Time Management Tips from a Grade A Procrastinator

Madison Butler, student, University of Arkansas  |  October 7, 2022 in Pearson Students

An iPhone stacked on top of a planner.

Who is perfect at time management? In high school, I felt on top of everything: school, social life, and extracurriculars! I believed the glide into my first year of college would be effortless. However, as soon as the first week finished, I was behind on my schoolwork and became a Grade-A procrastinator.

Honestly, I’m still working on my ever-changing schedule, but I have picked up some tips and tricks that have made my workload flow in a way that does not stress me out at the last minute. Having a schedule that works for you is the backbone of not losing motivation and feeling successful!

1. Phone Privileges (Okay, Mom)

Ah yes, the dreaded words I used to hear from my parents growing up, "you have lost your phone privileges, Maddie," blah blah blah. But back then, I did not realize how much they were actually right! Staying up late, whipping my head at the sound of notifications, and scrolling on TikTok for hours (I know I am not the only one!), are just some of the ways I am constantly distracted. Especially when I need to focus on the task I have at hand. What has helped me in the past year, especially if you have an iPhone, is using the Do Not Disturb setting and setting my own screen time limits. The screen time limit tip helped me allot time (mine is set for 2 hours) for my daily social media and games "binge." Then, as soon as the time limit notification popped up, I have had to train myself to not hit the "ignore limit" button, and trust me, it's taken a while. I have now realized that I can complete a lot more tasks in my day when I’m not glued to my phone.

2. The Foreboding To-Do List

To be perfectly frank, I hated To-Do lists. I would always forget about it, lose it, and/or NEVER check all of the boxes. Those never helped me until about three months ago. To set the scene: the weekend before school started, I had just told myself I needed to create a routine, but how would I be able to do that because I rarely ever stuck with it (previous life evidence proves this theory correct). So, my solution was to buy the absolute cutest To-Do list I could find (I wish I was kidding). I placed it in the center of my desk, so it was one of the first things I would see when I woke up. I started the tasks off simple: brush my teeth, wash my face, eat breakfast, and others like studying Accounting for two hours, then rest for 15 minutes. Doing simple mundane tasks helped me easily track and stay on task throughout my day. Now, I don't need to write "brush my teeth" and stick with my more prioritized tasks, but it was an excellent start for me, personally! Find your own list in your own time!

3. Use Breaks Wisely

Another way to hold myself accountable is by using my breaks wisely. I downloaded an app called Focus Keeper, and it helps me when I am studying to work for thirty minutes and then take off ten minutes. This app allows me to study for more extended periods without burning myself out!

All in all, you will find your rhythm to motivate and hold yourself accountable! Remember you are human, and it takes a while to break a habit, so be easy on yourself <3!

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