College is demanding. There is no shortage of due dates, exams, term papers, required reading, financial stressors, social obligations, and more. With so much pressure, it is no wonder that students can so quickly become overwhelmed and burned out. Many struggle to the extent that they feel withdrawing from school is the only possible option.
With some organizational skills and, more importantly, familiarity with some effective time management techniques, these seemingly monstrous stressors can be tamed and handled appropriately. In doing so, students facilitate social, academic, and even emotional success. They can maintain a consistent performance in school without sacrificing much time with friends and significant others. This ensures sufficient time for relaxation and enjoyment while still benefitting from the challenges of coursework.
To get started on your time management regimen, prioritize your list of responsibilities. Identify all the things you need to accomplish during a given week. This includes school assignments, athletic events, personal appointments, bills to be paid, and social engagements. Categorize them based on how important they are, and begin with the most pressing items. If you find that your obligations are too extensive, think about what you can reschedule or possibly even eliminate all together. For example, a routine dental cleaning is something that can wait, but a research project worth 50% of your final grade isn’t.
As you meet your responsibilities, remember to pace yourself. Balance the tasks you have to complete with the time you have available. Estimate how long each duty will take and schedule it accordingly. Be sure to allow time to take breaks for self-care! Do not neglect the importance of adequate rest, nutrition, or exercise. These are the things that enable you to function efficiently; without them, you will not be able to perform to your full potential.
While you are formulating a plan of action, take advantage of the opportunity to get organized. Greater organization equals greater ability to manage your time. In your designated work area â€“ if you don’t have one, you should â€“ separate your books, papers, and other documents and place them neatly into accessible, labeled areas. Then use calendars to outline the time you have scheduled to fulfill your obligations, as well as when they are due. Consider allotting deadlines to duties that don’t already have them, and color coding the categories on your calendar will make it easier to interpret. School-related tasks can be written in red, for instance, while social plans are written in blue and personal appointments in black.
Prepare for the unexpected. Do not manage your time so rigidly that unforeseen events are liable to jeopardize the whole system. Relationship issues, sickness, family troubles, financial difficulties, and countless other dilemmas can arise at any time. Your schedule should be flexible enough that it can be adjusted as without risking catastrophe of your entire time-management strategy falling apart. If you are struck with the flu, for example, but have no time to visit the doctor because you’ve scheduled hours of vital study time to close to your final exams, you will either be unable to get the care you need or inadvertently sabotage your hard work throughout the semester by doing poorly on your tests.
Remember to reward yourself for what you’ve accomplished. This is important â€“ meaningful rewards remind you that you are progressing, and motivate you to continue. Furthermore, you deserve them! They might entail shopping trips, attendance at your favorite sporting events, indulging in your favorite desserts, or whatever else you find enjoyable.
These strategies need not only be applied to academia. They can be implemented far into the future, whether for the purposes of managing a business, a household, child-rearing duties, or an array of other endeavors. Over time, your time-management efforts will seem less like efforts. They will become habitual actions that enable a lifestyle conducive to success.