By Emma Hackett, Staff Writer 

Time is precious. With only 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, and - let’s face it - only a limited number of years before time becomes utterly irrelevant, time is perhaps the most valuable commodity we have. Therefore, learning to harness its power and use it to our advantage is one of the most powerful ways to avert the quarter-life crisis and take control of our lives. Fortunately, while this entails more organization, it doesn’t usually entail more work; rather, its all about working smarter, not harder (as the old adage says). Planning your time effectively is essential to achieving success in anything, and here are a few tips to help you get there:

1. Prioritize on sleep.

I get it - it does occasionally happen that life gets to the point of being so busy that sleep seems like a complete waste of time, especially if you’re “not even that tired”. However, it turns out that getting enough sleep is not only foundational for living a happy and productive life, but the lack of it can also lead to a whole host of mental, physical, and emotional problems. So, do yourself a favor, and get at least seven hours of sleep on most nights. It’s one of the best things you can do with your time.

2. Get an early start.

This one goes two ways - getting an early start to your day, and getting an early start on that project. The two do usually go hand in hand; a 2010 study shows that people who get earlier starts to their day are much more likely to get more important stuff done. Waking up in time to be truly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for work or school means that your time there will be more productive, and you might even find that you have the energy and motivation to get a head-start on a few things.

3. Be aware of tech consumption.

As much as we all love the endless possibilities of the internet, we all know deep down that spending a ton of time on it is probably not good for us. Let's take Youtube as an example: 72% of millennials use Youtube regularly, and they’ll spend 48% more time watching online videos than consumers of other age brackets. This is just one example of the dramatic increase in social media usage which has taken place with the advent of the millennial generation. On average, millennials spend 18 hours per day consuming some sort of media. That is a lot of time staring at a glowing screen. So, I highly recommend downloading an app called  "Moment". "Moment" - whose website reads, "Put down you phone, get back your life", will let you set daily limits for yourself and notify you when you go over. Just think all the time free up for other important tasks. 

4. Guard your calendar.

Keeping a solid calendar is absolutely essential to good time management. Not only are you consistently aware of what’s going on in your life - which prevents that eerie and uneasy Sunday night idleness, where you feel like there must be SOMETHING due tomorrow but you just can’t put your finger on what it is - but you’re also able to prioritize better. That is, you’ll be more likely to say no to less important things, while freeing yourself up to spend as much time as you need on the important things (because honestly, when you say yes to everything, then nothing is really that important). This is also essential to the #smarternotharder lifestyle; a smart use of time demands organization with your days, and ultimately, less hard work with better results.

5. Form good habits.

Fact - there is nothing which informs our choices or actions more than our habits. The way we see the world is profoundly affected by our habits, and what we repeatedly do becomes, essentially, who we are. So, if we are determined and conscientious about forming good habits (like getting to bed earlier, not procrastinating, budgeting our time on social media, keeping a solid calendar, etc.) then we will not only look like we have our life together, but eventually, we actually will.

And isn’t that the goal of time management anyway?