Time Management for Millennials
The Millennial’s Guide to Time Management
Do you have enough time to finish all the things you need to get done? How many times has someone asked you how you’ve been and you sigh out a “BUSY,” then later that night spend hours binge-watching Netflix while browsing social media?
Mmhmm… caught you! And I know because I’ve done that same thing.
In college, I would buy a super cute planner, have the best intentions to hit the gym every day, really kick this semester’s tush, keep my life tidy and organized.
And I would fail at my plan. Hard.
Don’t misunderstand, I was busy ALL THE TIME, even staying up until 3 AM constantly. But in reality, although I was busy, I wasn’t productive.
All it took to change feeling stressed and overwhelmed was learning a few time management techniques. And now that I can properly manage my time, I’ve been able to add all these to my schedule and still have more time for what I want to do:
- Full-time Job
- Full-time College
- Volunteer Work
- House Remodeling
- Getting Married (on a budget)
Most people barely have time for just two of those, let alone all 6 at the same time! I’ve provided my own tips to achieve time management for Millennials.
What even is Time Management?
Time management is the managing of your time. No, I’m sorry, that was just too tempting to do. Let me try again…
Time management for us Millennials is the ability to properly plan out and prioritize your schedule, to be both effective and efficient with your time and goals. In other words, optimize your life. That way you can get 110% out of life that others are “too busy” to experience.
Here is what good time management is not:
- Boring– How can turning dreams into reality be boring? When you manage your time properly, you will be putting actual dates to goals you set. I can’t think of anything more exciting than that!
- Hard– The first few times you implement a new time management strategy, you might struggle to overcome habits you’ve unconsciously formed. Stick with it, you’ll get faster and it’ll get easier.
- Owning a calendar– This is a great first step! But if this is all you’ve done, there is still a long way to go to stop feeling stressed by to-do lists.
- All work and no play– Good time management gets rid of distractions to be productive in the things you choose to be. If you get rid of all the things you enjoy, you’re not managing, you’re eliminating. Learning how to balance work and fun is key for good time management. Just check out this post on how to use Time Management for Work-Life Balance!
How to get started with Time Management
It’s super simple to get started with some basic time management. Perhaps you’ve read “how to” posts before, and even those can feel overwhelming. Don’t fear. You don’t need to jump into everything at once, in fact, I recommend that you start with just 1 or 2 tips and build up from there.
You are trying to rewire your brain’s go-to time distraction after all. It’s gonna take some focus.
- Here are my top 5 recommendations to start being productive with your time:
- Choose a daily planner divided into time slots. I highly recommend Day Designer planner and after searching all over the internet here’s why I chose them.
- Sit down to plan the week every Sunday night.
- Write work, school, events in your planner and block out those times.
- Plan for breaks and downtime in your planner.
- Choose one distraction, set a time limit, and put it on your calendar (i.e. Facebook for 15 minutes after work, news for 10 minutes at lunch).
You’ll now have a solid foundation on which to build other time management skills. Once you are comfortable doing these 5, expand to include others listed next!
Tips for Succeeding at Time Management
Do you struggle to hit the snooze button in the morning but skirt into work a few minutes late? Have you hopped on Facebook for a “quick peek” and look up from your screen 2 hours later? Do you plan out your day, but rarely accomplish what you set out to do?
Not to worry, my friend. Because these used to be some of my biggest struggles I experienced every day.
Each of us is different, what is easy for you to control could be my kryptonite. For that, be sure to keep checking if you’re being productive or just busy. Then adjust with these tips to be a productivity pro.
Here are my top 4 tips to actually stick to your weekly plan! After you’ve mastered those, I’ve provided a printable to help keep you accountable to your goal!
Plan for the Week on Sunday
Planning for each week on Sunday night can help get you in a productive state of mind for Monday morning. It’s a quick way to lay out the week, letting you know what time you have open for other projects not already scheduled.
Personally, I don’t like to plan out more than a week at a time. This is because things change, some get rescheduled, some get canceled, and others added. This can make for a messy planner if too many changes happen from planning ahead.
When I plan on Sunday, I schedule things like this:
- Work Schedule
- Lunch / Dinner Dates
- Volunteer Work
- Blogging Time
- Gym Time
- When to Wake Up
- Afternoon Breaks
- Study Time
And that’s just a glimpse at what all you can include in your Sunday night planning! I know it seems like a bunch for some of you, but it only takes 15-20 minutes out of my Sunday night relax time. And honestly, I feel more relaxed when I’m able to know what the coming week looks like.
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Let Go of Perfectionism
I don’t know if this will be news to you or not, but you’re not perfect. Sarcasm aside, it took me a really long time to learn this. I thought if I work hard and don’t give up I can get close to perfect, but at what cost?
Time was the price I paid for being a perfectionist. Not only are you trying to achieve something that is unachievable, but you’re taking forever to do so. Being an effective time manager isn’t about getting it right all the time. Nor is it about letting something that was supposed to take 10 minutes to take 5 hours.
You’ll have to be okay with “okay” to have time to do other things. And trust me, I know that is much easier said than done.
But taking control of your perfectionism now can help you out in SO MANY ways other than just time management. It can even lead to a happier life!
Delegate or Ask for Help
Another mindset that could be holding you back from success at organizing your time is the fear of looking weak when asking for help or delegating tasks. This was the number one feedback I had for coworkers in my management role, so I know it’s a real hurdle for some to get over.
The short of it is that you are smarter for recognizing your weaknesses and the strengths of others.
By delegating tasks to others you are working to free up more time for things you really enjoy, or things only you can do. No one will think you’re delegating because you can’t do it. And seeking help from others could quite easily cut your task time in half if not more!
Use the 2 Minute Rule
The 2-minute rule is one of my favorites because it’s so cut-and-dry. It addresses the problem of what to do when a new task gets added to your already scheduled to-do list.
- If the task takes 2 minutes or less, do it right then.
- If the task takes more than 2 minutes, add it to your to-do list and do it later.
You’ll get all sorts of thrown off if everything that is added throughout the day takes immediate precedence over your carefully planned task list. Once you’ve added the new task to your list, you can give it priority over other tasks, but now you’ve got a plan for the unplanned.
If these don’t address where you’re struggling, there are so many useful tools not only to learn how to manage your time but even succeed at doing so! For example, Adjusting to Adulthood has 11 super awesome time management tips for you to stay organized.
Common Questions You Might be Wondering About Time Management for Millennials…
What is the best planner to use?
- This really depends on what you need to plan your time. Personally, I like to choose a planner broken down into an hour or half-hour time slots. This lets me see my day in a chronological order, instead of a jumbled mess. Day Designer is one of my absolute favorite planners to use!
How can I sit down to plan my week when I already don’t have time?
- Be like Nike, and just do it. Seriously, if you’re where I was, you really are busy but you’re doing all the wrong work. Take some time where you normally wind down watching TV, reading, social media, and plan out your next week. Start with the 5 steps listed above to get started. Then, work each week to plan a little more. Soon, you’ll find your time is being used to be productive and planning will be way less stressful!
I think I’m good at managing my time, but how do I know?
- Oh, you’ll know! Ask yourself: am I achieving the goals I set for myself? Do I feel accomplished at the end of each day? Am I stressing over things I don’t need to? Can I make more time to do the things I enjoy? Do I over-book or over-schedule myself often, or ever? If you do this, often you’ll have your answer.
How do I stay productive when I feel overwhelmed?
- Understand that you can only do what you can do. And be okay with that fact. Stressing over being stressed is a terrible cycle to get caught in. Take a moment to breathe first. Yes, you have a million things to do, but you can’t quit breathing or you’ll get none of them done. Next, re-evaluate your to-do list. Maybe you overbooked yourself and can move things around. Do things have to get done right away or can they be shifted to a less pressing time?
When do I switch to another task if I haven’t completed my current one?
- Knowing deadlines is the key to this answer. If the deadline for a certain task is today, say you’re out of clean undies. Then go ahead and finish up that laundry. But if it doesn’t have to get done by the end of the day, then set your designated time and move on. If you’re on a roll and can’t stop or you’ll lose it, be aware that you’ll need to plan on losing a task you had scheduled to complete later on.
How do I stay as productive at home as I am at work?
- Apply the same principles you have at work to your home. If you work off a to-do list at work and always have a notebook around, get one for home. You probably don’t have a TV running non-stop in the background at work, do you need to have one on at home if you have lots to do?
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Time Management for Millennials
Know that no matter where you are in life, or how busy you might be, taking control of your time will help you be more productive each day. I want to see you achieve your goals and have the time to live your life the way you want to live it!
Please share this to help others live a positive, stress-less life too. I’m always up for learning new ways to keep stress away! So, let me know your favorite time management tips or success story below.
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