time you spend waiting for study, review, or memorization. These days, more and more professors make their lectures and additional materials available as mp3 files. You can load these materials onto your mp3 player and keep up with your schoolwork while you are on the treadmill or doing circuits as the health club.
Being part of a study group also fits in here, as you are going to be doing some socializing while you study. It is a great way to form or deepen friendships, while also keeping up with your studies. Find some classmates who are as driven as you are toward academic success, and go to lunch with them. You can quiz each other on topics and also have a good time. Is this going to be the “killer app” of your time management plan? No, but every little bit helps, and this technique definitely has its place. It is easy and effective, and you should implement it as often as possible. When it comes to time management, these little efficiencies add up fast.