By Stefan Forrestal-Swaintek, AmeriCorps member serving on the MFS Investment Management team with Channing Elementary School

If you were to tell me in college that I would be writing about effective time management skills for a City Year blog post, I would thank you for the laugh and then continue on my way to the library to finish a paper that was due in an hour. My service so far with City Year has shown me exactly how useful it is to plan out a workflow and keep track of deadlines. While I am still working on the finer points of time management, these basic guidelines are a good starting point for anyone who has a habit of procrastination:

Tip #1: Get a Planner

Seriously. Get a planner. These wonderful instruments of time management were invented for individuals who need help keeping their life in order. If you are anything like me, you received these in grade school and would only use them to figure out the length of holiday breaks. It took me until this year that they truly can be useful to remember dates, events, and projects.

Tip #2: Utilize Self Care

If you are unfamiliar with City Year culture, AmeriCorps members are encouraged to designated times during the week to care of ourselves. Since service can be draining and stressful, this time can be a great way to unwind during the week and stay motivated and inspired. Perhaps there's a good book you've been yearning to read but felt you never had the time to do so or an artistic hobby you haven't indulged in awhile? Even though you need to take the time out of your day or evening to do this, it will benefit you in the long run. By taking time out to relax and collect your thoughts, you are able to recharge yourself so you can work effectively.

Tip #3: Don’t Say Tomorrow

Procrastination is your enemy. It is your kryptonite, your Achilles’ heel. Regardless of whether you are in grade school, high school, college, graduate school, or in the workforce, you will always have daily work. As much as you wish this fact of life is not true, you are going to be held accountable for that work. Putting your work off until the next day will only make your life more stressful. The best thing that you can do for yourself is power through what you have to do. Your future self will thank you greatly.

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