How to Discover How You Use Your Time Effectively (… or Not!)

Relax…it's just a quiz. No one is going to see the results; it's not for a grade and this material isn't going to be on the final. The following time management quizzes will help you recognize how you spend and manage your time. Many people wish for more hours in the day, but with a few simple changes, you could make the most of 24!

First, select the statement that best describes your approach to time management.

My approach to time management is most like number ________.

  1. When you are given a new assignment or project, you start working on it immediately—you gather necessary resources, take notes and develop outlines. In addition, you look ahead at the deadline and identify milestones so that you aren't overloaded with work the night before the project is due. You are always early—or at least on time—for classes or meetings.
  2. You delay starting on assignments and projects and often feel anxious about deadlines. Even though you usually turn assignments in on time, you often feel rushed—if only you had "a little more time!" You are sometimes late for classes and meetings by a few minutes and arrive out of breath and stressed.
  3. "Stress" is your buzzword. You often feel overwhelmed, and you frequently miss deadlines. You think of yourself as a procrastinator who "works best under pressure," but your final work rarely shows your full potential. You are usually late to classes and meetings—and sometimes you figure it's too late to go at all.
  4. You're oblivious to time and refuse to be "controlled" by deadlines. What's the rush? You think society is too consumed by schedules anyway. You never think about "start times," so deadlines often take you by surprise. You're easily distracted and often very late to classes and other appointments.

If your approach to time management is most like number 1, congratulations! You approach daily life in an organized, resourceful manner and can effectively take on new opportunities that come your way. If statement number 2 most reflects your approach to time management, you're doing a decent job at managing work, family and life. With a little more fine-tuning, effective time management will become second nature. If statements 3 or 4 fit you to a "T" you've got your work cut out for you. While it's nice to be spontaneous and unstructured at times, it's not the most effective way to approach serious projects, priorities and goals.

The following time management quizzes will show how you spend a typical day—and pinpoint the specific behaviors that cause you to be a time management pro—or out of control!

How I spend my hours each day:

Record how many hours you spend each day on specific activities. Make sure they total to 24 hours.

  _____ Online/On-campus classes
+ _____ Studying
+ _____ Sleeping
+ _____ Exercise
+ _____ Work
+ _____ Family ctivities
+ _____ Personal care
+ _____ Cooking/eating
+ _____ Housework/chores
+ _____ Commute
+ _____ Television/Video Games/Internet, etc.
+ _____ Socializing with friends
+ _____ Other
=    24 Total Hours

Review your typical day. What are the "non-negotiable" items? Which activities are time-wasters that could be reduced or eliminated altogether? What would you like to spend more time doing? Take the next quiz to zero in on specific attitudes you have regarding time.

How I feel about time:

Score each item according to how often each statement applies to you: 5 (Always), 4 (Often), 3 (Sometimes), 2 (Rarely), 1 (Never)

Statement 5 4 3 2 1
1. I am overwhelmed by too many tasks.          
2. When people ask how I am, I usually answer, "Stressed."          
3. I work best and hardest as a deadline nears.          
4. I feel uncomfortable delegating work to others.          
5. I'm usually late for appointments, classes, etc.          
6. I feel worried and tired.          
7. I procrastinate until I run out of time.          
8. I feel information-overload with e-mail, texting, etc.          
9. I am paralyzed by the thought of planning short-term and long-term goals.          
10. My life isn't balanced.          

How do you measure up? Tally your score: _________

Time Management Pro

You have mastered managing your time and life. Job well done!

Your score: 1-16

You're Getting There

You do reasonably well at managing time and daily tasks. Consider taking an online course for further improvement.

Your score: 17-33

Warning!

You need to change certain behaviors in order to take control of your life. Otherwise, work, family and daily tasks will be a constant source of pressure and anxiety. Enroll in online classes to learn new skills for effectively managing time and stress.

Your score: 34-50

Time Management Tips: Time is on my Side…Yes it is!

Get time on your side with a few of these helpful time management strategies.

  1. Utilize Time Management Strategies
    • Clearly identify what you want to achieve.
    • Break down long-term goals into short-term activities.
    • Set time limits for tasks.
    • Review old notes before class, and review new notes after class.
    • Examine and update your calendar/planner each week.
    • Identify and reduce/eliminate time wasters.
  2. Use Helpful Time Management Aids
    • "To Do" Lists
    • Daily/Weekly Planners
    • Long Term Planners
    • Digital Alerts and Reminders

William Shakespeare said, "Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late." This is a tad extreme, even for the time management pros. But there is wisdom in the playwright's words. Turning in work late, running into meetings late—even one minute—leaves an impression on fellow coworkers, students and instructors. It sounds an alarm that this person doesn't have it all together. So, get it together and time will be on your side!

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