Making the Most of Your Time

Share Button


Making the Most of Your Time

By BYUI Counseling Center

Once you have figured out how you spend most of your time, think about what are your most important activities.  Do you have enough time for them?  If you’re like most people, the answer is “no.”  So now let’s consider how to make the most of your time when it seems you just don’t have enough.


Trying to be perfect sets you up for defeat because nobody can be totally perfect.  Perfectionists are afraid of failing, so they often avoid and procrastinate rather than attempting to do something.  Or they may spend so long trying to make it perfect that they either don’t finish everything they are supposed to do or they don’t have any down time.

It’s important to set challenging goals, but they should also be achievable.  Break difficult tasks into manageable chunks.  Remember that the only way to eat an elephant is one forkful at a time!

Don’t be afraid to fail–be willing to “endeavor!”  And then, accept your best effort as “good enough.”  Perfectionists also tend to have a lot of rules about how much they should be accomplishing and doing.  While you are in college, with a lot of your time focused in the “intellectual” area of development, there are limits on how much you can do in some of the areas.  Remember that “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).


Suppose that you made social plans for tomorrow with your friends, and you set aside tonight to study and do laundry.  An acquaintance of yours asks you to see a movie with him/her tonight.  You’re not really interested.  Or maybe you are interested, but you don’t see how you can spare the time.  You want to say no, but you hate turning people down.  Politely saying “no” should become a habit.  Saying “no” frees up time for the things that are most important and helps you feel in control.


It’s important to prioritize your responsibilities and commitments.  The key to accomplishing your priorities is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to first establish your priorities and then schedule your priorities.  Some people don’t know how to set priorities, and so they procrastinate important tasks and then panic when time gets short.

Using a “to-do list” places items in order of importance.  One way to prioritize is the ABC list.

ABC Priorities List
This list is divided into three sections.  Place items that need to be done today in the A section.  Items that need to be completed within the week go in the B section.  The C section is for items that need to be done within the month.  As the B and C items become more pertinent, they are bumped up to the A or B list.  You can try this or come up with your own method, but do something to set priorities.


Combine several activities into one time slot.  For example, while walking to school and around campus, listen to recorded class notes or mentally review the important points from your classes.  This allows you more time in the day for good study review.  While you’re showering, make a mental list of the things that need to be done.  When you watch TV, accomplish tasks that don’t require much thought, such as shining your shoes or folding your laundry.  These are just examples of ways to make better use of your time.


About one-fifth of adults report the habit of routinely delaying tackling tasks that would lead to a more successful life.  Procrastination not only causes stress and self-doubt, but procrastinators are more likely to suffer physical symptoms and to visit the doctor more often.  The following ideas can help you to change your thinking so that you can overcome procrastination.

    • On a piece of paper, create two columns.  In one, write your excuses for not getting started on something.  In the other, challenge these excuses with positive, realistic thoughts.
      • Excuse: “I don’t have enough time.”
      • Response: “The longer I wait, the less time I’ll have.  So I’ll never have more time than I have right now.
    • Write a “contract” with yourself and sign it.  Better yet, share your goals with a friend, spouse, or co-worker.
    • If you worry about what others think, imagine responding to and surviving harsh criticism.
    • Set an alarm on your phone or computer to sound off at regular intervals to remind you of the benefits of completing a task on time.

If you would like help with your time management skills, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or a counselor.