Time management is a skill. However, it is not just any skill, but it is a skill that is crucial to develop in college. With so many things pulling at your 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.
- 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 either Ron (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sarah (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.
- Monthly Calendar 2020 - 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.
- 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.