Wednesday, September 20, 2023
I am a final-year student and a part-time employee at a social enterprise. Along with this, I also manage chores at home. Time management has always been a challenge for me, but with my thesis soon due and some family emergencies, things have become extremely difficult to manage.
No matter how much I try, I always end up neglecting one of the tasks at hand including my studies, which have taken a massive hit. All of this has left me very anxious and is affecting my physical health as well.
Can you please advise me about efficiently managing all my responsibilities and not staying behind in any way?
An anxious student
Dear anxious student,
I see that you have a lot going on. Time management is a critical skill to possess and is the key to having a balanced and well-rounded life where you can show up in different areas.
The good thing is that it can be learned.
First, let’s look at the reasons why you may be struggling in the first place and what you can do to improve your time management.
Often, we may have a critical task at hand but may find ourselves procrastinating. Procrastination is a fear-based response to what you’d be forced to feel within. It may be a way of avoiding negative feelings such as boredom, anxiety, or self-doubt.
You could also find yourself overthinking and overanalysing and not getting anything done where you may be allowing your perfectionism and fear of failure to come in the way of getting started leading to analysis paralysis.
Could also be that you are lacking structure in your day — in which you end up doing nothing.
Let’s have a look at how we can overcome this.
First things first! List down all the things you need to get done.
Mark your tasks on the basis of priority and urgency. Prioritisation is critical. Which tasks are most important to attend to first? If it is a conflict between personal and professional matters — which one is most critical to attend to first? You can’t do them all at once.
Solve the most critical one at hand first. (For example, if the professional commitment is more critical at the moment, park the personal commitment temporarily and come back to it after a few days). Don’t firefight on both ends at the same time. Avoid multi-tasking — do one task at a time, complete it, then move on to the next.
Follow the FIFO rule — first in first out. Complete the tasks as they come and work your way up.
Chalk out and give each task a time restraint and use that time to complete it. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed during the task, start again and do it for 10 minutes, while completing as much as you can. Then follow up on it the next day.
Structure and plan your day. And last but not least, set realistic expectations. Often we think of doing so many things in a day which gets overwhelming, and we end up doing nothing.
Focus on small wins during the day. Hold yourself accountable and give yourself credit for what you’ve achieved in the day, instead of focusing on all the things you haven’t done yet.
If you are still not able to manage and end up feeling overwhelmed, I would suggest seeking support from a professional, whether it is a therapist or coach, who would aid you in managing feelings of being overwhelmed and guiding you in getting things done.
Hope that helps!
Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.
Send her your questions to [email protected]
Note: The advice and opinions above are those of the author and specific to the query. We strongly recommend our readers to consult relevant experts or professionals for personalised advice and solutions. The author and Geo.tv do not assume any responsibility for the consequences of actions taken based on the information provided herein.