It’s that time of year again! Department stores have replaced their dwindling displays of sunblock and swimsuits with ones laden with polyester backpacks, brightly-colored paper folders, and pencil cases donning familiar animated faces. Pencils have replaced pool toys and there is a certain air of dread among the youth. School is coming, the very wind seems to say.
If you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t started summer reading, or bought school supplies, or even signed up for classes. What have I been doing with my summer if not preparing for school? Naturally, I’ve been wasting time.
Seems like that’s a very common issue among my peers. We have all this time, but we always seem to be in a great big hurry by the time our deadlines roll around. Naturally, for a geek this problem can be even more prevalent. Who has time for homework when there are cosplays to plan, movies to see, cons to attend, Lego figures to assemble?
This summer, I devoted myself to learning how to master the art of time management. I read books, talked to some friends to whom the words “all-nighter” mean nothing, and read up on different methods of time management. The underlying consensus can be summarized in one word: PLANNING. Here, I’ve laid out a few methods you can use to properly manage your time this school year.
Growing up, one of my dad’s favorite Marine Corps sayings was the seven P’s: “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance” (the seventh P was unnecessary and crass, so I dropped that one). And it’s true – few things can help more than a good, old fashioned list.
Start with just a list of activities you have going on: School, extracurriculars, church, clubs, etc. Then, draw a line and begin a new list of everything you want to get accomplished that day. Maybe you want to carve out some time to sew the sleeves onto your Obi-Wan cosplay, write a letter to your grandma, or get through chapter eight of The Grapes of Wrath. Whatever it is, list it all out.
Then, start prioritizing. What’s most important? What’s least important? Start with big things, then narrow it down. Cut down where you can – is manga club more or less important than youth group? Which of the activities you’re doing is going to help you more in the long run? Then stick to your list, making sure you don’t forget to walk the dog or finish that essay for English class.
Buy a day planner. The one I swear by is by ChristianArt Publishers and it has everything I need in a planner. Make use of the day-by-day week plans, using the AM half of the day to list out homework assignments and the PM for after-school engagements such as shifts at a part-time job or club events.
If you want to make plans to go out, make sure to consult the planner so you know what you have to work around. You can also use the monthly calendar pages for listing out big events far in advance – never miss a birthday or a final exam again.
Put your phone away. I remember when I first downloaded Moment – Screen Time Tracker, I didn’t think I was using that much time online. Little did I know, I spent more time online than I did at the gym, eating meals, doing devotionals, and grocery shopping, all put together.
I dare you to download it too and see where you can cut out social media in exchange for other activities. There are also apps you can download that will lock your social media for a block of time during the day, so you can do homework, spend face-to-face quality time with friends and family, or just get some productive work done.
With 24 hours in a day, it sometimes feels like a daunting task to accomplish everything you want to get done – especially when half of that time is spent browsing the web. For nerds, cramming everything you want to do into that time slot can feel overwhelming. But by utilizing time budgeting skills, you can learn to allocate your time wisely and find those 24 hours can stretch much further than you think.
About the Author
An award-winning student poet, aspiring author, and self-proclaimed nerd, Kate spends her time voraciously consuming any and all books she can get her hands on. She is currently studying Spanish and American Sign Language in college and hopes to finally achieve the coveted black belt status. Her catchphrase is, "Keep clam and proofread!"