7 Tips for Students to Organize and Manage Time
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that college students today are busier than ever. They have more exams, longer classes, a more difficult schedule, work, studying, and something called a life that they have to find time to explore and understand.
Most college students have so little time to complete everything they need to take care of that they have to work their schedules to make time for everything, which often includes forgoing sleep. If college students could manage their time with a little more efficiency, perhaps they’d find life a bit less overwhelming and a bit more manageable.
Need some tips for how to find more time to do the things you need to do? Here are seven good ones.
Create a Time Schedule
This is more like a diary than anything else. If you were to spend a week writing down every second of your day — which you surely don’t have the time to do — you’d be able to see where the bulk of your time is going each week.
The trick here is to be completely honest about your time each day. If you really spend a staggering 40 hours a week planted in front of the television, you’ll know what you need to cut back on to make time for everything else.
Of course, you might find that the bulk of your time is spent commuting or doing other tasks. Either way, once you know where it’s going, it’ll be easier to manage.
Turn Off Electronics
It’s difficult to accomplish much of anything when all you do is spend your time checking emails, texts, and social media messages. If you turn off your cell phone, computer, and tablet during study time, class, and work, you’ll be able to accomplish more in less time.
This frees up time later in your day to get other things accomplished. In fact, if you can schedule a time to return text messages, emails, and social media messages, you’ll be less tempted to check them throughout the day, leaving far more time than you ever thought possible.
Practice Saying “No”
As a college student, you just don’t have time to take your mom’s friend’s daughter around town for the weekend so she can get a good idea of what the college is like, and then decide what she wants to do next fall.
If it’s not of benefit to you, if you really don’t have time for it and it’s not all that important, then you should be saying no. Learn to do it. Sometimes it feels wrong, but if you’re sacrificing your own precious time to help someone who doesn’t really need it, it’s not worth your time in the first place.
Time Your To-Do List
Since making a to-do list is one of the best ways to see exactly what you have to accomplish, try adding time to it. What this entails is listing what you have to do and how much time you will spend doing it.
If you only give yourself one hour to answer emails or finish a project, chances are much better that you’ll accomplish more in that hour than you would have otherwise. The focus you give to a project is increased simply by adding a timeframe to the activity.
Try this for everything you have to do, and you might be surprised how much more time you have at the end of the day.
Use Your Calendar to Your Advantage
That smartphone with its integrated calendar and timer is something you should be taking advantage of, since it’s there. Try creating reminders for certain projects, time yourself doing things, and make sure you can clearly see all you have to do today on your calendar.
When you can see it, notice the time you have left, and calculate exactly how much you have to do tomorrow, this might inspire you to work a little harder and a little smarter today, which leaves tomorrow free from today’s worries.
Use a Reward System
This method of time management doesn’t necessarily help you manage your time better, but it does help to motivate you. Say you have a big project due this week and you can’t figure out where you’ll find the time to complete it.
Try bribing yourself with a reward. For example, if you are in desperate need of a pedicure or a haircut, reward yourself with that only when you finish your project. If your embarrassing hair or toenails are driving you nuts, you might finish that big project a lot sooner.
This also works to help you keep better track of your time. You can offer yourself an end-of-the-day reward, such as a milkshake or a glass of wine, when your to-do list is completely crossed off. You can offer yourself a vacation if you manage to make it through six months of managing your time efficiently.
Get a Good Watch
One of the easiest ways to manage your time with the utmost efficiency is to get a good watch. A great timepiece is one you’ll want to wear and admire. While admiring your watch, you’ll be reminded of the time and how little of it you have left to accomplish all you need to get done.
A good watch is one that’s reliable, waterproof, and expensive enough to be made so well that you needn’t worry about it breaking down on a regular basis. After all, you simply haven’t the time to make a trip to the watch repair shop anytime in the near future.
Time management is a skill that everyone should develop. This applies mostly to college students since they have some of the busiest schedules around, but it’s an important lesson for just about everyone, from company executives to parents with children.
When you learn to manage your time appropriately, you’ll find that you benefit in other ways. Your stress level will drop, your attitude will improve, and your productivity will increase significantly. If this doesn’t make life easier, nothing will.