All of us want to be more efficient. It's the Next Big Thing: everything from cars to light bulbs is focused on efficiency and economy of motion and work. Odds are, you’re probably not as efficient as you’d like to be.
A lot of what goes into being efficient is about planning things out well, especially in your work and school.
For example, pretend you’re assigned a five page paper due at the end of next week.
Most people won’t do anything until Thursday evening.
Some people will start work on, say, Wednesday.
A rare few will start work on Monday.
What would you do?
Here is a three-step process to help you plan out your work and start being more effective.
1. Get a calendar (of sorts)
First thing you need is a calendar. Actually, it doesn’t have to really be a calendar. It can be a piece of paper, if you like.
The point is, get something with dates on it, even if you have to write them yourself.
Some like to use the planners you can pick up at your school’s library.
2. Break things up in chunks
As soon as you get an assignment, break it up into manageable chunks, things you can do in a couple hours at most.
In the case of a five page paper, the chunks might look something like this:
- Research and Outline
- First Draft
- First Draft
- Edit and Proofread
The first draft is split into two chunks, since it’ll probably take longer than a couple hours to do it (depending on how epic your typing skills are).
3. Plan backwards
Once you’ve got all your chunks planned out, slot them into your calendar, starting at the end.
It’s super important to plan backwards with school assignments, or you’ll often find yourself scrambling at the end to fit stuff in.
So, let’s say this five page paper is due Friday evening. Just pop each chunk into your calendar, one each day, starting with “Edit and Proofread” on Friday and working your way back to Monday.
Now all you have to do is just complete whatever chunk your calendar has you working on! No more worry about getting it done on time. No more time wasted trying to figure out what to do and when.
The ten minutes it takes for you to plan out your assignments like this pay off in a major way throughout your academic career and even into your professional life.
It works with things other than papers, too. For example, let’s say you’ve got 100 science homework problems to complete. Just divide them up and slot them into your days.
Or your boss wants you to complete a major project. Divide it up into chunks and slot the chunks into your days.
You’ll become more efficient in your work, and much more worry-free!
What methods do you use to plan out your time? Share some in the comments below!