Time Management plays an important role in successfully completing your dissertation.  If you are like most people, you have some issues with time management. Time goes by and you cannot account for it.  It has been shown that people who effectively manage their time are more productive, less stressed, and more creative. 

Michael Altshuler once said, “The bad news is time flies.  The good news is you’re the pilot.” Below you will find proven tips on improving your time management skills.  These are the skills I have used myself and taught to my clients. 

Plan your schedule  

There are two parts to this.  First, you must create a to-do list that lists all the tasks you must complete each day of the week.  Second, once you have done this, you must then transfer your to-do list onto a schedule by creating blocks of time to get each task done.  For example, you must exercise every day.  Select a time to exercise each day by blocking off that hour on a weekly schedule.  I recommend color-coding it because it easier to see.  This helps prevent procrastination.

Put similar tasks together on the schedule

Tasks that require you to conduct similar activities should be done together. For example, checking your email, answering phone calls, checking texts and alerts. This way your brain stays in one mode for the entire session which allows you to get in the zone and work more efficiently than switching back and forth between activities.

Set Goals

Setting Goals is very important to time management. Because you have so many tasks to consider when writing your dissertation, you need to identify when you want to complete each of those tasks. 

Find your most productive hours  

For many people this is in the morning shortly after they wake up.  This is true simply because they have not yet had to draw from their daily well of patience, creativity, and energy.  For other people their most productive hours are at night or in the wee hours of the morning. 

Focus on one task at a time  

Unfortunately, many people try to multi-task and do more than one thing at a time.  I hate to tell you, there is no such thing as multi-tasking.  Brain studies show that the brain simply cannot focus on two tasks at one time.

Be flexible  

Change your schedule when needed.  People often pick up tasks, jobs, and other activities that must also be completed.  This may require you to alter your schedule.  It is okay to change your schedule.  Just make sure you block off time for each task. 

Take needed breaks  

In fact, I suggest you put breaks into your daily schedule so you can maximize your time. Writing your dissertation can sometimes be all-consuming.  It is not uncommon for candidates to sit in front of the computer for hours on end typing and re-typing sections of their dissertation.  They do this forgetting their brain and bodies have needs that must be addressed.  Block off time to walk, talk to friends, take a nap, or exercise.  

Do not give in to distractions  

When you sit down to write, turn off your phone and tablet, all computer alerts, and any other item that can distract you from writing when you need to do so. This includes making sure your writing environment is clean and free from anything that might distract you.

Avoid being a perfectionist  

Many people try to be perfectionists and it causes them to spend more time conducting tasks than necessary.  Getting your dissertation perfect, is not going to happen.  That is one of the many reasons why there are re-writes. The key is to get something done.  If that is writing your abstract, focus solely on that and get it done.

If you use these nine tips to managing your time you will be well on your way to getting your work done each week. Your challenge now is to implement at least three of these tips and see the positive changes that occur!