Lists, Productivity, and Effective Time Management

So I finally turned 21 last week, which allows me to now participate in all of the same activities I’ve been doing for years, legally. I’ll be honest — it was a real bender. I had a list of shit to do for school and work and the club. . . none of it got done. I’m really paying for that this week, staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning to get everything done. I’m sure you can relate.

With that being said, I want to discuss lists, productivity, and a little time management.

I’ve noticed, in school, work, and life in general, that people have the tendency to overthink, overestimate, or get overwhelmed by any list of tasks they make themselves, whether it be mental or on a piece of paper. Creating a mental checklist might help some people, but for me personally, it feels like there’s something constantly nagging me. Same with a paper list. These unorganized checklists make it harder for me to disconnect because what I have to still get done is sitting in my mind. I hate that feeling.

Now, don’t think that I hate lists. I love lists. I’m always using lists for everything. But, instead of writing a bunch of stuff down in any order that it comes to mind or is thrown at me, I organize it by blocks of time. I call it time segmentation. Time segmentation is the process of mapping out a day, filling in certain time slots with certain tasks that maximize your time. This has helped me tremendously. I’m able to get more done in certain time periods and throughout the day than I would have if I didn’t “block” tasks. Practicing this has also made me feel less overwhelmed, regardless of how many tasks there are to complete.

The next time you have multiple due dates or have multiple assignments, write it down. It’ll look like a mess but do not think about it. Next, look at the next few days in your schedule and see where you can accomplish what and for how long. This might seem like a task in itself, but it’ll help you focus more on the task that you’re working on in that “block” by knowing you have made another “block” for another task later that day.

Managing your time effectively requires discipline. If you constantly overwhelm yourself, you’ll have no choice to become better at managing time. It will turn into a sink or swim situation. “Blocking” your day will only help your brain be organized and you won’t be constantly worried about all there is to do.

This system is not perfect. Thing’s come up and life happens. It’s just a useful suggestion that has helped me better manage my time and I highly recommend you try it for at least a week.

To sum up, planning how you spend your days not only helps you become more organized, but more efficient as a result. Not turning 21 helps too.

 

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