10 tips to have better time management skills! discussing time blocking + how to use your time better

What is time management and time wasting? What's time blocking? You'll find out all of the answers in today's blogpost!

"Pati, you're telling me I'm wasting a lot of my time?!" Yes, I am! I know many people don't like hearing the word "time wasting", but I hate the word "bored" even more! If you ever said you're "bored", you basically said you are wasting your time doing nothing! teehee :)


Let me start by answering the questions to the meaning of the terms:

 Collins dictionary described time wasting perfectly;  

"causing someone to spend time doing something that is unnecessary or does not produce any benefit"

In other words (a.k.a my straightforward words haha), time wasting is basically doing something that won't ever help you today, tomorrow, or any day in your life! You're doing something that you won't use or need ever in your whole 
life!

More about time wasting later in the post!

Whereas time management, is the total opposite! Time management is managing time to be your most productive self.

It will help you be more:

  • efficient
  • productive
  • effective

Productive is a common word that I can estimate many of you know its meaning, but actually, I've realised that it is very commonly misunderstood!

Being productive is not just "keeping yourself busy" or "doing something just not to waste time", or doing things that are mentioned on the lists of "things to do when you're bored", it's way more than that. 
It's doing something that will, for example, lead to rewarding outcomes, or will directly or indirectly end up being investments in yourself that lead to better health, more knowledge, or give you time back in the long run. 


Time blocking, oh how much I LOVE time blocking!! This is basically, as the word already hints, planning out your day in advance and dedicating specific time “blocks” for specific tasks and certain responsibilities you want to do in that day.


Get it? Nope? That's okay, I'll explain it a little more:


Do you ever write a to do list and not do a single thing on it? You see, the key to completing most of your tasks you set out to do for that day is adding the time slots in which you want to complete the tasks. For example, you want to study German for half an hour, and you put on your to do list "Study German". We human beings are more likely to do something if you pick a specific time slot in which you want to study German. For example,"Study German from 16:30-17:00", and now you will want to start studying at that time to finish studying before 5pm!

That's TIME BLOCKING!


The app that I use to organise "blocks" is google calendar! You can download it or use it online! 

Here's a tiny glimpse into my Saturday time blocks :







This is how it looks like!! You don't have to plan out every minute of your day, be spontaneous! But, I planned out this day from 12 to 12 because I wanted to be as productive as possible and I didn't want to forget to do something!

I don't plan out the morning, because I do my morning routine, making my bed, eating breakfast, self care stuff and etc. I'll share my morning routine in an IGTV next week on my instagram @pati__cool! 

I also as you can see included breaks, it's so important to take breaks! I'll talk more about breaks in next week's post! 

You can plan out some parts of your day, like I do usually, for example, here:













Now that you correctly know what time wasting, time management, time blocking and being productive is, let's move on to the tips!






1.  Understand that anything you do is not wasting your time!


I read this really short book which I highly recommend - Effortless Productivity by Beau Norton. He said that 'there are 3 primary ways of existing in this world', what he calls "The 3 Levels of Existence". 

People that are on level 3 are what each of us should strive to become. Those are the people that think that every single thing they do is productive, because the truth is, it is. 


Whether they are just cleaning the kitchen or working on a big project, it's all the same to them. 

Every.Single.Moment.Matters!


"These people tend to be extremely productive and accomplish much more than the average person with little to no effort at all," Beau wrote.

"These people can be happy with a lot and equally happy with a little".

As I've previously mentioned, time wasting is doing something that will never become handy to you. 
What many of us don't know is that actually, many things we think of as "time wasting" are actually productive!

In my point of view, the only thing that I think of is time wasting is, well, nothing!! Time wasting has a different meaning to me.


If I were to write a dictionary and would include the word "time wasting" in it, its definition would be the following:

"time wasting - doing something that is a less of a priority to you than a other thing you should be doing"


EVEN when you are being bored, you are NOT wasting your time! Yes, you could be doing PLENTY of other things that are more important than just being bored, (check out my list of things to do by clicking here!) BUT you are still not wasting your time!!

Every minute of you living on this world counts, no matter what you are doing! When you're laying down resting, you are allowing your muscles, nerves, and bones time to rebuild. 

When you're mindlessly scrolling through instagram, I'm NOT encouraging you to do it or to do it for hours and hours, but sometimes, it's good to take a break, and when you do, you're reducing mental fatigue and helping you take your mind of some things.

Everything you do is not wasting your time! Thinking that way will lead you to 'being more productive', because you will know that what you're doing is actually productive! 

No one has ever made a list called "things that are not productive", because, well, productive and time wasting is something different to each person. Each person has different priorities in what they want to do first and what they want to do second and so on.

Think about this; will a librarian and a doctor have the same goals, same priorities, and same tasks they want to do? NO! That's because each individual has there own things they want to do, and there own definition of not using their time as good as they should!


2. Use your time wisely

"Wow, what a tip, Patrycja! Thanks for your help! :/" Haha, but really, this is a great piece of advice, you just have to know how to use your time wisely!

Time blocking, time blocking, and once more - time blocking! It really is an effective, and amazing way to use your time the best you can! To use your time wisely, you simply have to chose and do the hard and difficult tasks first, or the most important to you tasks first. 

When you write a to do list, prioritise 3 tasks which you really want to do today so the less important tasks you can do later if you still have some time!


3. Prioritise 3 goals

You probably have a list of goals you want to achieve by the end of this week, month, or year, right? 
Instead of working on multiple goals at the same time, prioritise the top 3 goals you want to accomplish, because if you want to work towards those goals, you have to have more time to focus on the steps to achieving those goals, and you can't work on 10 goals at the same time.

It's better to concentrate on your top 3 fully instead of trying to fulfil all of them in little steps. Doing this will help you not feel overwhelmed and/or not motivated!

You will instantly be more productive, resulting in managing your time better! :)

4.  Put away all your distractions when you're working on something

Ah, distractions! We all get distracted sometimes, especially when we are doing something we don't want to be doing, but we have to do it (totally not talking about me not wanting do my maths homework, not wanting to read our class novel and not wanting to wash my shoes).

You've probably realised I wrote 'not wanting' a lot! I did that on purpose. We all have stuff we need to do, but don't really like doing. What we have to do when we're doing that stuff is tell ourselves why we're doing it.

We're not doing the stuff we don't like because of no reason at all. We are doing it because there is a reason behind it. Someone told us to do it.

But, that someone, whether that be a teacher, one of our family members, or (just us knowing we have to it), they didn't tell us to do it just because they felt like it. There is always a reason why we are doing that specific thing. 

For example, if you don't like washing the dishes, you have to know that there's a reason why you're doing it. Obviously, you want the dishes to be clean, but there's more than that. You don't want the dishes to be dirty because you don't want to be eating on an unwashed plate or cup etc.

Another example: you hate doing your maths homework (a.k.a me) but you know you need to do it, not just because the teacher told you to. You complete it as you want to get good grades. 

You want to get good grades because you want to go to a good school. You want to go to a good school because you want to go to uni. You want to go to university because you want to get a specific job in which you have to finish uni. And so on, and so on!

When you're doing something you hate doing, you can get easily distracted (TOTALLY not speaking from my experience)! To prevent this from happening, put away all your distractions, for example, your phone - put it on silent and put it in a different room, or if a distraction to you is noises, like the neighbours dog barking, or the clock ticking, go to a quiet room where you can fully concentrate.


5. Work ahead

Do you ever feel bored and you have no idea what to do but then there are days where you have so much work that you don't know where to start? What I do is I haven't felt bored in awhile now I don't think I remember the day that I felt bored like I always have something to do. I was wondering why so many people were bordering quarantine and then here was I not knowing with what to start I have so much always like to do. 

One thing that I realised what I do is when I know that there is going to be (for example) a maths test on Friday and on Wednesday I have like no homework at all to do for Thursday, I study for the maths test on that day. 

Whenever it's Thursday, and our Polish teacher tells us that there's going to be a test on Friday, I have less work to do because I don't have to study for both tests. I only have to study for the Polish test as I studied for the maths test on Wednesday. I only have to revise for the maths test, not study for it. 

This means that there's a high chance I'll get better grades on each test because I have spent the same amount of time studying for both tests. On Thursday I had to concentrate only on the Polish test and just revise for the maths test whereas on Wednesday I studied only for the maths test, not knowing that there's going to be a different test.

But if it turned out that there wasn't going to be another test on Friday other than maths, and I didn't have any homework to do or anything to study for on Thursday, I would study maths even more and I'd study a different subject ahead.

When you do this, you have more time to do other stuff!

6. Avoid overanalysing everything you do

Who's a perfectionist?! ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ‍♀️ Just ask my friends, they'll tell you about it!

Instead of analysing if the art project is perfect and if the art teacher will like it and give you a good grade, try focusing that time on doing the other stuff you also have to do! The art teacher probably won't realise that extra window you drew by mistake on that tower.

7. TAKE BREAKS!

It is so important to take breaks between tasks. If you don't take any breaks, then you'll have a harder time to focus and concentrate on the task that you're currently doing.

Everyone knows that they should take a break sometimes but not everyone does it. When they start doing something, they want to finish it until the end. But, to finish it quickly, they should take breaks, as then they will be more fixed on the tase, resulting in not having to spend so much time doing it with tired eyes/hands.



8. Reward yourself when you complete something

After you finish doing a task, reward yourself, even if it was a small task! Reward yourself according to the importance of the activity!

 If it was a really easy task or an activity that you just like doing for example organising your desk, or writing an easy book review of a short novel, reward yourself with something small like make yourself a cup of tea or eat your favourite fruit! 

If you completed a big project or a very hard task that took you a really long time, reward yourself with something more important, for example, visit the cinema to watch a movie with your favourite actors in it, go on a road trip, make yourself a DELICOUS chocolate milkshake, etc!

Even for the small tasks that aren't as big of a value like the bigger tasks, REWARD YOURSELF. You deserve it, gal/dude!

9.  Organisation

Are you trying to make more use of your time but have such a not organised desk space?! THIS is what you're doing wrong!

You've probably heard this a lot, but you need to hear this again! To instantly have more motivation to do something at your desk space, you need to have an organised desk!

It saves you time, fosters your creative mind, and reduces stress.

10. STOP DOING STUFF YOU DON'T ENJOY!

I know this is a hard one to actually do, because many of us just simply have to do certain tasks, that we don't necessarily enjoy doing! 

For example, you hate drawing and you need to draw a sketch of something for art, or else you will get a bad grade for not completing your homework (wow, this is the TOTAL opposite to me, I love art and drawing and sketching and so on!).

But if it's a task you don't have to do, like learning a language by yourself, you don't have to if you are not enjoying learning it! The whole point by doing specific tasks that are not obligatory is the process of doing them! YOU are meant to ENJOY the journey of doing these things! 

For example, if you knit, but you don't like knitting, and you do not have to do it for school or a different reason, then don't knit! 

You probably started doing this task (ex. knitting) because you think it will come handy in the future, and of course it will! Every talent or hobby will come handy at some point. 

But, if you don't like doing it, and you don't have to do it, then DON'T!

Use that time instead to do things you love doing, like reading, acrobatics or baking!

If you want to have more hobbies and you want to use your time better because you have LOADS of it, here's a list of hobbies I found on Wikipedia that should help!

You have NO idea how many things you can do in your free time!


Those are all the tips I have for y'all today! Hope this blogpost helped!

pati xx

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