What Don’t You Know About Time Management?
Take our quiz and discover how to carve out time for the things that matter—including school.
There are 168 hours in a week.
Even if you’re working full time and raising a family, that leaves plenty of time to pursue the things that really matter—including a degree.
Skeptical? Take our quiz and see where you can free up some extra time!
You and your family need to be at an important appointment by 7:00 p.m. It’s a 30-minute drive. When do you leave your house?
- At 6:45, unfortunately. We’ll call to say we’re running late.
- At 6:30, duh.
- Early enough to allow time to load up the kids and all our stuff, so that we’re in the car and on the road by 6:30.
Answer: Most people underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete any given task—including getting out the door. Start by tracking how much time those transitions really require. Armed with the facts, you can plan ahead and get more control of your time.
What’s the one thing that doesn’t belong on a to-do list?
- A detailed list of all tasks for the day
- The amount of time each task will take
- The movie you want to watch
- That yoga class you’d like to take
Answer: A. Surprised? Experts agree: When you plan your time, it’s better to list three important projects versus 10 urgent-seeming items. Estimate the time each task on your list will require. And, to avoid feelings of deprivation and burnout, prioritize your personal life just as you do school and work pursuits.
What’s your relationship with social media?
- We’re tight. I check Twitter and Instagram first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.
- It’s reasonable. I use it to keep up with people and events, but it doesn’t dominate my life.
- It’s over. I quit using it because it’s such a time suck.
- I was only going to check Facebook for five minutes, I swear! What happened to the last two hours?
Answer: Unless you chose C, you’re probably spending more time on social media each week than you realize. Cat videos are fun, but they won’t get you where you want to go. Try this trick for cutting your social media consumption: Before you log on, decide in advance how much time you’ll spend. Then, whether it’s on your phone or your kitchen stove, set a timer. When it rings, log off.
How many minutes does the average American spend commuting to work each day?
Answer: B. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the average U.S. worker spends more than two hours commuting each week. What does this have to do with school? To avoid extra time behind the wheel, investigate the many online business degree options out there. And if you commute by bus, train or carpool, you just found a couple of study hours each week!
You’ve got some unexpected downtime while waiting to pick up family or friends. What do you do?
- Text a friend
- Check my social accounts
- Play some games
- Any of the above
Answer: Those stolen minutes add up quickly over the course of a week. When you enroll in school, you can use all those bite-sized bits of time to tackle homework, listen to a lecture or participate in a discussion board.
When you need to focus on a project, you should do the following:
- Turn off email and other notifications
- Set a timer and work in focused blocks of 25-50 minutes
- Schedule short 5- to 10-minute breaks
- All of the above
Answer: D. Each of the above is a tip from a workplace productivity expert. The underlying goal? Manage distractions. When we think we don’t have enough time for a task, it’s usually because we get caught up in email, YouTube or other Internet sirens—all of which trigger procrastination.
Do you ever say this? “I’ll just watch a few minutes of TV to decompress.”
Answer: Yes, you do. The average American spends almost three hours each day watching television. Imagine the time you’d free up for life-changing projects like school if you cut down on TV time.
When an invitation or a request for help comes your way, how are you most likely to respond?
- “Sure, you can count on me!” (Followed by some calendar-juggling.)
- “Probably, but let me check my schedule and get back to you.”
- “It depends on how far I get with my [other project] this week.
- “No, I haven’t watched my 2.82 hours of TV yet this week.”
Answer: If you answered A, you may be suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome. To make time for what matters, start turning down invitations when they’re not in your best interest. Here’s a rule of thumb from time management expert Laura Vandercamp: “If it’s a great use of your time, say yes. If it’s merely a good use of your time, say no.”
At what hour does productivity peak for most people?
- 10:00 a.m.
- 7:00 a.m.
- 8:00 a.m.
- 3:00 p.m.
Answer: C. Research shows that most people reach their peak by 8:00 each morning. Do you know when you work best? Whether it’s early morning or late night, that’s the time to focus on important projects that require your full attention.
Time management gurus agree: Planning ahead is the key to a productive day. For every 10 minutes you spend on planning, you’ll save how much time on execution?
- 20 minutes
- 30 minutes
- 45 minutes
- one hour
Answer: D. Toggl CEO Alari Aho is a stickler for a well-thought-out approach to the day. “Every 10 minutes you spend on planning saves you an hour in execution,” he says in an interview with Fast Company. What other investment pays off so well—and so quickly?
Start paying attention to how you spend your 168 hours each week, and you might be surprised at just how much time you really have. As time management expert Laura Vandercamp says, “Time is highly elastic. Put first things first, and it’s amazing how efficient you can become.”
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