I have always been a very goal-oriented person. If there is something that I want, I work hard and will do pretty much anything that is necessary to achieve it. Now, most people would say that this is a good thing; everyone tells us to dream big and imagine that anything is possible. However, I am the type of person that has a lot of goals. When I came into my freshman year at UW Oshkosh, I had a list of things that I knew I wanted to achieve before graduating. My list was pretty typical, in my opinion: pass my classes with honors, find a major that I love, become a club/ organization leader, score an internship, leave an impression with my professors, ect.
However, I quickly realized that there are only 24 hours in the day. But, being the freshman that I was, I knew that this wasn’t going to stop me. I filled my plate with academic clubs, social organizations, class time and part-time jobs. It wasn’t long before my life became a stressful, disorganized mess.
And that was before I had an internship.
Now, being an active leader of my school’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), a full-time student, and the new PR intern at the Weidert Group, I am learning that the time-management skills that were preached to me as a freshman are actually necessary if I am going to succeed.
To all those who are seeking a more organized life, here are a few of the time management tips that I have learned since I started working at Weidert Group:
Use an agenda planner: It seems like common sense, but I was the type of student who would buy an agenda because I knew that I was supposed to have one, even if I didn’t know how to use it properly. Most agenda planners have a space to write daily tasks, monthly tasks and random notes or lists. Use this space. The more that you write down, the more that you will be able to look back on and keep track of. Also, make sure to check off completed items so you are sure of what is completed and what still needs to be done.
Write down everything in one place: Once you have an agenda, make sure to write all of your tasks in it. Don’t write an assignment for reporting class in your yellow notebook, a study guide in your blue notebook and your grocery list on a post-it. Instead, write all of these tasks in their appropriate spots in your agenda. This way, everything that you need will be easily accessible and, as a result, you will already be saving time.
Make a short and long-term goals sheet: It may not seem like it, but we are not in college for very long. So, know the main goals that you want to accomplish by the time you graduate. It helps to separate them into long-term and short-term goals so you know which need to be done first.
Identify time-wasters: If you are of the 85% of college students who use Facebook, you probably spend an average of 1 to 5 hours per day on the social networking site. You also probably spend time texting, e-mailing, watching TV, tweeting and talking on the phone. Imagine all of the things that could be done in the time that is wasted doing these things. Set aside time that is dedicated to homework or studying, and leave your phone in another room during that time. When you are done, allow yourself to check your phone or e-mail.
Prioritize: Identify what needs to be done first, and what is most important. To do this, I find it helpful to order my tasks by their due dates. Then, I start doing the tasks that are due the soonest. Sometimes, these may not be the most enjoyable tasks, but by prioritizing them, I am not tempted to do all of the easy tasks first. Prioritizing will also help you eliminate procrastination. By getting things done in advance, you won’t feel the panic of having to finish something at the last minute.
Schedule time to relax: One of the most important aspects of time management is to make sure that you leave time for yourself. If you are able to leave a few breaks in your day, a jam-packed schedule will seem more bearable. So, whether it’s a half-hour TV show or a short trip to the gym, always remember to carve out some time in your schedule to do the things that you enjoy. After all, life is supposed to be fun! So, stay focused and keep achieving your goals, but have fun while you are at it.
Working at Weidert has taught me so many things, thus far, but the most important lesson has been time management. I consider myself very lucky to be working at such an awesome agency and to have learned these lessons before graduating! This way, I will be able to enter the public relations field organized, confident . . . and stress-free.