Do you ever feel like you are racing against the clock to meet deadlines and complete assignments?
Being a college student can be a balancing act, especially if you work and are involved in extracurricular activities. If you struggle with procrastination, a task management plan will help you focus on the task at hand. A simple change in habits could make a gigantic difference!
Here are five tips for effective task management:
1. Make a To-Do List – Set reminders and alerts for yourself. Writing down your to-do items increases the probability that you will complete them.
2. Prioritize – Prioritizing makes you more efficient in day-to-day activities and allows you to balance responsibilities with your personal life.
3. Schedule – Having a plan keeps you focused without getting off track.
4. Be Realistic – Set realistic timeframes. Don't overschedule yourself and remember to delegate or pause tasks that are not a priority.
5. Eliminate Distractions - Studies show that 36% of Millennials and Gen Z say that they spend two or more hours checking smartphones during the day. Ask yourself which habits are distracting you from being most productive.
You may also consider a task management technique to maximize your work habits. One of my favorites is the Pomodoro Technique to help manage your time. This method says to break your study time into 25-minute intervals—taking three to five-minute breaks in-between—then repeat. After four periods of 25-minute intervals, take a longer 20- to 30-minute break. This process keeps you focused and productive.
Here are a few tools to help stay task-focused:
1. Task management apps are excellent tools—and there are lots of options! I like Asana which has a free version and can even interact with your study groups on projects. It allows you to prioritize your work and be proactive, rather than reactive.
2. Use a time management spreadsheet. A time management spreadsheet can be challenging but helps you stay focused and maintain prioritization. Here's how to use one:
- Monitor your time for five consecutive days in 30-minute increments, categorizing by effectiveness.
- Keep an end-of-day summary and focus on notes to help you prioritize.
- Use the spreadsheet to balance your workload and personal activities with your study time.
- Evaluate your effectiveness to improve your focus.
The outcome: Effective task management will improve your ability to complete tasks and achieve better results.