Time Management PamphletBy: Chris Smith, M.A.
One of the most difficult tasks that college student’s must master is managing their time appropriately. Attending college is an extremely unique experience and students need to make adjustments if they are to succeed. College is one of the first places where there are no set rules regarding a schedule. It can be a very unstructured environment. Classes can start as early as 8 am or as late as early evening and there is plenty of time in between. Time management is one of the most important skills required for the students to be successful at college.
Time is a precious commodity for university students. Although it may seem like you have unlimited time, the truth is: studying, writing papers, seeing friends, getting a good night’s sleep, and attending class take up a great deal of time. If you add to that dating, involvement with extra curricular activities, and working to help pay for school then you can see how limited your may be. With good planning and a little self discipline, however, you can learn to effectively manage your time to allow you to complete the tasks you need.
Keeping a Calendar
The most important step to effective time management is to develop an understanding of how you use your time currently. Start by keeping a daily log of what you do. Try to fill in every hour, including down time, and sleeping. Do this for a week and at the end of the week look at your schedule. By doing this you can look for where you have unmovable commitments and also how you use time not committed to anyone thing. If all of your down time is spent relaxing, then you can see where you have more time to focus on studying or preparing for classes. After you have done this it is important to keep a calendar. Keeping a calendar can help you remember when things are due and how much time you have.
Keeping on Track
Once you have an idea of when things are due the next thing to do is to make a list which can help you stay on task and complete the most important pressing ones first. Once you have finished a task, cross it off. This allows you to see your accomplishments and maintain motivation for the next set of tasks.
Practice Saying "NO"
One of the hardest things to do for many people is to say “no”. We want others to like us and find us valuable. We say we can do things for others because we want them to reciprocate when we ask. Learning to say ‘no’ can be a valuable tool to getting things done and in order to maintain a set schedule you WILL have to learn to say no to friends, to relatives and yes even to professors if they ask you to take on extra, ungraded work. If you recognize that your time is valuable, then others will as well. When it comes to time management you really need to rely on yourself to make sure you have what you need. In college and after you graduate, no one will do it for you. Learning to set your own boundaries and say ‘no’ can help you out throughout your life.