A Students Guide to Effective Time Management

While in college, there is one thing that’s true for every student, and that’s the fact that there are only a set number of hours in a given day. While pursuing a degree, those hours are often filled with lectures, study, and attempts to have some form of social interaction with friends. A part-time job may also take up several of those hours for some. For that reason, students can greatly benefit from learning methods and techniques that will help them to use their time in a way that is most productive and efficient. This is called time management, and it is a skill that once learned can prove beneficial during one’s time in college and in their professional lives in the future as well. Not only does it ensure that students are able to complete their work in a timely manner, but when done properly, it can improve the effectiveness of one’s study time and help them maintain a better and more well-balanced life in general. Failure to master time management can be a serious disadvantage, as it can hinder one’s ability to excel in college while also resulting in bad habits that can prove detrimental throughout a person’s life. The process of learning how to manage one’s time does not need to be complicated, however, particularly when a few basic practices are regularly followed.

Set Priorities

Every week, people are faced with numerous tasks that range from attending a lecture or studying to completing a project or researching for a report. As the week progresses, these tasks can begin to feel overwhelming if they are not properly arranged and prioritized. Prioritizing work for the week helps to distinguish tasks by what’s most important and what needs to be completed immediately versus less urgent tasks that can wait. A student can prioritize by easily making to-do lists on their tablet or computer or with the help of various planning tools. To determine what should be completed first, start with tasks that are due soonest. If there are several due around the same time, rate each task by the length of time it will take to complete, keeping in mind that some items require preparation such as research to complete.

Set Deadlines

Prioritizing work is only a part of the time management battle. It is also important to set a date or time of completion for each of the projects or tasks. When setting deadlines, keep in mind that it isn’t just about how quickly a task can be completed. Instead, a student should be honest with themselves about how long a project will take to actually complete, as this will help them set the deadline accordingly. For certain people, it can also be helpful to add a buffer of extra time to complete each of the tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to reduce the risk of falling behind schedule.

Create Healthy Habits

Exercise, routine sleep, and a healthy diet are just as important to time management as prioritizing or setting deadlines. If a person is ill or overly tired, they won’t be as productive as they would be under normal circumstances and valuable time is wasted. When a person is overly tired, they are typically less alert and attentive than someone who maintains a regular sleep schedule. A student who does not exercise will be less fit and have less energy than someone who keeps some form of exercise routine. These are just a few of the examples of why students should develop and maintain healthy habits. To make it easier to follow a healthy plan, it may be necessary to schedule time for meals and snacks, sleep, and exercise. In addition, relaxation is also crucial for health, as it can reduce stress and anxiety. When writing other healthy habits into one’s schedule, a person should not forget to include relaxation time.

No Procrastination

The urge to put studying or other tasks off until a later time is a common one for many people during college and beyond. Procrastination is also a source of many problems, as it can result in work not being completed on time or cause one’s quality of work to suffer. People procrastinate for various reasons, including boredom, feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, or discontent. In some cases, procrastination can simply be a habit carried on from high school or earlier. Following a schedule can help some, but it may require other tactics to overcome this particular issue. Individuals who tend to regularly procrastinate may try breaking up tasks so that they are completed a bit at a time, which can make them seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Another tactic is to reward oneself for completing a task in a timely manner. Rewards can be an afternoon free of studying or some other treat that won’t take up too much of one’s time yet isn’t enjoyed every day. If a student habitually procrastinates, they can stop themselves when they identify what their common distractions are. When a person is the distraction, students must learn to say “no” when they attempt to pull them away from their work, no matter how briefly. People can, however, be helpful in preventing distractions when one joins a study group or works with a partner who will help keep them on task and on time.

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