Aatina Shaikh

“I’ll take a five-minute TikTok break and then get back to studying.” That’s the last thing said before an hour has passed and the five-minute break throws you into a hole of distractions. Studying, working on assignments, and trying to get through a day’s worth of tasks can be incredibly overwhelming. There is always something going on that makes it feel as though 24 hours is not enough in a day. This is especially true for people who are working a job and going to school. There is too much to do and very little time to do so. Luckily, developing time management skills can be one of the best ways to tackle a day.

Benefits of Time Management

Carving the time out of your day to create your time management plan can be a hassle. As someone who used to avoid doing so because I thought it was a waste of time, I can speak from personal experience when I say that this once time-consuming task now feels quick, effortless, and above all—worth it.

Planning out your day, or even your week, can allow for a more productive and efficient schedule. Since everything has been planned out, you are decreasing the likelihood of forgetting something, allowing you to plan your day in increments that best support your daily or weekly goals. This is especially important if you are someone who has a lot on their plate, or is constantly behind on where you should or want to be in your life. While I plan both my week and my day out in advance, it isn’t necessary to have your whole week planned out. Simply just going on a day-by-day basis when creating your schedule can make the biggest difference.

One of the biggest benefits when it comes to time management is the extra freedom to do the things in your life that you may have been pushing off. A better work-life balance is created when you aren’t constantly worried about your task list. Procrastination can go out the door—or at least start to creep its way out.

Time Management Tools and Tips

When working on your time management skills, it helps to have something to build your plan on. There are tools for people who are more digital based and ones for those who enjoy the traditional pen to paper.

🌙Focus Mode: One of the easiest ways to do so would be through utilizing a focus mode (for iPhones). They are already added to your phone as an extension, so using them will allow you to remain distraction-free as you work on whatever tasks you need to tackle at a given time. You are able to set time limits and choose which notifications come through.

Below, you’ll see my own focus modes. I’ve only set up Do Not Disturb and Sleep, but you have two other options to choose from!


💬Notion: Notion is an incredibly handy website and app that can help with building tasks lists, creating checklists, as well as creating your own online planner. The great thing about Notion is that it’s free. On top of that, they have a template that comes up when you create an account that is called “Task List.” It allows you to organize your “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done” lists. If you’re a person who loves the satisfaction of checking off your to-do list, this is the best thing for you.

💻Online Templates: An easy way to find templates that will work best for you is to simply search for one on Google. I know that may sound really odd to hear, but there are so many resources that are available— and for free. There’s almost zero reason not to utilize them. Search through and look for one that caters to your needs. If you’re a paper person, you can even print the templates out.

📝Author’s Note: Here’s the link to my favorite template! Girl Gains also has an online planner for purchase.

🗓️Yearly Planner: Having a planner allows me to plan out my entire semester when it comes to assignments. I transfer all assignments from my syllabi straight into my planner the second I receive them. It does take a while per syllabus, but once you do it, you don’t have to do it again for the entire semester. I color code each class (see Author’s None below) and have the key on a sticky note that I move to the next page every week. It helps everything remain organized and is easy to cross things off as I complete them. Planners can come pretty cheap (Target has them for about $7-$14) and are worth the investment if they’re what you work best with.

📝Author’s Note: This isn’t necessary, but I like to use a completely different color to write out what I want to work on each day. I tend to work on things at least a day or so before it’s due, so having this helps me a lot. Plus, I love crossing things out.

Also, my planner is from a company called Sky Blue! I 10/10 recommend! Plus, their planners are made with sustainability in mind! You can recycle almost the entire planner when done!

🗒️Sticky Note: This is for the minimalists out there. If you can’t find it in you to download an app, purchase a planner, or fill out some online time-management template—sticky notes are for you. Simply use a sticky note per day to list out the tasks you’d like to complete in the order you’d like to complete them. This way, you know what you need to get done and have a plan for tackling your list.

Find What Works Best for You

It’s important to understand that what works for one person may not be what works for you. Everyone’s work ethic varies, so take your individual needs into consideration when finding a tool or technique that works best for you.

Often, a person needs to look at what times they are most productive and work around that. Some people are better suited to work at night and retain information better when it’s 1 a.m., surrounded by silence. For others, they do better in a coffee shop during the afternoon. It all depends on the person and how they function best.

Make sure you are finding ways to have fun and bring light to completing your daily tasks. You probably aren’t going to enjoy everything that makes its way onto your agenda, but if you find little ways to make it more enjoyable, you’ll be able to efficiently get through your day.

P.S. Figuring out what works for you can take some trial and error. Stick it out until you find what helps you become more productive and increases your efficiency!


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