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#HonorsProblems: Time Management Tips from a (Semi-)Reformed Procrastinator

The following blog post was written by peer advisor Sydney, a SEAS junior studying biomedical engineering and biophysics.

I will be the first person to admit that my time management skills leave something to be desired. I, like many college students, am very susceptible to distractions. And by distractions I mean everything that isn’t what I am supposed to be doing. Whether it is a new series on Netflix, a Buzzfeed quiz that will tell me if I am more Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime (I got Hulu btw), or a friend who wants to grab lunch, staying on task is and has always been a challenge. Throughout my college career, I have become progressively better at managing my time, and I wanted to share a few tips with you guys!

1. Use a calendar.

Whether it is a physical agenda or a calendar app, using a calendar is the clearest way to actually see how you are spending your time. It can be hard to conceptualize just how much of your day something that is two hours long can take up. Two hours on its own doesn’t seem like much, but if you block it out on your calendar it is surprisingly time consuming. It is also a great way to avoid double-booking yourself.

2. Get little things out of the way.

If you can finish something in five minutes, just go ahead and do it. Even if it isn’t particularly urgent, getting it out of the way feels good and avoids a major headache later on.

3. Personalize your schedule.

Figure out when you are most or least productive and consider that when setting aside time for things. If you work better in the mornings, block off more time in the morning to do homework or other assignments. If you’re more of a late owl, make sure to reserve time in the afternoon/evening to get stuff done. Figure out which schedule makes you most productive and go with that.

4. Limit your distractions.

Put yourself in a position to stay focused. This can be tricky, especially since we live in the digital age. To keep yourself off your phone try using an app like Forest that provides incentive for you to not use your phone. You can also try various extensions for your web browser that can block certain websites when you turn it on. Find a way of eliminating whatever your most common distraction is.

5. Take care of yourself.


You’ve probably heard the “eat healthy, get enough sleep” lecture a thousand times, but in terms of productivity it is actually really important. Think about if that extra hour or two of staying up at night when you slept 3 hours the past night is really worth it. The more tired you are the harder it is to be motivated and the harder it is to get things done quickly. I know it may come as a shock to some people, but you can’t live on caffeine and Chipotle alone. Take care of your body and mind.

6. Don’t be afraid to say no.


Your time is first and foremost your time. You don’t owe anybody any of your time, so don’t feel guilty if you have to say no to something every now and then. Don’t be rude about it, but also don’t feel obligated to do everything someone asks you to do. Figure out if it is something you want to do and if you have the available time to do it. If the answer to either one of those questions is no, just say no.


I hope you found these tips helpful. Time management will always be a struggle, but if you remember to keep these things in mind your life will be at least a little easier.