Strategies for Time Management

This is my seventeenth year of schooling, and I like to think that at this point I have learned some tools of the trade. 🙂 Over the years I have experimented with a few different ways of managing my schedule, which I have outlined in order that my experience might help people who are struggling with their own turbulent schedules.

1. Bullet Journal

The only thing that kept my sophomore year of college in any sort of order was my bullet journal. This particular strategy is most effective for those that function better with analog methods than any sort of technology. The website hyperlinked above can explain with more detail, but a bullet journal is essentially a notebook that helps you keep track of both long term and short term goals. One can buy the fancy and tailored notebooks that the creators of the bullet journal sell, but I personally used a simple purple moleskin from my college bookstore. A bullet journal is catered to the needs of the user. I personally used mine to keep track of my homework, my paid work, commitments for clubs and organizations that I participated in, as well as fitness and food tracking. With my bullet journal I was able to keep up with my daily and monthly goals, and in addition to its practice uses in my behavior tracking, I could use it to take notes in class when I forgot my normal notebook, or even just personal writing that came to me in a given moment.

“Talia, wait” I can hear you asking “If you liked using this bullet journal system so much, why did you stop?”

My sophomore year of college ended abruptly, as mono, combined with multiple concussions, meant that I could not participate in my classes properly, and had to end the semester early. Stuck in an incoherent haze, there were a few months of my life where I couldn’t do much more than sleep and listen to audio books. Once I finally recovered it was summer, and while I was taking one class, as well as finishing up the courses I had to take an incomplete on before I could start my junior year, I simply didn’t have the energy to restart my bullet journal again. That summer was one in which I was particularly worn out, still recovering from my concussion, and while I muddled through, I haven’t used the same method of bullet journaling since.

2. Digital Note-taking (OneNote, Evernote, or Similar)

When I stopped using my bullet journal, I didn’t stop using physical notebooks (see section four) But I did up my digital note-taking game. My favorite application for digital note-taking is Microsoft’s OneNote. Using OneNote without the Office 365 subscription, limits its functionality, though I am not sure how much since I do have a subscription and didn’t start using it until I added the student discounted plan to my computer. If one can afford to get the Office suite, I recommend it, and if not, that’s OK, because there are other digital note-taking services out there. Before I got a Office subscription I used Evernote, which has a tiered system, but Evernote Basic is free of charge and usable. I used Evernote before I got the Office Subscription for OneNote, and I never had any serious problems with it. Evernote has similar features to OneNote,, but the basic (free) account limits how many devices you can install Evernote on to two, which wouldn’t work for me since I use OneNote on both of my computers, my tablet, and my phone. Evernote basic also limits offline access to desktop only, which is not ideal since it means that if one was in a dead zone without Wi-Fi the application wouldn’t work.

The great thing about OneNote (and Evernote) is that you can divide the app in to separate notebooks, which are individually stored on the cloud, so while they are all completely accessible online, some can be removed from the computer, tablet, or phone to save space, but still within reach with Wi-Fi. I typically create a new notebook each semester to keep track of classwork and current projects, with a separate section for each class and each short-term personal project. I also keep a master to-do list, bullet journal style. OneNote is the application that I use to save draft emails, keep track of long-term assignments, as well as writing projects. In fact, Word-for-Sense even has a whole notebook dedicated to it. That said, one thing that I don’t use OneNote for is daily, weekly, and monthly agenda tracking for which I use…

3. Google Calendar (Or Similar)

Free with a Google account, Google calendar is my go-to for when I want to keep track of a doctor’s appointment, track when I’ve made lunch or meeting plans, and especially when I block out time for studying. Just as important as putting in what time I have to be in the classroom is scheduling what time I need to be in the library. An important part of making sure that my time is used wisely is knowing when and where I am going to be and what I am going to be doing there. For example, I do my best to schedule at least an hour of Latin practice every day, because with languages, especially in the beginning, memorizing and internalizing the basics is crucial. At the same time, I know that in addition to my school and professional work, I need to have a creative outlet and so a minimum of 15 minutes a day is spent on a creative writing project, even if it is just adding a paragraph or two to a blog post like this one. All that said, leaving wiggle room is also important, and while planning is crucial, setting aside a couple hours a week where one has time to themselves is also essential.

4. Physical Agenda

While I no longer bullet journal, I do make sure that I have a physical journal, because there are some places in life that a computer or phone is either impractical or prohibited. For example, over the eight semesters I spent in undergrad, I can count on one hand with fingers left over how many professors did not appear somewhere on the spectrum between snarky comments about texting during class and outright banning the use of electronic devices in their classrooms. A physical agenda is the easiest way to keep track of what homework assignments are due when, and marking one days of the month I have an exam, presentation, or paper due. Keeping track of those is very important. There was one semester where on a particular day I had a test, an essay due, and a short story due all on the same day. Since I knew ahead of time, I was able to negotiate with my professors to shift the due date of my essay and short story, and thus I gave myself more breathing room in terms of what I was focusing on each day.

5. Not Sleeping

This is a bad idea. Even though it worked when I was younger, ever since my concussion I need seven to eight hours of sleep every night, and I have to say that I’m more productive when I do get my rest. That said, if one does insist on not sleeping a full night, I recommend the following:

6. In Bed Early, Out of Bed Early

Some people are night owls, and I respect that. I used to be one too. That said, I was astonished when I realized how much I can get done in the wee hours, not by staying up into them, but by going to bed as early as nine, and waking up as early as one or two. Staying up for an extra two hours, I could maybe get fifty, sixty pages of reading done and perhaps a two or three paragraphs of an essay. Waking up two hours early, that would be more like a hundred pages of reading and at least five more paragraphs.

Conclusion

I hope that my listing some of these key strategies that I employ will be helpful, and if anyone would like further advice or assistance, as I noted before, helping people with their problems helps me with mine, so feel free to comment or send me a message through the contact form.

Cheers,

Talia

 

P.S. For those who may want tutorials on study skills in general, I suggest watching and internalizing the Crash Course Study Skills videos, and especially as it pertains to this post, their episode about Planning & Organization, which I watched about a year ago and while most of what I have talked about here was stuff I already knew, the video undoubtedly shaped some of the ideas in this post, for all that I had not watched it again until after I finished writing this.

Words of Wisdom: Sh*t My Professors Said in 2016

I pride myself on being a dedicated note taker, capturing every last detail, and over the course of my time at Brandeis, I’ve sat in a whole host of Lectures. I decided that in addition to sharing some of what I’ve learned about my course subjects, I would also share some key words of wisdom shared by professors both current and past. This is the first post in a series, and includes words of Wisdom from professors that I took classes with in 2016.

Fall 2016

What if in 10,000 years people thought that American Idol was literature?

We are not as judgmental as Russian intellectuals.

Dropping Tibetan names makes things sound much more beautiful.

People often ignore Hellenistic influence on Romans, which is stupid because it’s the period in between Greek and Roman.

Never think that all of the work has been done.

If you don’t know what it is, it’s probably religious.

If you are into philosophy you will like Manichaeism.

Annoying as in they put up a pink flamingo, or annoying as in they are going to kill you?

Spring 2016

I’ve decided to give up my job as a Professor of Shakespeare to write 50 Shades of Grey.

If you know how to have a good time why don’t you?

Would a Roman call that unfaithful? No, they’d call it Tuesday.

It will kill me, and I will take you with me.

I am the grammarian about whom your mother warned you.

I maintain this to the death (and I mean yours). I’m old and sneaky and fat.

Why don’t you just shoot yourself in the leg? It seems kinder in the long run.

He was writing a paper on the Aeneid and misspelled it five times.

I actually sat in my TA’s office and whimpered.

Let this be a lesson about being a philosopher and trusting German kings.

Since everybody dies, I don’t think of it as a punishment … We’re all kind of sinful, so I guess we deserve it too.

How many times do you have to be forgiven before people say no? That’s a logical solution which no one ever goes for.

There’s no logic in religion.

The poor man’s just trying to do his job, why are you trying to make him kill you?

They used to write home and say “please send socks.”

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is not.

He was wearing a suit, why does it matter?

Doesn’t even give frequent flyer miles for the guilt trip.

Any sentence that starts with “if you love me” you don’t want to hear the rest of it.

Like my father says “opinions are like assholes, everyone has them and they smell.”

You need to make sure that they are old enough to not kill each other, or torture each other, or whatever they do at that age.

Monks had way too much time on their hands.

He really needs to get out more.

Do you like poetry? Would you rather be nibbled to death by ducks?

The Romans were like “yes, blood, good.”

“Kids these days” has been going on literally since 2300 BC.

Usually the person who says “gather thee rosebuds while ye may” is the one who wants to have wild passionate sex with you.

Sometimes when I talk about the 60s, I really mean the 60s. Nero.

Purple and Cerulean Blue Sheep, just what I wanted.

I have brothers, why would I fight fair?

There’s a guy whose got his shit in a pile.

A General Update

They say that time flies, but I didn’t quite believe it until I woke up this morning and realized that we’re already halfway through July. So much has happened in my life in the past few months that I feel as though I’ve got whiplash. So many good and bad things have happened since I graduated college a little over two months ago.

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Our engagement rings!

I can confidently say that the happiest news is that my girlfriend is no longer my girlfriend because she is now my fiancée. 😊 That said, it is a bittersweet happiness, since it comes on the heels of the death of my aunt Malika, who I continue to love even though she is no longer with us.

Meanwhile, I am still in the process of unpacking from my big move, and my toaster continues to be evasive, but I will find it eventually. 🕵🏾‍♀️ I suspect that it and the waffle iron are conspiring to stay hidden together.

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time working. Especially since due to a series of events I’m not going to talk about on the internet my hours for my internship have increased. So I am spending more time at the office than I was earlier in the summer.

As the school year inches closer and closer I am both nervous and excited. The excitement comes from my usual source of anticipation when it comes to the fall, the start of a new semester. The nervousness comes from the fact that a significant portion of the people that made Brandeis home for the past few years will be gone, as only a handful of my fellows from the undergraduate class of 2018 are staying for graduate studies at the university. I’m not overly worried about the rigor of classes, since I have been taking graduate level courses since my freshman year and specifically took some as a graduate student my senior year, but I will miss my friends. Those of you who subscribe to this website can expect to see some of the contents of what I am studying as I full intend to discuss what projects I am working on through this website.

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My library before I organized it aka proof that I have plenty of books to write about 😎

For those of you looking for more book reviews, don’t fret! I’m still reading and writing about it afterwards, and I’m quite excited to write my review for Friday as I quite like this book! No spoilers about which one it is though.

In any case, I’m about to catch a train so I must bid you adieu!

Cheers,

Talia