How can one prioritize their assignments with activities and work in order to effectively manage one's time?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very interesting question. An element of time management has to do with one's learning style. For example, if one is visual, a different method than one used by someone mainly auditory may be most useful. While learning style theory has expanded greatly, the basic theory of visual, auditory and kinesthetic styles will suffice for purposes of illustrating time management solutions.

Suppose you have a kinesthetic learning style so that you learn by moving things or handling things or doing things. You might devise a system of box compartments that represent study assignments, activities and work with these labeled and color-coded down the left side. Across, the days of the week are represented.

You might then devise a method by which inflexible hours, like work hours, are marked by square blocks matching the color-coding, while flexible commitments, like some activities, are marked by round wooden balls, matching the color coding, that can be moved as appropriate. You could physically lay out your schedule day by day or week by week by moving the balls or blocks to the right compartments. This physical activity will help you remember your commitments as well as help prioritize and effectively manage your time.

For an auditory learner, a system of sounds may be most effective. You might speak your schedule into a tape recorder to play back. You might set the alarm on your mobile (cell) phone to play to a particular song or song genre, say reggae, when work hours are at hand and a different song or genre, say Viennese Waltz, when study hours are at hand, and a third, say Big Band Swing or Jazz, when activity hours are at hand. You would respond with the appropriate mind set and level of enthusiasm when each category of music played, thus helping to effectively prioritize and manage time.

For visual learners, a vision map or a Venn Diagram might be a great aid. Say editing a campus arts review magazine has to be managed with freelance work jobs and study and research paper writing. Each category could have a spot on the vision map or Venn with connected branches for each particular descending or branching out from the category. These would lay out step by step the actions needed to be taken and the deadlines for each step. This would aid in prioritizing by precisely showing the complexity of each task and showing the time management steps needed.

Tying prioritization and management into one's learning style (whichever theory one embraces) can be a great help in prioritizing flexible and inflexible multi-layered tasks that all have their own sort of highest priority.

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