How to Get More Done

Eva Zheng
Edited by Zoe Jones
Published on
December 18, 2022

At the end of the day, there is an end to the day. We succumb to the 24-hour block of time after a long day of work, fatigued. But did we truly get the most out of our day? More often than not, to-do lists are left undone, excused by the lack of time. But here is some truth: you can make time.

Parkinson’s Law

“Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.”

Setting a specific block of time to a particular task is especially useful for a few reasons. If you are a procrastinator, “scheduling” a time to do homework can help you feel obligated to work on that assignment, as if it were a meeting or a sports practice. Furthermore, setting a time block can help you visualize limitations in time, which in turn forces you to work more intensely within a shorter period. Quality over quantity - think of intense work as quality, and time spent as quantity.


If you haven’t already, start keeping a list of tasks you’d like to complete throughout your day. There are many outlets for planning. Here are some suggestions:

  • Notes App: Simple note-taking app that can be used as a list maker. The check-box feature makes it easy to keep track of completed tasks. Can be synced across devices.
  • Notion: Note-taking software designed for companies/groups to share a platform for work. However, it is also commonly used by students as a hub for their work and life. Offers great customizability and can also be synced across devices using the same account.
  • Bullet Journal: Great for someone that would like to hand-write their tasks, but in either a personalized or unstructured way. Bullet journals were originally meant to be blank journals that could be filled with tasks using a simple legend designating the type or progress of a particular task. However, it was popularized and can be used as a personalized journal/planner, boasting different spreads for each month.
  • Planner: A simple, structured way to keep track of tasks over time. Users are given set spaces to fill in their work.

Time Blocking

As you keep track of your work, try to jot down the approximate time it has taken you to complete a certain task. For instance, writing a practice Document-based question (DBQ) for history took 1.5 hours this day, 45 minutes another day, 1 hour another day (and so on). To time block efficiently, either select the shortest duration of DBQ writing or estimate the average between these days.

You can use almost anything for time blocking:

  • Google Calendar: Set up calendar labels to different aspects of your life (eg. social, school, extracurriculars). This type of time blocking device can be useful when you want to move tasks around.
  • Notebook: For those that would like to write their time blocking plans down, a lined or gridded notebook could be the way to go. Cal Newport, author of Deep Work writes about this in his blog.
  • Applications: Another great way to time block is through platforms specifically designed for it. This method could be a good way to get into time blocking as it is already structured for users to input their tasks.

There are a few things to keep in mind though. As you begin time blocking, recognize the patterns in your daily routine that can be predicted for the weeks following. For example, a set class schedule, club meetings, or sleep. More importantly, be honest with yourself. We’ll have a natural tendency to overbook our day with time blocking, but understand that it’s unsustainable. It is important to leave breathing room for things that come up and just to relax.

Now go on and - literally - seize the day.

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