Becoming an adult: time management


Ashley Tanner

Becoming an Adult is a featured series that will help prepare you for college or independence. It will cover a variety of topics that your parents may have helped you with over the years, but soon may not.
Time management may be one of the hardest things to do, especially when there are so many distractions in our lives. Cell phones, social media, the internet and the people around us can create a distraction from things that we need to get done.
I am a procrastinator; there is no question about it. It’s not necessarily because I don’t want to do the work, but I get easily distracted or forget about tasks I am supposed to do. This post is full of tips I have used to help keep myself on track.[vc_tta_tabs][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-list-ol” title=”Make a list” tab_id=”1461549636088-1751831f-0021″ add_icon=”true”]Sometimes the answer to improve productivity is by creating a to-do list. It forces you to think about what you need to get done.
When I make lists, I tend to put everything I need to get done on it. I know myself well enough that if I don’t put “breathe” on my list, I may forget to do it. So don’t feel like putting simple things like “reply to an email” or “send John the group photo” because life happens and things get overlooked.
I prefer to write down the order of what I need to get them done in. Whether it is because some things are more important than others or because of timeliness. It helps paint a mental picture of what the day is going to look like.
There are many ways you can create a list, and depending on the kind of person you are, some will work better than others.
Most smartphones have a “memo” or “notes” app pre-downloaded. I own the Galaxy S6 and it has a list option so I can cross things off as I get tasks done. Other phones many not have this feature, which can make using a list on a busy day challenging. The upside to creating a list on your mobile device is you always have it with you.
There are also many apps available in both Google Play and iTunes. From there, you can try downloading various ones to find which one you like best.
If you prefer to go the traditional written route, there are still many options available.
Grabbing a piece of scrap paper, scribble down what you need to get done and cross them off as you go is a very easy method. That is a great and fast way of creating a list. The downside is, it may be harder to add things to your list if you run out of room or don’t have a writing utensil.
Another option is creating a list using templates, which is a great option if you want to have a little fun with it. There are thousands of free downloadable templates available. If you like using Pinterest, you can search for some there. You can also Google search for them, or I have found a website with many wonderful options.
You can also purchase a journal and write your to-do list in it. It will keep your list safe, but portability may be an issue.[/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-folder-open” title=”Create a work space” tab_id=”1461549636547-9301f2a7-adff” add_icon=”true”]Sometimes the easiest way to keep productivity up is to have a fun work space.
My desk is cluttered half the time, but when it is clean I am more inclined to use it. And when I do use it, I get so much more work done.Becoming an adult
The key to a great work space is to de-clutter it as much as you can.
So, get rid of the papers from last semester that are no longer useful to you. For the papers you may find you still need, put them in a stack to return to later.
Next, go through all of the extra miscellaneous items sitting on your desk. That may be knick knacks, decorations or random things that piled up over time. Make sure that they belong on your desk, or if something needs to be thrown out or placed elsewhere put it where it belongs.
Now that you have gone through the items on your desk, it would be a good time to clean it. Depending on the material of your desk, there are various cleaning items that will work best. If it is glass or plastic, using Windex would work well. If it is made of wood, real or faux wood, Pledge cleaning products will do the trick. After the desk has been cleaned, it is time to arrange the items in a way that is both attractive but leaves plenty of room for working.
This is entirely up to your taste. You may prefer to have an empty work space or fill it with pictures or other decorations. Your space should be both functional and fun. A space that is all your own and decorated with things you enjoy may help you to be more productive.
Also, if you often use a laptop or tablet for your work, having your desk near an outlet would be convenient for charging.[/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-scissors” title=”Stock up” tab_id=”1461550733213-24e93739-5acf” add_icon=”true”]After your desk is to your liking, it’s time to make sure you have all of the supplies for an efficient time studying.

  • Pens
    • You can get pens In all kinds of colors these days. This can help to distinguish notes from each other, plus they are just fun.
  • Highlighters
    • These can help make studying more convenient. Knowing where the most important things are in a large grouping of text can make studying so much more efficient.
  • Pencils
    • I prefer mechanical pencils because they don’t require a pencil sharpener, but whatever you prefer is fine.
  • Post-it notes
    • A little place to write down notes is perfect for creating reminders for yourself.
  • A planner
    • This is helpful when you need a place to write down important test dates or other reminders.
  • Calculator
    • Your phone may have one, but it is much easier to have an actual calculator.
  • Extra paper/notebook.
    • In case you run out of note-taking paper, having an extra stack is convenient.
  • Snack/water
    • Staying hydrated and energized will help you to remain focused.
  • Dividers
    • These are great for separating notes and homework from all of your classes to make it easier when looking for notes later.

You may already own some of these supplies, but it is always good to make sure. With finals and AP tests coming up, it is an especially bad time to run out of the essentials. Making sure that you have a designated location for your school supplies is also important. If they are scattered all over the place, it will make finding them harder and the risk of losing them more severe.[/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-plus-square” title=”Additional tips” tab_id=”1461550969453-9d9745fc-56bb” add_icon=”true”]

  • Schedule time to study/do homework as well as breaks. If you have an allotted amount of time to do each, you may be more motivated to get what you need done.
  • Breaks are important because you need to give your body a rest after cramming for often long periods of time. They shouldn’t be too long, otherwise you may lose the motivation to go back. But 15 to 20 minutes will give you enough time to grab a snack and take a breather. Go pet your dog (or other animals you may have) or check social media, just make sure you are taking a break.
  • Try and turn your phone on silent, or if you can, put it away. If your phone is going off all the time you will pay more attention to it than the work you need to get done. If you like listening to music while studying and you do it using your phone, silence the notifications so that it won’t distract you. It is also helpful to create a playlist of songs you are less likely to skip, which is another way to prevent you from checking your phone. This blog offers some basic playlist ideas and this post lists 20 specific songs. iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify and other music outlets also offer radio stations designed for studying.
  • Go through your school papers every few weeks. There will always be a few papers that you no longer need. If they are just taking up space in your bag, recycle them. This saves you the hassle of doing it later.
  • Have a study partner to bounce ideas off of and keep you on track with school work. The best person to help you would be someone taking similar classes and someone you know well enough to run to for help. Make sure you feel comfortable enough to be able to ask them dumb questions with non judgmental answers.
  • Good luck finishing the year out. These tips will help you in both high school and college to get your head back in the game.
[/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][vc_empty_space]Do you have any time management tips not listed? Leave your questions and comments below.