Personally, I live off of lists and calendars. But, there is much more to lists and planners if you want to make the most out of your week. Below I’ve listed a few tips that help me manage my schedule and keep my days pretty productive. Some you may have heard before, but others are small changes that can make a big difference.
Jk. But, really though.
2. Use a planner AND the calendar on your phone
I use my planner for birthdays, appointments and (mostly) non-changing events. There’s nothing I hate more than writing in something on my planner and having to cross through it. (No, I will not write in pencil.)
Then, I use iCal on my phone, iPad and computer and sync them all through iCloud. This way, whenever I make an adjustment, it changes on all my devices. Appointments, meetings and birthdays can go here as well, and I just set an alert for 30 minutes prior.
3. Make a to-do list every morning.
Every morning I write out what I want to accomplish for the day on an ‘extra-long’ post-it note that I stick on top of the week in my planner. This way if things change throughout the day, I’m not constantly adjusting it in my planner. I change out these post-it’s every day.
4. Use checkboxes, not bullets.
This may be a simple task, but the actual act of checking something off just makes you feel great about yourself. And why shouldn't you?
5. Make playlists that fit your work flow.
If you’re like me, I cannot work without music in the background. First, putting your headphones in help eliminate distractions so you’re not bothered.
Whether I’m at work, at home or in the library, I have a different playlist for every setting. Spotify is my best friend because I can create my own with my favorite songs, or follow playlists that others have created. 8tracks is also great for studying, because there are so many instrumental playlists. When I hit the 4 o’clock wall (literally at 4, every day), I put on my guilty pleasure pop playlist and listen to One Direction (no shame), JT and Macklemore to wake myself up.
6. Change up the scenery
When I find myself dozing off at my desk, checking my phone constantly or not getting anything done, I’ll take a walk.
Even if it's just around the office, a walk will kick-start your brain, so when you sit down you’ll have a better focus. If you can leave your spot and take a break, try moving to a location outdoors (when it’s not 90 degrees).
For my fellow UCF students, check out this article that has some great study spots on campus and my personal favorite, the Technology Commons, right behind the College of Sciences.
7. Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb Mode.
Self-explanatory, but I am the worst at constantly checking my phone. Turning your phone off would be the most logical, but if that is unbearable, just put it on do not disturb mode and turn it over.
8. Split up long-term projects or assignments.
When I have a long assignment of required reading to do, I usually split up the chapters into one or two a day. For me, my focus on reading a textbook is slim to none, so I know that even if I read all the assignment in one day, I would probably retain nothing. Highlight of course, so once you finish, you can refresh your memory by reading over the important facts.
9. If you want to go out during the week, set goals for yourself beforehand.
If I know that there is something I want to do during the week, but I really want to hang with friends at night, I make a list of things I absolutely need to do before that morning and then make a point to complete the work I put off on my lunch break the next day, for instance.
Sometimes, you gotta sacrifice.
10. Block your time.
I like splitting my days into sections, where I know what to focus on at what time. Since I have multiple jobs, I dedicate an hour to check each email address and respond then another hour to plan/organize.
Overall, these are pretty simple tasks that can help you make the most out of your days. Self-discipline is key, but once you get in a routine, you realize you’re a lot less busy than you think!