|Time Management: Choose Priorities
Choosing priorities, or deciding what to spend less time on or cut out of your budget completely, is one of the most important steps in managing your time. Sometimes we have to choose priorities over the long term, and sometimes we have to do it day to day.
From day to day
No matter how perfectly you have your time budget balanced, there will always be unexpected changes and new responsibilities to fit in. To help you choose priorities when you need to, keep these ideas in mind:
Remember the big things. There are big things in life, and there are little things, and you've got to do your best to tell them apart. Some things that may seem really important today, like getting to the hobby shop to buy a pack of collectible cards, might seem a lot less important in a few weeks or months. On the other hand, doing well on school assignments and completing your family responsibilities are always important. These are the "big things" that you should always consider first when making a time budget. Always reserve plenty of time for these priorities, and use "leftover" time for things that are less important.
Think about what's urgent. You've set aside time after school to do some research on your history paper, but you also have a big concert coming up and need to practice your cello. Which takes priority that day? Well, which deadline is coming up first? If the concert is next week, but the report's not due until the week after, there's your answer. Knowing which task is more urgent is an easy way to choose priorities.
Think about the consequences of NOT spending time on it. Can't decide whether something is worth your time? Ask yourself this: What would happen if you DIDN'T do it? For example, should you finish writing up a science project, or watch a movie on DVD? Let's see:
This makes it pretty clear which of these two things should be dropped from your time budget, right?
Over the long term
Sometimes you know when you'll have to choose long-term priorities, like when you need to pick activities for the upcoming school year. Other times, you're forced to do this suddenly because your schedule has become too packed or you have a new goal, like putting in extra basketball practice because you want to get better at shooting.
To help you make these tough choices on long-term priorities, ask yourself these questions: