The pandemic had messed up my daily routine and ever since then I had been unable to manage my time properly. Time just seemed to flow past me and at the end of the day I would be left wondering , ‘Where the hell did my 24 hrs go? What did I do with it?’
I tried making several routines like waking up at 8, breakfast at 9, start studying by 9:30 etc. But the pressure of keeping up with a schedule was overwhelming and if I didn’t keep up with the schedule, I would be overburdened with guilt by the end of the day. Also, in case I woke up a bit late or cherished my breakfast for a slightly longer duration than what I had previously intended, then my whole day would get messed up. I quickly realized this was a very mechanical, non flexible way of scheduling things and I couldn’t see myself sticking to this method for years to come. So, I started looking for alternatives. Thanks to the internet I stumbled upon some amazing videos and courses (special mention to Ankur warikoo’s videos and time management course) which had just what I needed ! So I’ll try to summarize what I learnt from these sources which I actually use in my daily life.
1) While scheduling, instead of assigning time slots to a task, I prefer having a to do list. I would go about my day, ticking things off of that list and tracking my time as I go.(I track my time for everything I do, including things like waking up, brushing or having breakfast). It is especially easy to track your time with so many apps available these days. I like to use a plain old spreadsheet. This feels like a more organic way of doing things. I’ll attach a screenshot here to give you a better idea.
(You can zoom in to view the image clearly)
At the end of the day, you can analyze where you’ve spent your time the whole day and in which areas you would like to improve.
You can also find out the Effective Time Ratio(ETR) to find out how productive you’ve been. I personally, do not require it so I don’t calculate it but here’s how you can do it: simply count the number of hours you’ve spent doing things which you think were necessary divided by 24 (the total no. of hours). For eg. if you’ve spent 16 hrs doing things you think were necessary, then your ETR will be 16÷24 = .66 which implies you were 66% productive. A high productivity percentage would be anywhere between 75-80%. Don’t forget to count your sleeping hours in necessary section as well. For some people using social media for entertainment might be a necessary social aspect of their life while some might prefer spending time with their family and social media might be unnecessary for them. So, you can accordingly customize, what is necessary to You!
In the beginning, you will have to be obsessive about tracking your time but after a few days, it will become your second nature.
2) If you go about your day, mindfully, you’ll realize that there are certain times in the day when your energy peaks, and you’re at your best efficiency during those hours. Try to finish off the important tasks on your to do list and intellectually intensive tasks during those times. For students, it would be studying difficult topics. Again, it should be as per your convenience. I’m a night owl so, most important things in my day are scheduled towards the evening and night time.
These are all the time management hacks that I had to share.This post got very preachy but I’ve immensely benefitted from implementing these tips, in my life. This post is an attempt to help anyone like me (especially students) who are having a tough time getting their life in order. I’ll leave you with some pointers:
1) You do you. Don’t be pressurized to follow anyone’s time schedule. Do what suits you best.
2) Productivity is not a competition. Tracking your time helps to enhance your way of living. Don’t chase 90% productivity like 90% marks in exams. As long as you see how you’ve utilized your time and you’re satisfied with it, that’s more than enough. Remember, we are not robots and a work life balance is necessary for us.
3) Lastly, to all the lazy bums like me who think tracking your time after every task is too much work, trust me, it’s not! We check our phones every other hour or so, we might as well just enter the data while were at it.
If you made it till here. Thank you soo much for giving me your Time(don’t forget to enter this in your schedule. Just kidding). Have a nice day. Hope this blog helped you 🙂