How to Manage Competing Priorities

By: Shekeitha L. Jeffries, Assistant Director

An article published in the US News & Report states that saving money is a great thing to do. However, according the article, if we save time, we may also save our health and sanity.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels.

Graduate students may find it hard to manage their time, school work, as well as other personal commitments.  You may have other obligations in addition to your role as a graduate student – such as being a spouse, a parent, caregiver for a loved, teaching assistant or e-board member within a student/professional organization. These various roles can be very rewarding, yet stressful to manage, as you take on additional responsibilities. However, research shows that learning how to manage your time, activities, and commitments can make your life easier, less stressful, and more meaningful.

Here are 3 strategies to begin managing your priorities:

  • Strategy #1: Create SMART goals. Establishing SMART goals, will help you clarify your ideas and help focus your efforts more succinctly.  Your goals are is your personal road map and will help to ensure that you can accomplish what you want in life. To get started, use the goal setting worksheet and identify your personal, educational and career goals.
  • Strategy #2: Prioritize Commitments/Tasks. To prioritize your commitments and tasks, you must determine which things to tackle first.  In order to stay organized and accomplish all commitments/tasks at hand, you will need to arrange them by urgency and importance. Consider using the Eisenhower method, a task management tool, that will help you categorize your tasks/commitments more efficiently.
  • Strategy #3: Organize Your Digital Calendar. To organize your digital calendar, review your daily activities and break them into categories such as personal, family, school and work. Designate specific colors for each category, so that you can easily identify them in your calendar. By utilizing a digital calendar, you will be able to have access to your schedule at all times. To get started use this calendar template make a list of your reoccurring monthly, weekly, as well as your daily tasks/commitments and begin plugging them directly into your calendar.

Please keep in mind, that no matter which strategies you use, in order to be effective  – consistency is KEY. Don’t wait until you have a meltdown to begin managing your priorities, start TODAY!

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