I get asked about my time management a lot. Mostly because I cook, love cooking, and talk about cooking all the time. In grad school, this means a lot of, “How the hell do you have time for that???” from my peers.
Well, I’ll tell you.
DISCLAIMER: I have an obsessive personality. This makes time management a little easier for me than for some people, because I genuinely want to keep track of what I do every hour of every day. As much advice as I may give, it may not work for some people.
1. Keep a weekly calendar.
Not a monthly calendar. Month views are only useful if you do two things per day, ‘cause that’s all you’re gonna be able to see.
2. Schedule EVERYTHING.
Some people think calendars are just for things like meetings, ‘cause you can’t be late. Wrong. Laundry time, study time, cooking time, put it all on there.
2.5 …Even free time.
You may have 10 hours of errands to run on a crazy Saturday, but if you block two hours out to bask in the botanic garden, you’ll feel the effects.
3. Schedule important tasks for the morning, frivolous tasks for the evening.
a) You get the bad stuff over with. b) If you’re too pooped by 6 p.m. to do anything but lie in bed watching Are You Afraid of the Dark episodes on YouTube, at least whatever you canceled to satisfy your laziness wasn’t that important.
This works for two annoying tasks (study in the laundromat) or fitting fun stuff into your day (watch a movie while you cook, listen to Radiolab on the way to work).
5. Turn stuff down.
Do you take on assignments ‘cause they sound fun, only to realize that you’ll have to cut out eating and sleeping to make it happen? Me too. Don’t put yourself in that position—just say no.
You can’t do stuff well if you’re tired. Make yourself a bedtime, then stick to it.
Well, this is how I don’t fall down dead in grad school. It works pretty well for me. If you’re in law school, though, I don’t know. You may just have to suffer.