Graduating from college is such an exciting time in a young person’s life. You’re putting school behind you and moving on to a future full of possibility. You may feel as though you have the whole world in front of you and time to do anything.
While raining on your parade is not the intent here, you must realize that time is not infinite. In fact, you only have a certain amount of it every day, week, year, and so on.
Therefore, even though you may be young, you must put it to good use. Otherwise, you’ll wake up one day, five or ten years from now, wondering just where the time went.
To make good use of your time, here are some time management tips for new college grads.
1. Plan Ahead
One of the best time management tips for new college grads is always to plan ahead whenever you can. This can be done both at home and in the workplace.
Make Task Lists
If you’ve ever laid awake with your mind abuzz from all you need to accomplish tomorrow, try this: Make two task lists each evening for the next day—one for work and one for at home.
List what you need to accomplish on each. Then, go through the lists and prioritize them by importance or timeliness. This will help you plan ahead for each day.
When you take lunch to work each day, it makes mornings less stressful if you make meals ahead. Try to do as much prep work as possible at home in the evenings. Prepackage cold items and group them together in the fridge.
The next morning, you must take them from the refrigerator to your lunchbox. This will speed up your morning routine and get you to work quicker.
Lay Out Clothes
Now that you’ve graduated, you can’t go to work in sweats like you may have attended class in college. Most likely, your attire needs to be more professional.
That being the case, you can lay out your clothes in the evening so dressing is faster in the morning. Consult a weather app on your phone each evening to choose proper attire.
Get Plenty of Rest
Now that you’re no longer in college, you shouldn’t need to pull all-nighters studying. That means you really have no reason not to get plenty of rest most of the time. This is one way to plan ahead and manage your time better.
When you are well rested, your concentration is better, which improves your work speed. The number of errors you make is less, eliminating time spent making corrections. Consequently, getting plenty of rest is a great way to manage time.
Meet Deadlines Early
Striving to meet a deadline early is but one of the ways to plan ahead at work. Whether you’re lucky and have the greatest job ever or one that’s “meh”, this goal will help you get ahead.
Truthfully, it may even aid you in a couple of ways. For one, you’ll score big points at work, which could gain favor or promotions. Another benefit is that you’ll be able to manage last-minute work crises with less stress.
Obviously, it isn’t always possible to meet deadlines at work early. It depends on what you do and the volume of work you have. But it is something to work toward if at all possible.
Create Meeting Agendas
You can also create meeting agendas to plan ahead at work. If one of your duties is to hold meetings with others, agendas can save you time.
One way is by keeping meetings on track and clicking along in a timely manner. Another is reducing wasted time trying to fill in absent attendees after the fact. Both of these eliminate lost time and let you work more efficiently.
2. Automate as Much as Possible
Another helpful time management tip for new college grads is automation. When you automate work processes, it frees up your time to do other projects.
Using a calendar to improve productivity and automate as much as possible will save you time. Over the years calendars have improved and evolved over the years, so they have more flexibility than ever.
Learn to use your calendar and all of the options available to automate your work processes. Then, use repetition to get comfortable with what you can and can’t do. This is the key to getting everything out of your calendar that you possibly can.
When you automate processes, you save time. Rather than repeating the same tasks multiple times, try automating instead. Email management is one way you can do that.
Did you know you can make standard email documents and save them? If you send commonly worded emails, you insert any additions, changes, attachments, and addresses before sending them. Using this automation tip may speed up your work by hours each week.
3. Maximize Instead of Multitasking
Every business wants to keep profits high and costs low. To do that, many are all about multitasking to get more done.
Nevertheless, it isn’t always a time saver, which is why you should maximize instead of multitasking. This is one of the good time management tips for new college grads.
Multitasking may hurt your efficiency more than it helps. You can lose time switching tasks as well as making more mistakes. You may even repeat actions you wouldn’t otherwise have done by staying with a task until completion.
But there are ways to maximize your time instead of multitasking.
Schedule Email and Text Time
Constantly checking your phone for emails and texts is distracting. You may have been used to keeping such close tabs on your social life during college.
At work, it’s a different story. Schedule your email and text time to stay on task and remain productive.
For example, look at them in the morning before work, then again mid-morning for a break. You could stop to look again during lunch and halfway through the afternoon. Check a final time at the close of the day.
Of course, if you are waiting on urgent work texts and emails, this method may not always work. But as a general rule, it can speed up your work.
Use on Hold Time Wisely
There is one time management tip, not everyone thinks about. It is using on-hold time wisely when you’re on the phone.
You can do this in a nearly unlimited number of ways. A few examples are to plan what you will say when the call goes through. Or gather needed documents for the call.
You can also do filing, answering short emails, reviewing your calendar, and other simple tasks. All of these actions allow you to use time more efficiently once your call has ended.
Complete Fast Tasks Quickly
When you have several easy and fast duties, finish them quickly. This frees up your time to work on projects that take longer. You’ll feel more accomplished and be able to block out needed time to work with fewer interruptions.
Finish Like Things Back to Back
Need another way to save time? Try finishing things that are similar one after the other. This lets you stay in the same apps and spend less time switching.
Also, your mind doesn’t have to switch modes from one thing to another. Believe it or not, that simple act takes a little time. The more often you change tasks and the more complicated, the more time it requires.
As you enter the real working world, in a manner of speaking, you’ll need time management skills. Use these time management tips to help you be the best you can be in your chosen profession.
Featured Image Credit: Pexels; Thank you!
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