One of the most challenging things student will face in college is not the Freshman 15 or picking a costume for a frat toga party! It’s time management. Time management is one of the most important skills a college student needs to learn. The organized college student is a successful and less stressed college student. Here are some tips that will help students develop healthy time management habits:
1. Set up Time Management System.
In college, there is no one screaming for you to get up and get ready. You are on your own! In order to manage, classes, parties, and work, you have to have a system in place. Early in the semester, a detailed time management system needs to be put into action. A good time management system needs to consider class schedule, work, study, travel, sleep, breaks, and holidays.
If a student prefers paper journals and planners, class details should be added to a calendar organizer. Commit to writing everything including birthdays, exams, papers, and tutoring sessions into your calendar/planner.
If the student lives online, most e-mail services have personal online calendar options. Using the online calendar, add entries for assignments, projects, classes and even exams. Your online calendar will send e-mail reminders of important assignments and dates.
If you prefer your cell or can afford a Blackberry, it will be your high-tech solution to time management. Just don’t’ drop it in water. Your electronic time management systems will send alerts or alarms that can help keep a student on task.
2. “Things To Do” Lists
Lists can be your friend. In your time management system, you should also include task lists. Things can get hectic and having a list can keep you focused. Task lists should include simple task and important assignments.
Task lists can be maintained in your calendar/organizer, online e-mail accounts and on your cell phones and Blackberries.
3. Set priorities and deadlines.
In any given week, a college student could need to read chapters, complete a paper, study for a math test, and buy a special gift for mom. Using your “things to do list”, prioritize your tasks. Depending on your relationship with your parents or your academic standing in a class, gift for mom may be at the bottom of the list. Prioritizing your tasks helps reduce stress and helps a student delegate the time needed to complete a task.
When setting tasks, set drop dead deadlines. If you have a paper due in a few weeks, by setting a deadline for the completion of your paper will help you produce quality work and turn your assignment in on time.
4. Have particular study time and breaks.
A schedule should include everything from eating, sleeping and study breaks. There should be set times for study sessions. After all, you are in college to learn. Breaks should compliment hectic schedules. Breaks help you set priorities, segment work, and relieve stress.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Murphy’s Law is in full effect on college campuses. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” And, time management systems need failsafe measures. Times should not be scheduled too tightly and a student should not have so many commitments that every waking moment is filled.
These fail safes make sure that procrastination does not torpedo your system and that unexpected events like illness or family emergencies do to create major set backs.
Remember, time management is learned. To master the skill, you have to work hard on establishing the habit. There are a number of useful books that offer college students guidance on time management, such as Barnes and Noble’s guide, Studying Smart: Time Management for College Students. There are additional sources that can be found on the Internet as well. Check out the following websites for more guidance: