Time management is a skill, and it is a skill that is crucial to develop in college. With so many things pulling at you and only 24 hours in a day, you need to begin to prioritize what you are going to spend your time on. Below is a general list of strategies to help you begin to manage your time, but please note that sometimes it is helpful to meet with someone to help you work through your schedule and/or different strategies. If this is you, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Peer Academic Coach!
- Find a way to stay organized. Since each person is unique, you must discover a way that works for you. This can include bullet journals, weekly/monthly planners, or using a phone/computer/electronic device to record appointments and obligations.
- Write down everything that you have going on. This serves a couple of different purposes - it reduces anxiety by getting everything you are thinking about on paper and allows you to take ownership of the tasks that must be accomplished. Once you have everything written down, you can prioritize your tasks according to how important they are, how long they will take, or when they are due.
- Determine the time of day you function best. Do you function better at 6:00 in the morning or 9:00 at night? You choose! Whenever you are most awake/alert, you should schedule your most laborious or difficult tasks during that time. This will allow your brain to focus intensely when you need it to.
- Do NOT attempt to multitask. People attempt to multitask as a means to save time. Studies, however, show that the opposite is true. When individuals switch from one task to another, it actually takes more time and often the quality of work goes down (Rubinstein, Meyer, and Evans, 2001).
- Focus and avoid interruptions. Go somewhere quiet to work and put away the cell phone! Study after study has shown that distractions limit the brains ability to focus - and yes, this includes listening to music with words. The following link is an article from the New York Times regarding how distractions and interruptions influence quality of work. We encourage you to read it, because it could mean the difference from a D on an assignment to a B. A Focus on Distraction
- Stop procrastinating. Let's face it - we all do it to some extent. But the bigger question is "why" do we do it? Is it because we are fearful it won't be good enough? Does the task feel too daunting or too big to tackle? Do you not understand the assignment or how to do it? Do you just not want to do it? Whatever the reason, the procrastination does not do you any good and can, actually, be harmful to your emotional health if it causes too much anxiety. So, stop procrastinating and start getting things done!
- Take time for you. More often than not, we forget to take care of ourselves when life becomes busy. you need to take at least 20 minutes for you every day. This can include activities such as going for a walk, taking a nap, reading a book (for fun!), working on a craft, playing a video game, or just sitting and resting. Be sure to take the time, but also be mindful of limiting your time, too. it is very easy to let time get away and spend more time than anticipated.
There are several YouTube videos on how to effectively manage your time, but Thomas Frank (aka College Info Geek) has some very effective videos that may have you chuckling while you watch.
Below are several documents that we use with students to help them develop good time management habits. If you have any questions or want any assistance filling them out, please contact an academic coach using the following address: email@example.com.
- Weekly Time Management chart - this is great to use when you are trying to set up an hourly schedule. When you think of your time as a 24-hour block, you can then divvy up your time how you want.
- Semester at a Glance - this tool is great when you want to have a quick glance at the entire semester. Enter in the most important dates, deadlines, exams, etc. to get a big picture of the semester.
- Monthly Calendar 2022 - this is great to use when planning long-term. You should write all due dates and exams for every class on a calendar similar to this so it is in one location. This will help you plan ahead for busy weeks.
- Time Management Calculator - the University of Pittsburg has a wonderful calculator you can use to see how your time is committed during a week. A great visual is provided and you can use this to sharpen you time commitments for impact.
- 21 Time-Management Lessons Everyone in Their 20s Should Know - this was an article from Business Insider that has several great tips for time management.
- Assignment Calculators - assignment calculators are a powerful tool to help students map out their work on an assignment. The calculator will ask for start date and due date and then provide in a date format, the steps a student should take to complete the assignment by the due date. There are several calculators and below are two that may benefit students.