Getting It Done: Managing Time and Boosting Productivity

By Moksha Agarwal 2021-05-28

Excelling at academics, nailing those three-pointers, perfecting your pitch, contributing to your community, grinding hard at an internship, and cultivating a genuine passion for…well, something—getting through high school ain’t an average Joe job anymore. The question is how do you transform an average Joe into a distinguished Joe who can handle all of the above, and then some more? 

The answer, I say, lies in time management. And today, we’ll look at some tips, tricks, and tools that can help you stay on top of your game. 

#1 Time Audit: Let’s start simple, shall we? Think of your 24 hours as currency. Your task is to identify your spending patterns. How? Track every little thing you do. You may choose to do it manually but we recommend using an app. Toggl is a good one. Log every task for one week. Evaluate your reports over the weekend, identify areas for improvement, clamp down on your unproductive habits, and set realistic expectations. 

#2 The 80-20 Rule: Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80-20 Rule states that 80 percent of any output results from only 20 percent of its inputs. You can use your time audit to identify which activities constitute this 20 percent and focus more on those. If you’re investing too much into something that’s generating low returns, maybe it’s time to reconsider your portfolio.  

#3 Take Advantage of your Biological Prime Time: Your biological prime time is determined by your circadian rhythm—an internal process, a clock if you may, that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats every 24 hours. By understanding your circadian rhythm, you can identify those parts of the day when you’re the most productive. Whether it is at the break of dawn or in the wee hours of the night, you must complete tasks that require heavy-duty brainpower during your biological prime time.

#4 Slicing: Just as time is sliced into hours, minutes, and seconds, money is sliced into dollars and cents, huge tasks can be sliced into smaller, non-threatening chunks. The smaller chunks are easier to comprehend, take less time to complete, boost confidence, and enhance motivation, enabling you to finish your project on, or much better, before the deadline. 

#5 Labelling: Once you’ve sliced your tasks, you can also label them. We suggest using the 4 Ds of time management:

Do: Tasks that are important and urgent.

Defer: Tasks that are important but not urgent.

Delegate: Tasks that are urgent but not important.

Delete: Tasks that are neither urgent nor important.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get better, together!


Watch: How to stay on top of your academic game