Often there is a heavy emphasis on planning your time. In the activity at the beginning of this tutorial, you estimated how much time you spend on each activity. Now, it would be a good idea to see if your estimates are accurate.
A useful exercise when beginning to think about better time management is to record how you use your time, and then analyze it. Download and print the following worksheets:
Time Record Worksheet (RTF)
Time Analysis Worksheet (RTF)
You might want to use the first worksheet, which is blocked out into half-hour time slots starting at 6:30 A.M., or develop one that suits your own preferences, to record your time and then analyze how it is being used. A similar method can be very effective for finding out where you spend your money and what you eat all day. You might be extremely surprised about where you actually spend your time compared to where you thought you were spending it.
Before you begin keeping your record, do two things:
1. Develop a set of codes or categories for subsequent study of your time usage. For example:
C = Class Time
W = Work
S = Study
Z = Sleep
T = Travel
You might want to break Class Time down into the specific classes so that you will be able to analyze which class or classes demands the most time. You'll have to experiment a little to see what works best for your personal circumstances.
2. On your weekly time table, estimate how long you intend to spend, or think you should spend, on each activity. Then, record the actual time spent.
Once you have recorded your time over whatever period you decide to use, reorganize and summarize that time in the second worksheet. The second worksheet will use the code set you developed to chart each category by day, total time spent, and estimated time. You will then be able to compare estimates with actual time spent, and see the total time you are spending by day and category.