Learning how to make the most of your time is a key to success
Life is busy. Your schedule is probably packed with classes, studying, internships, work, household chores, family events, and responsibilities—maybe even more so now that it’s fall. Do you find yourself wondering why there aren't more hours in a day? Building on an idea from Tiffiney Isabelle, Registrar at the Salter School of Nursing, here’s a list of ways to increase productivity. These are useful whether you’re a student, working full-time, taking care of your family, or all of the above.
See if you can identify some that might work for you:
- Establish a routine. For starters, this might mean setting your alarm for the same time every (weekday or working) morning, and leaving yourself enough time to have breakfast before you jump in the shower and start your day. If you need 15 extra minutes to be sure you're not late for school or work, this is the place to find it. If your classes start at a different time each day, it’s still a good idea to get into the habit of consistency. Maybe you can use those extra morning minutes to review some notes for class or catch up on returning some emails. If you’re having trouble waking up earlier, then focus on going to bed earlier the night before. (If that’s also a challenge, get in some exercise during the day and you might find you’re sleepier earlier than usual.)
- Get organized. Make a to-do list, either electronically using a Word document or one of many mobile apps to choose from, or simply by keeping a pen and notebook handy. Then you can update your list over the course of the day, and get into the habit of checking it regularly, to see what you can cross off, what has become a priority, and what you might need help with.
- Cut down on the multitasking. Many people boast about how well they multitask; however, the current thinking is that it really doesn't work. People who try to multitask tend to make more mistakes and miss or forget important details—you aren’t really doing two things at once; you’re actually doing half of each task. Which means both will take twice as long. This includes texting while doing homework, or watching TV while you’re trying to write a paper. (Even talking on the phone while driving makes you a less conscientious and responsive driver.) Focus on one task, and when you’ve completed it, move on. This can be a big adjustment, but trust us—when you implement some of these suggestions, the quality of your work will improve, and you might even find extra minutes in your day. An added bonus is that your (especially older) friends and family will feel you’re more engaged in conversations with them when you’re not texting or mailing at the same time!
- Learn to say no. This is a tough one, but you can do it! As much as you want to volunteer for one more school committee or your library's fundraiser, or coach your child's soccer team, if you’re already on overload, adding one more thing can tip you into the danger zone. Politely saying no means you’re taking your existing commitments seriously. If a coworker or your boss gives some resistance, it can be useful to ask them if they’re willing to provide assistance with some of your existing workload. The point is: you’re not a bottomless pit of time and energy! And others will begin to take this more seriously when you do.
If the idea of incorporating these suggestions is overwhelming, don't feel you have to do them all at once! You can simply try one or two to see what works for you. Then you can gradually add others as you go. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling calmer and more empowered!
This post is part of the weekly blog of the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, NH. Visit us online to learn more, or reach out to schedule a campus tour!