My Time Management Strategy

You do have time for that extra project you want to take on or operate that business you’ve always said you’d start. Add up all the minutes in your day that’s spent on YouTube, watching Netflix, commuting, or even napping and you’ll find that it’s more than enough time to devote to something more rewarding. If this sounds like you and you feel like you’re putting something off, take a step back and look at all the everyday opportunities to better manage your time.

Being able to manage your time effectively will not only allow you to accomplish more every day, but will allow you to pursue things you never thought you had time for (mind-blowing, right?). By replacing Netflix with a book or YouTube with an online course, you can accomplish exponentially more than you are right now.

Disclaimer: This next part is a completely biased, personal perspective on my experience with time management and some of the techniques I use to keep up with the chaos of my current life.

This past month, I’ve learned a ton about time management. Since the beginning of May, I have been juggling a full-time internship in downtown Toronto, solely managing a non-profit consulting organization, keeping to a strict daily exercise schedule, practicing daily for upcoming case interviews & the dreaded LSAT, and planning events/schedules/projects for 2 clubs I hold director positions on at university. So… my schedule has been quite hectic. Five minutes ago, for example, I sprinted from my office to Union Station to catch my train and make it home in time to hop on a Skype call with a prospective consulting client (I wrote this part on the train). It may seem like I have no social life, which admittedly has declined since the beginning of work, but I do manage to get out with friends. The reason I’m able to is because I…

1. Compartmentalize

This means that everything I’m currently pursuing (listed above) takes up compartments or specific time blocks of my day and don’t interfere with one another. When I leave work at 5:30, work is complete for the day and does not interfere with anything I do past 5:30. This forces me to be productive during the period that I have allocated for each part as once the “compartment’s” time is up, I no longer work on it for the rest of the day.

2. Make Time from Dead Time

For myself, “Dead Time” refers to time that requires no cognitive effort (IE; walking, exercising, and commuting). When I’m experiencing dead time, I tend to do things that ensure I will still be productive even though I am doing something that most people consider something they just have to do. When I’m walking to and from the train station (and not sprinting like today), I make phone calls to my parents or to consulting clients. When I’m taking the train to and from work (which is usually 40 mins per trip), I practice for case interviews or the LSAT. And lastly, when I’m exercising or driving, I listen to informational podcasts about politics and current economic events. So clearly, this “Dead Time” can be put to good use. One example I like to use with this piece of advice is to consider that the Canadian Securities Course (CSC) which is a requirement to manage mutual funds in Canada is available in audio book format. Obviously, this isn’t for everyone (including myself), but it goes to show that you could earn your CSC designation by listening to the audio book only when you’re exercising, commuting, and walking AKA experiencing “Dead Time.”

3. Turn Weekends into Weekdays

Something I’ve done recently is turn my weekends into weekdays which means I have the same schedule as Tuesday but on Saturday. Sure, I don’t do work from my full-time summer position (remember: compartmentalize) and sure, I may go out with friends, but I always treat my weekends as if they were Tuesdays. This means that I put a lot of work into managing and consulting for Henderson Pro-Bono Consulting, I exercise, I plan for clubs at school, and I practice cases and LSAT questions. The only difference with weekends are that I make extra time to do personal things like shop and get work done around my apartment. Keeping your schedule strict even on Saturday and Sunday will ensure that you maintain productivity and catch up on things you may have fallen behind on during the week.

4. Drink Coffee

This one is self-explanatory.

The reason I wrote this blog post is to possibly help someone who is struggling with something I like to call “The Somedays.” Someday I’ll start a blog, someday I’ll start a business, someday I’ll exercise. There is time today to fit something you want to pursue in your schedule… you just need effectively manage and utilize all the time you have.

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