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The Basics of Time Management

Many of the skills you acquire while in school apply readily to your professional life.  Time management, for example, is a skill that you will master by necessity and one that will stay with you for years to come in your career.

Why time management? Let's face it, it's a lot more challenging to get your degree when you've got the demands of a full-time job and a family. So how do you do it? We've compiled some basic time-management tips to help you take control of your life - whether you're in school, at work, or both! 

Use Time-Management Tools
Whether you use a day-planner or a software program, the first step to managing your time is to keep track of it! By keeping track of appointments and deadlines (and consistently checking them!) you can stay on top of all your tasks at work and home. Some software programs even have reminders so you'll never miss your important meetings and deadlines.

If you use Outlook for viewing your email, start using the accompanying calendar. Other email programs such as Thunderbird offer free calendars as well.  

Track Your Time
The easiest way to lose time is to lose track of where you spend it. Tracking time for common tasks is key to managing your time effectively. Spend a week or two noting how much time you spend on various tasks - your weekly report to your boss, your homework assignments, etc.

Once you know how long these common tasks take to complete, you can begin to schedule them into your calendar and give yourself reasonable time limits.

Break Larger Projects Into Smaller Tasks
You wouldn't expect to sit down and write a term paper or a big client presentation in one day, would you? Sometimes feelings of overwhelm can paralyze you. That's why it's good to start looking at larger projects as a series of smaller tasks.

By breaking your looming projects into smaller tasks, you can give yourself several mini-milestones: research topic, create outline, write a draft of your introduction, etc. If you plan effectively, your projects won't seem so overwhelming and will be complete before you now it!

Don't Waste Time
Finally, every minute is valuable! In school, work and life there are always spare minutes in the day that you can use wisely to stay ahead of the game. Don't just sit in a waiting room at the dentist's office, bring that journal article that you need to read. If you finish an exam early, spend a few minutes reviewing for your next class.

Technology makes it easier than ever to work wherever you are, so you're never more than a click away from your email or your online research!