Time management tips for students and career-changers
You’ve realized it’s time for a career change. You’ve done what you can to prepare yourself for that career change. Maybe you’ve even started retraining for a career in UX design, UI design, web development, or data analytics.
Wherever you are in the journey, you’ve probably already realized that changing careers takes a lot of time, hard work, and determination. And no matter who you are or where you live, you’ve got a whole life outside of your career that you can’t just put on hold until you find your dream job!
So what’s the secret? How can you manage your time so that you can work your current job (if you have one), tend to the rest of your life, and still develop the skills you need to land that dream job?
Here are our top seven time management tips!
- Download a notification blocker. In this digital age, it’s all too easy to get sidetracked with seemingly (or even actually) important things instead of focusing on the task at hand. Block the notifications on your devices for more efficient and focused work time.
- Create time blocks in your calendar. Look a week or two ahead and block out the times when you’ll be studying, job hunting, working, sleeping, spending time with family, etc. Of course plans can change, but carving out the time is essential—and it’s reassuring to know that you have the time set aside for the things that matter to you.
- Take real breaks. We know…eating at your desk seems like an efficient way to blast through a work “break”—but then it’s not a break! Get away from the bustle and the screens. Go outside if you can. Play with your kids or your pet (if you have either). Tend your plants. Read a book. Go for a walk. Get a real break.
- Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. Setting goals will help you stay motivated and encouraged! SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
- Leave work at work. This goes for most areas of life—compartmentalize as much as possible (without de-prioritizing things that really matter to you!). This will help prevent burnout and keep you fresh and present for whatever you’re moving on to next.
- Try the Pomodoro technique. This is a commonly used time management technique that involves breaking your work hours down into 20-minute segments. It helps many people stay focused for bursts of time.
- Recognize burnout before it happens. If you’re not careful, productivity and burnout often come (eventually) as a package deal. So be proactive in following these other tips, and take the time to reflect at regular intervals. Ask yourself:
- Am I enjoying my day-to-day?
- Do the people closest to me feel like they’re getting the attention and quality time they need with me?
- Am I on track to meet my goals?
- (If you are on track) Am I working at a sustainable pace?
- (And if you’re not) Are my goals actually achievable and realistic?
- What can I do to make my day-to-day even more enjoyable and relaxed?
- What can I do to make clearer progress towards my goals?
And a bonus tip: Learn from people who have been right where you’re at. The video at the top of this page will give you a head start!
Ewa Mieżwińska is the UX Lead at Panowie Programiści. She specializes in facilitating design sprints, strategy workshops, and creativity sessions, and she is experienced in digital marketing, UX, and business analysis. She works remotely—facilitation and moderation of remote workshops are no surprise for her. Ewa believes that the key to a successful and effective project is empathy and communication adjusted to the client, the industry, and the team working on the project.