Time management, or organizing your activities to make the most of your time, is an important skill to develop in college. It can be helpful for students to think of college as a job, with a schedule of both fixed and flexible commitments, as well as a responsibility to keep oneself on task in the interest of productivity. Time management requires an ability to design, as well as maintain, a realistic schedule. Below are some tips to help you create and keep a schedule that works for you.
Create a term schedule: At the beginning of each semester, write out your weekly schedule, accounting for every hour that you are awake. It is easiest to do this in a columns and rows format, with columns representing days of the week, and rows representing hours in the day. Start by writing in fixed commitments (class time and work hours) as well as time for eating, bathing, commuting, running errands, exercising, etc. Schedule blocks of time for studying, and be realistic about how much time you need. With the remaining time, schedule leisure activities, such as hobbies, or hanging out with friends.
- You will need to order your priorities. First priorities are set in stone, whereas second priorities are more flexible.
- After the first two or three of weeks of class, you will have a better idea of your work load, and can adjust your term schedule.
Write a weekly work list: Over the weekend, review the next week’s assignments and develop a list of everything that must get done that week. Include due dates, the amount of time needed, and the resources needed to complete each assignment.
Keep a daily "To Do" list: The night before, write down your tasks for the next day in order of priority. Although you will use your term schedule and weekly work list to inform you, you may include other things, such as one-time appointments or errands that must be run. As you complete tasks, check them off.
Use an online calendar or planner: An online calendar or planner is a convenient way to organize information, and may be a good place to keep your term schedule, weekly work lists, and daily "To Do" lists, along with any other obligations, such as special events or appointments.