4 Time Management Tips that Involve a Little Investment of Time

You have probably heard the old adage of unclear origin: It takes money to make money. Substitute the word "time," and the saying applies to time management as well: It takes time to make time. Sometimes you have to spend a little time to have more time later. These five time management tips require a little investment of your time up front, but once accomplished will help you be more efficient and effective later.

These tips are helpful for anyone, but especially for the nontraditional adult student trying to juggle the many responsibilities inherent in having a job and doing it well, raising a family, and going to school, whether full time or part-time. 

You'll want to cruise through our other time management tips: Collection of Time Management Tips.

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Prioritize with the Adult Student's Priority Matrix

The Adult Student's Priority Matrix
Deb Peterson

Have you heard of the Eisenhower Box? It's also known as the Eisenhower Matrix and Eisenhower Method. Take your pick. We have adapted it for you, the adult student, and renamed it the Adult Student's Priority Matrix.

The matrix is attributed to the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said at an Address at the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Evanston, Illinois on August 19, 1954: "Now, my friends of this convocation, there is another thing we can hope to learn from your being with us. I illustrate it by quoting the statement of a former college president, and I can understand the reason for his speaking as he did. I am sure President Miller can. This President said, "I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent."

The president who actually made the remark is unnamed, but Eisenhower is known for exemplifying the idea.

Tasks in our lives can pretty easily be put in one of four boxes: Important, Not Important, Urgent, and Not Urgent. The resulting grid helps you prioritize 1-2-3-4. Presto.

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Get Rid of Energy Drains

Changing light bulb - Tetra Images - GettyImages-156854519
Tetra Images - GettyImages-156854519

You know all those little projects you shove aside to take care of "when you have time?" The light bulb that needs to be replaced, the weeds in the garden, the dust under the sofa, the mess in the junk drawer, the little screw you found on the floor and have no idea where it came from? All of these little chores drain your energy. They are always in the back of your mind waiting for attention.

Get rid of them and you will have less stress. Change the light bulb, hire the neighbor kids to weed the garden, fix whatever is broken or throw it away (or recycle it if you can, of course!). Mark these energy drains off your list and, while you might not actually have more time, you will feel like you do, and that's just as valuable.

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Know Your Most Productive Time of Day

Coffee at Desk - Image Source - GettyImages-152414953
Image Source - GettyImages-152414953

I love waking up early and, after breakfast, sitting at my desk with a steaming cup of coffee before 5:30 or 6 and cleaning up emails, browsing social media, and getting a head start on my day while my phone is quiet and nobody expects me to be anywhere. This quiet time is very productive for me.

When are you most productive? If you need to, keep a diary for a couple of days, writing down the way you spend your hours. When you identify your most productive time of day, protect it with gusto. Mark it in your calendar as a date with yourself and use those hours to accomplish your most important work. 

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Discover Why You Procrastinate

Eating at desk - Chislain and Marie David de Lossy - Cultura - GettyImages-83779203
Ghislain and Marie David de Lossy - Cultura - GettyImages-83779203

When I was trying to lose weight, I kept track of everything I ate. That little exercise helped me to realize that I got up from my desk to get something to eat when I was procrastinating--a double whammy! Not only did I not get my work done, I got a little fatter.

When you keep track of your time, you just might discover why you procrastinate, and that information is very helpful. 

Kendra Cherry, Psychology Expert at About, can help you with procrastination: The Psychology of Procrastination