What is Time Management Anyway?

You hear these two words from the first day at college; Time Management. It sounds too abstract and too much like a buzzword thrown about. How many of us know exactly what it means?  The definition of time management is something in the lines of using one’s time effectively or productively to get the maximum output. So, how does it apply to you, the crazed design student?

For one thing, you are all working against a deadline. Every year, every semester, every week, every day... you are trying to finish all your sketchings, drawings, research, prototypes, sewing, models, rendering… and it never seems to end. Three years of your life with an everyday deadline? Stuff we live for!

So how do you balance it all? How do you make time for your dog’s birthday but also finish the 500 sketches needed for the 8.30 am class? Well, for one thing, you shouldn’t wait until the last moment. Having said that, we know nothing motivates us like a last minute freak out session. So, let’s be realistic. Let’s slightly adjust the norms of time management, and have a very real look at the time management holes we dig for ourselves. 

  1. Not starting on the brief right away. 

You know that moment you get the brief, and you see the deadline, and it seems so far away? Two months? Pfft. You got this. The thing is, it’s going to catch up. All the process work you have to do, all the other class projects, and all the days you spent watching movies because you have another month to go… they’re all going to catch up. Start on it as soon as you get your brief

2. Cleaning your room for the umpteenth time. 

Also includes cutting or colouring your hair, painting your nails, trying on all your clothes, and sometimes cooking. Ever noticed how when you have too much work, you tend to rearrange your room because then your life would be complete, your mind would be settled, and you can finally start your work because it was a mess before? Yeah… try to avoid that. I have a method… it’s called the Continuous Distraction Method. Put a movie or TV series you have seen too much of that you can recite it word for word (Friends work!) and have it play in the background. Every-time you feel the urge to chop your hair off, just look up at the movie, and get back to work. This way, you limit your breaks to just 5 seconds rather than 5 hours. Seriously… just don’t deconstruct your body or your house. Leave it for after graduation.

3. Figure out your superpower

I don’t mean your flying or telekinesis powers… I mean figure out which part of the whole process you would rock at. Is it initial research? Ideas? Concepts? Execution? Or just presenting? Once you know what you are really good at, you know how to allocate your time. It does work. When you figure out which part of the process you are good at, then give a bit more time to the part when you’d usually struggle. This way, you won’t be spending too much time on the parts you are good at and then struggle with lack of time on the hard parts. 

4. Do one thing constructive everyday. 

You know those days when you can’t get out of bed, and all you want to do is order pizza and watch Netflix? We all have those days. When the exhaustion takes over, and you can’t get yourself to walk to the kitchen, so you scream from the bedroom asking for a glass of water… just do one thing constructive. Send an email, read some research on your phone, write a To Do List, Google Pettah shops to see if there’s any place that would have the materials you are looking for… do one thing, do anything. Then suddenly it becomes a constructive day. 

5. Find your method. 

Not every time management tricks work for everyone. Understand yourself and you’ll know exactly how you work. Then put it to practice. Don’t be disheartened by other people’s methods. Find your own… and grab the deadlines by the reigns! You got this!