Are you trying to balance work, school and life while working toward getting your CPA designation?
Many face this challenge and feel they don’t have enough time to complete assignments, do office work and relax with friends and family, and yet how are some able to manage this effortlessly?
Some people have harnessed the power of being organized at a young age or over time and it is never too late to learn and teach yourself this life-hacking skill. If practiced every day, this skill will benefit you throughout your life, not just in education and career but in everyday activities as well.
One thing to remember: Never be hard on yourself because everyone learns at a different pace. You will see results but may not at the same time as your peers.
We have listed out some planning tips to get you started on your journey to getting your time more organized.
Why does it help?
Setting goals help you get things done quicker. If you have a set of goals and manage your time well, you reduce the chance of procrastination and tasks will take less time.
- Planning can yield higher productivity. If you plan out your tasks, there is a higher chance you will get more of those things done.
- Less stress and worry. Without any goal or planning, it is easy to get stressed when the tasks keep piling up. Take some time every night to write down your tasks for managing your time better, this will reduce that overwhelming feeling and give you a clear goal in sight.
When you have several activities to get done in a day, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Here are some steps you can use to plan out your activities.
- Make a list
- Starting a physical checklist (subpoints, if needed) will help you see the number of things you have to complete. When you finish a task, cross or check off; it feels good to have something done. Tip: If you don’t know where to start, find a task where you can get your quick win, which can motivate you to keep on!
- With your list before you, it will be easier to prioritize what needs to get done first. Rate or rank your activities based on importance or deadline so you can see what needs your focus first and what can be left for later, if necessary.
- Break bigger tasks into smaller ones
- If you have a task that involves several steps or will last several days, break it into smaller, achievable chunks.
- Time out activities
- Give yourself timelines to get things done. Allocate a specific time to the activity. For example, study assurance from 9:30-11:00 am, and stick to it. Remember to schedule breaks as well. If you break the schedule, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on it again.
- Reward yourself
- When you check off an activity on your list—especially one that is more involved or, do something nice during your break that you will look forward to, like making a cup of tea or enjoying a short walk in nature, that will make you more productive.
Below is a list of activities. What would you do first? Our suggestions for how to prioritize them follow.
- There is an assignment due tomorrow
- The dishes need to be washed
- You have an exam in two weeks
- You need a new hat for winter
- You must go pick up your child’s cold prescription before 4 pm
- There is a sale at your favourite shoe store today
This is the priority ranking that we suggest:
- There is an assignment due tomorrow
- Prepare for an exam coming up in 2 weeks (allocate some time each day)
- Pick up your child’s cold prescription before 4pm
- Dishes need to be washed
- Pick a new hat for winter
- Sale at your favourite shoe store
The assignment would be a high priority item as it is due tomorrow. Make this either the first or second priority and if possible, schedule it earlier in your day.
The dishes are important but can wait, or better yet, delegate it to someone else, if possible.
Exam preparation is a high priority. This should be high on your list, but not necessarily the first item on it. It may be tempting to push this to the bottom of your list, but starting your exam preparation early and allocating a couple of hours every day can help you prepare better for your exam.
Needing a new hat is a lower priority. During one of your breaks, see if you can find something online that will ship to you. Online shopping can be helpful when you are too busy to go to the store. But don’t get distracted by spending too much time.
The prescription is important because it has the earliest and most specific due date for the day. Getting to the pharmacy will have to be scheduled before 4pm, likely well before just in case something unplanned happens. This is an item you may also be able to delegate to someone if possible.
Unless you have no shoes, schedule getting to the sale as an “if you have extra time” activity or plan some online shopping during a break.
Mental Wellness Resources
Our mental wellness resources are available to all students, candidates, and members of CPAWSB. Taking steps to improve your mental health and learning about mental health can contribute to your well-being and academic success.