I’ve always had some trouble with time-management. Believe me, I spent several nights watching the sun come up in college trying to finish a paper that could have been finished much earlier had I not procrastinated so much! Every time I would do it I would vow never to let it go that long again! Luckily, the all-nighters stopped in law school. But the time management difficulties still persist.
It’s hard to know how to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Work with my clients, go to hearings, take care of the cats, choir rehearsal, study Polish, maintain my German, and the list just goes on! So, here’s what I’ve managed to do to accomplish everything needed:
–Five Before Five (or 6, 7, or whenever the day officially ends): I actually got this as an idea from a job website for entry-level professionals. This is incredibly helpful, as it serves multiple purposes. First, it forces you to think about the most important tasks that must be accomplished by the end of the day. Second, I find that physically writing them down helps me focus better on the task at hand. Finally, the best feeling is being able to cross off something once it’s been accomplished. It makes me feel productive, and lets me know that I’m doing what I need.
–Most Important Tasks Finished First: It’s not always possible, but if I can, I try and get the “must dos” done earlier in the day. For me it’s easier because I find I have more energy than that last hour. Now, don’t misunderstand me: I’m very much a night person. So this is hard to get used to at first. But it feels better and less pressed for time if you get the hardest or most critical tasks behind you earlier.
–Don’t Overdo It: For me, this mostly applies to the hobbies and interests. So when I’m studying my Polish, although it would be nice to get through a chapter a week in my book, some days I just can’t do it. Especially with a large hearing schedule approaching, I just don’t want to sit there and go through exercises. So instead, I settle for a much more modest method of doing simple reading. It’s easy enough that I can relax a bit more, but I’m still learning at the same time. If you can adjust your expectations when possible, it can greatly prevent burnout.
So, there you go. These are just my ways of trying to manage everything I want to do in the course of a day. I hope some of these tips are helpful, or at least are what some others will do!