Time Management

Man, how quickly can things change?  I remember sitting down to write my blog post two days ago thinking about how great this semester was going to be and how I have everything all planned out.  Well, not that the semester isn’t going to be great anymore but it did get super stressful, super quickly.  I think I should have made one of my new years resolutions to not sweat the small stuff.  Then again it is only 12 days into the new year so lets just add that one to the list.

Anyway, where was I? Oh that’s right, time management.  Two words that can make or break your career as a graduate student.  Generally speaking, I start the semester out managing my time really well.  Then somewhere around mid-terms all hell breaks loose and I lose it.  This is generally when my stress levels go through the roof to boot!  So this semester that is going to change.  Over the past two days I have had some things come up that have –hmm– lets just say, challenged my focus.  I came back to school on day 1 with a goal to accomplish in a week and then Jeffery got the flu and I fell into some problems with registering for a course.  So how did I handle this?  Well I stressed…being positive though I did not turn to stress eating.  Yes, admittedly so, my food choices got poor for a couple days because I wasn’t prepared in advance but I did not overeat because of stress (woohoo!).  So now that I have found the good in the situation lets use this as a learning experience and figure out how I can grow and improve my time management next time something throws my plans awry.

I make lists.  When I don’t make lists I don’t know if I am going or coming because I have so many things on my mind to remember that I end up forgetting them all and feeling like a lost little puppy dog.  Yesterday when I found out Jeffery got sick I had to run home to get him, take him to the doctor, go pick up his car, run to the store, and then come home to take care of him.  I woke up yesterday at 5am went to yoga and spinning and this all happened around 1-2 pm ish.  By the time I was done running around I was tired.  So of course, I didn’t want to sit down and plan out my meals and plan out my to-do list.  I wanted to crash, so I did (without making my list).  When I woke up this morning, I knew I had to go to the doctor for a check-up so I thought I would have time after that to make my list.  Well every morning I check my email first thing when I wake up (don’t ask why because I don’t know, it’s just an OCD thing that I do since I’ve gotten a smart phone).  I found that I had an email pertaining to my registration in a course.  This was not a good way to start my morning.  So I stressed and had to figure out how to deal with that, then get ready to go to the doctor (which by the way I was late for because of the class situation), then I had to come home to make sure that Jeff was doing okay.  So by the time I got home it was time for lunch, and I was hungry because I didn’t have breakfast, so I made lunch and finally sat down to get cracking on my to-do list…

Oh wait!  I didn’t make my list because of all of the things that had come up between yesterday and today.  Enter lost little puppy dog feeling.  So how could I have found time yesterday to make my to-do list and plan my meals for today.  Well, one thing I didn’t mention was that Jeffery and I spent 1.5 hours in the doctors office yesterday.  What did I do for that 1.5 hours?  Played sudoku on my phone and checked out facebook.  What should I have been doing?  Making my to-do list.

I guess by now I kind of sound like I am rambling but I promise you there is a point to all of this.  One of the first things I learned as a graduate student is the important of time management.  You can accomplish so so so many things if you properly manage your time.  The easiest way for me to manage my time is by making lists so I know what I want to accomplish and when I want to accomplish it by.  It helps me remember all of the things I have coming up and it helps to keep me from scheduling in too many things to do.  It also helps me set priorities.  Prioritizing is a key part of time management.  Not everything can have the number one spot 100% of the time.  Things in life happen and you have to learn to bend with the breeze, if you will, and adjust and re-adjust your priorities.

So for now, I am going to be happy with what I managed to accomplish today and make my list for tomorrow.  That way when I wake up and life gets moving at warp speed, I will know where I need to be and when so that I can end my week as productively as I started it!

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