When I say to you “time management” what comes to mind? My bet is on color-code planners, complicated schedules, detailed to-do lists and other paraphernalia of organization. I’d also bet that those thoughts make you tense your shoulders, pinch the bridge of your nose, and clench your jaw with the crippling fear that you might not be getting the most out of every possible second of your life experiences.
Well, take a deep breath, because I’m not here to lecture you about the best way to put together a binder or tips to reduce the length of your wake-up routine. Because, whether you’re a high school senior set on maximizing your last few months as top dog or a college student trying to maximize the return on your tuition investment, time management is not about cramming as many activities as possible into a single day, but about getting as much out of the time you spend as possible.
While this might seem obvious, and almost redundant, it’s a concept that continues to escape even the highest-achieving students. Let me give you an example.
Last year, I would sit down at the end of a day to write a paper before I started any of my other assignments. I’d sit in front of my computer four, maybe six hours if it was a long one, banging out the words with occasional guilty wanderings down my Facebook or twitter timeline and a running commentary on my snapstory. These nights ended with me banging out a mediocre paper until two in the morning and then still not having finished any of my other assignments, let alone gotten sleep. Not optimal time management, I think you will agree.
Let’s fast-forward to the “reinvented” sophomore Celine! The last few papers I’ve written, I followed this system: First, I got a good night’s sleep. Then, I woke up and wrote the papers in two hours. Bam.
I still got the same amount of tasks accomplished, and in roughly the same amount of time as I did on any given “paper night” last year, but instead of spending six hours frustratedly writing and guiltily procrastinating and maybe four asleep, I spent eight sleeping and two writing. This reapportioning is smarter time management in a nut-shell: My time remains the same, but my quality of life is increased because more sleep = happier, healthier Celine and a fresher brain, which means faster writing and better papers.
Little switches of perspective like that can help you re-prioritize your planning to really get what you’re paying for at college. Remember, it’s not about what you do, but how you do it: That’s management.