Humans naturally strive to do better. We all want to be the best possible versions of ourselves. Getting there just requires a little work. If you want to be a better student, employee, mother, daughter or significant other you can be, and hopefully I can help. While I’m no expert, I am pretty good at finding people who ARE experts and getting their advice. That’s what I hope to do over the next nine weeks, with a series of blog posts all on the subject of “How to be Better.”

For my first post, I’m going to focus on a topic that I’ve been struggling with lately, time management.

Time. I never seem to have enough of it these days. Over the summer I had more time than I knew what to do with. I wasn’t working or taking classes. Productivity was not my priority. Instead, I had decided to spend my summer traveling with my boyfriend Justin. For all of June and July we backpacked through Europe. We stayed in Paris, Rome, Sicily, Amsterdam and Barcelona. During the day we’d walk the streets, stopping in any cafe or corner shop that piqued our interest. Sometimes we wouldn’t get out of bed until late afternoon.

By the end of August, I couldn’t even remember what it felt like to be busy. Getting back into my job and classes was not easy. There were a few bumps along the road, a few missed classes and unproductive work days. I’ve gotten used to it now, for the most part. I have had to learn a whole new set of time management skills though. Fortunately, that means I now have advice that I can share with others.

1. Write it down

The most essential part of good time management is being able to keep track of all your responsibilities.  Get them out of your head and into a system that you have easy access to. Personally, I have an absolute terrible memory. If I don’t write things down immediately there as good as forgotten. For everyone else, keeping a planner of calendar with all your engagements helps you stay focused and organized. Which leads me to tip number two.

2. Stay organized

Nothing wastes time like having to dig through piles of junk every time you need to find something. It may only seem like a minute, but if it’s happening numerous times a day those minutes add up. It’s also a lot easier to pick up if everything has a place.

3. Multitasking is the enemy of productivity

In the internet age, being able to hold someones attention for more than a few seconds is a very valuable skill. With short attention spans, multitasking can feel like the norm. But focusing on more than one thing at a time is actually counter productive.

4. Plan your days by the hour

If you’re weekdays are as packed as mine have been lately, it can seem like finding free time is impossible. No matter how busy you are, there’s going to be at least a few open minutes in your day. You just have know when that time is. If you take a moment to sit down and plan your days by the hour, your schedule won’t seem nearly as overwhelming.

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