I have a secret you might not want to hear: homework never really goes away. Sure, the end of your college career might mean the end of working on a sheet of algebra problems or figuring out how to cite something you read on the internet in a scholarly paper, but homework is basically work you have to do at home.
Whether you’re searching for a new job, applying to graduate school, or trying to start a writerly/theatrical /artistic/entrepreneurial endeavor on the side, there are going to be times when you have to devote your out-of-work time to what is basically more work. Only this time, it’s entirely up to you how much work you put into it, and therefore what you get out of it. Here are some tips on managing your time, no matter what you’re working on.
Set a schedule
You can choose to block off certain days or times to work on your project, or you can set yourself a deadline to meet every week or month. Either way, once you set your schedule, stick to it. Don’t let yourself fall into the habit of telling yourself you’ll get the work done when you’re inspired or ready, because you never will.
Figure out your operating units
So you have your overall goal. You have your schedule. Now break down the project into the individual items you need to work on. Resumes. Essays. Outlines. Sketches. Blog posts. Figure out how many of these pieces you need, and how soon you need them, and then plug them into your schedule.
Ask a friend for help
Working on your own can be a challenge even for the most self disciplined and organized. Here is where you bring in reinforcements. Ask a friend to join you in your efforts, or just to monitor what you do. Sometimes, just knowing that someone is expecting to see your work helps you put in the extra effort to get it done.
These three tips are a start to getting yourself ready to manage your own time and manage it well. Of course, you’ll need practice, too. The more you work on your skills, and use them, the better you’ll get and the better you’ll feel.