Check it Off!

Time management tips and tricks to reach your goal

People are consumed and busy with so many things, from kids, work, and personal responsibilities to military life, school, and more. It is honestly hard to juggle it all. As student success coaches, we talk to students daily about how to manage their time effectively to complete their degrees. We know they are more than just students; they are people with busy lives, too.

One of the questions we ask students is, “How do you manage your time?” Sometimes the answer we hear — after a chuckle — is, “I just do it.” We wish it was as simple as that. Time management is key to achieving any goal, whether it be earning your degree or meeting a professional goal at work. You might have a system in place to manage your time. If that’s you, great! Read on to enhance what you are already doing. On the flip side, if you get to the end of your day or week and feel like you haven’t accomplished much, read on to learn some tips and tricks on how to manage your time better.

  1. PRIORITIZE: There can be a lot of items to check off your list. Ask yourself these questions: Are they worthy to make the cut on my to-do list? Am I checking things off my list for the sake of checking things off a list? Am I completing tasks that will help me reach my end goal? Am I being effective with my time? What is the urgency? Once you answer these questions, you will have a clearer picture of what your priorities are and can adjust your to-do list accordingly.
  2. SET GOALS: Your goal may be to complete your degree, get a new job or even purchase a home. How do you make sure you get there? Make the goal SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable,
    Realistic, and Timely. You want your short-term goals to build up to your long-term goals. One approach to use is to set mini goals. A mini goal may sound funny, but the small goals will lead to the larger end goal. If you make your goal specific, you are more likely to achieve it!
  3. MOTIVATION: What is the motivation behind pursuing your goal? Take time to answer this question. Once you have captured this, write it down, tell a friend, share it with the world! When you have a hard day and don’t feel motivated, this will serve as an excellent reminder as to why you are working toward this goal.
  4. SUPPORT: Who is encouraging you in your life to achieve your goal? It is important to be surrounded by people who can cheer you on along your journey and celebrate your progress. Whether it’s a coworker, family member, or neighbor, these people are there to support you! Tell someone — anyone — now. It feels good when people take interest and ask, “Hey, how is it going with your goal?” or “How can I help?” These supporters can provide help when you need it.
  5. FIND UNINTERRUPTED TIME: Try to find free, uninterrupted time in your schedule to concentrate on making progress toward your goal. For a week, keep a log each day and write down when you have free time when you can work uninterrupted. Also, write down how your energy level is. Does it make sense to study or write cover letters at 10 pm when you are tuckered out? Take note of these times and adjust your schedule accordingly.

By following these helpful tips and tricks, you can make your time management more effective and make progress toward your goals. Remember this is a process; it may not be perfected overnight. But with some changes to your daily or weekly schedule, you can do it!