5 Time Management Strategies for Researchers

Do you always find yourself too stressed out as things to do come your way? Do you feel that here are just too many research tasks to attend to each day and you need time management strategies badly? Here are five time management strategies for you.

If you are one of those guys looking for ways on how to manage their time more effectively, here are 10 time management strategies distilled from the research literature and from people who managed their time well enough to meet their life’s goals.

5 Time Management Strategies

1. Track how you spend time

Log your time. It is important that you know where your time actually goes. Knowing your typical use of time can guide you in understanding how you behave each day of the week.

By logging the actual time you spent on things will help you identify which of your activities really matter and which ones are just time wasters. That will give you an important insight if there really is a need for you to make changes in your routine.

If you are comfortable with what you are doing, then congratulate yourself. You’re a good time manager.

If not, then it’s time to take action. Time for you to read and apply the next strategy.

2. Prioritize your activity

Do the important and urgent ones first than any other category of activities or work. There may be things that are urgent but not really important so  you can just skip them in your schedule.

So what things are both important and urgent? This varies of course between people because each individual has his own set of priorities in life. What may be important for you may be unimportant to someone else.

For example, socialization may be deemed necessary by others but you find yourself uncomfortable dealing with people. That’s because you have a different personality. So why bother. Just follow your heart and do things you like without being pressured to attend a party or whatsoever that you don’t like anyway.

This means that you should have a set of priorities that will guide you in determining which things are both important and urgent. List these priorities down to remind you each time you are in a decision making situation.

3. Arrange your things and files

Arranging your things in their proper places can help you save time. Retrieval will be easier in a well organized environment. Just don’t overdo doing the organization as this will also eat valuable time.

Specifically for your files, a simple scheme that you may adopt will be to categorize your files according to priority, that is:

  • Important and urgent,
  • Important but not urgent,
  • Urgent but not important, and
  • Not important and not urgent

You may use this filing scheme in your computer to avoid wandering about while searching for the digital files you need most. Despite that there is a search facility for computers, many users do not know this feature and how to make best use of it. Simplify by getting your files at least in the categories where they should belong.

4. Give ample time to do your best

Doing your best each time can save time. While there are situations that you need to optimize or do things quickly in neither poor nor perfect state, doing quality work avoids spending time correcting errors.

Take note, however, that quality is sometimes confused with perfectionism. There are always things that you will likely miss. So missing out a thing or two is normal.

In empirical research, there are always rooms for error. This is referred to as probability of error. Errors are opportunities for others to criticize or make corrections on what you did. This paves the way towards a healthy interaction.

5. Have time for relaxation.

Giving yourself time for relaxation energizes you to face another hectic day. Reward yourself by doing things that excite you after accomplishing a major task. Subconsciously, your will to do another challenging task will strengthen and do another thing with vigor.

If you are health conscious and justifiably you should be, a jog or brisk walk in the morning each day can help you relax. Moderate aerobic exercise of 150 minutes each week can get you into good shape.

A healthy body means more time to do important and urgent work as well as keep you out of the sick-bed. You will then be more energetic and productive.

Adopting a personal time management strategy can help you allocate enough time to do your passion as a researcher. Doing research entails a lot of thinking.

Thus, researchers must take an extra effort to manage scarce resources such as time. The five time management strategies mentioned can help you figure out the best use of your time.

©2014 November 1 Patrick Regoniel