Time management is the managing of your time, so time is used to your advantage and gives you a chance to spend your most valuable resource in the way you choose. Time management is a skill which involves techniques for prioritizing activities and using time effectively while eliminating disruptions and time wasters. Time management can be learned. Time management is an endless series of decisions, small and large, that gradually change the shape of your life.
One of the more difficult tasks for many college students is how to effectively manage their time. There are many approaches for one to manage his/her time effectively.
Identify your values.
Identifying your values assists you with determining what is important. Knowing what is important (values) provides parameters in making decisions. So, are you making decisions that support what you value?
Goals provide strategic directions for your life. Written goals clarify thinking, reinforce commitment, and keep you on track.
Make a to-do list; then, prioritize each task.
List all tasks, verify due dates, and then, prioritize in order of importance and significance.
Start your work early.
Utilize the first few weeks of the semester to complete reading assignments, outline papers, complete research, etc.
Try chunking big projects.
If a fifteen-page paper is the final class project, break the paper into smaller pieces (chunks); then, assign each “chunk” a due date.
Create weekly schedules.
Block out all demands. Afterwards, designate study time slots. Study time slots can be an hour or less to a maximum of three hours.
Plan a semester at a time. At the beginning of the semester, write down all due dates on a four-month planning sheet. Include in-school and out-of-school commitments, work schedule, etc. If there are multiple assignments due during the same day/week, you will have to start assignments earlier.
A great deal of time management is really about taking responsibility for your learning. Overestimate time it may take to complete a project, homework, or reading assignments. Multi-tasking is not effective and will diminish the quality of your work.
Learn to say “no.”
Overcommitting creates distress and feeling overwhelmed. Only commit to activities and events that support your educational goals. Learn to delegate.
Putting off assignments only makes things worse. Start by creating an action plan for the assignment; then, chunk the assignment into smaller pieces.
Life happens. If something unexpected comes up, “borrow” time in your schedule. Borrowing time may require you to rearrange your schedule and your priorities.