Time Management Experiment

As it is my senior year, I have found that it is extremely easy to become overwhelmed with the numerous college applications, scholarship applications, AP classes, and other extracurricular activities, each with important responsibilities. When planning for the year, the time management system I used in my junior year seemed incompetent to handle my senior year schedule. So far, my senior year time management system has been all but destroyed, as tasks constantly fell through the cracks, and it did nothing but cause me stress. Therefore, I spent the past six weeks testing out two new time management systems.

Because I know that it is difficult and virtually impossible to change everything in one’s time management system immediately, the systems were made of parts of my previous time management systems. I would define these time management systems as the format one uses to capture tasks and complete them on time. For example, what reminds one to complete it and where one schedules the tasks are all part of the time management system.

The first system I tested consisted of all digital tools: Todoist (app store) and Google Calendar. I planned to use Todoist to schedule tasks and capture tasks, as it has a unique tool that helps one batch tasks on each day. I planned to only use Google Calendar to schedule events.

While it was easy to access and sync between my phone and laptop, it was hard to access in some classes at school. This created an extra step to write down those tasks in classes I am not allowed to use technology and later schedule them online. Todoist eventually became a huge to-do lists of work I had not done for days and even weeks. It was hard to reschedule it. This perpetuated and worsened my stress. However, Google Calendar was easy to access and quite efficient. Therefore, it will be in the second system I tested as well.

The second system I tested consisted of all paper. I had tried this before through my junior year, and my sophomore year included paper and white boards. Previously, my Day Designer planner was simply insufficient. I needed to be able to schedule tasks easily as I captured them. I printed my Google Calendar and placed it in my Day Designer with a binder clip. Then, I would schedule tasks immediately, skipping the arduous and often inefficient process of to-do lists.

While this system was easy to access in all my classes and anywhere I needed it, it would easily become a to-do list. Because I do not always have the time to predict how long it will take to complete a task and when the best time to do it would be, I created a “to schedule” list, which, long story short, became another to-do list. This also became overwhelming and no longer was easy to manage.

(Sidenote: An obstacle I noticed in both systems is that I often underestimate the length of each task. This has been consistent with each time management system i have tried, even in my freshman and sophomore years. Therefore, this is not a fault of the above systems, but it is a fault of mine.)

Verdict: Paper!

When judging these two systems, much of what I am thinking is how they both made me feel. Did I feel stressed or overwhelmed? Did I feel in control? Time management systems should relieve stress to be competent. The second system (paper) was much easier to control, as it was not all in an imaginary cloud, and I could see each day’s tasks easily. While it is still a work in progress, and this system is far from perfect, I now know where I can begin to make adjustments to this system.