Five great ways to manage your time in college
Your college education can be one of the busiest times in your life. Between the assignments, the projects, the field placements, the work you may be doing, and the life commitments that can come from growing up, there’s a lot to handle. Luckily, it’s possible if you have a plan, and a good sense of time management. It’s easier than you think to manage the time you have, and get the most out of your education. Here’s a few tips on how you can balance that time.
1. Schedule it out
The best approach is to have a plan! Figure out what you need to do every day of the week, at what time, and write it down to create a “plan of attack.” Where you write it isn’t important. Maybe it’s on a wall calendar, or in a book, or on your computer or phone. The important thing is that you’re figuring your time out before class starts. When it comes to how to schedule your time, Top Universities gives the advice to firstly figure out what you absolutely HAVE to do for school, and get it out of the way first, rather than save it until the last minute. It also recommends recording all of your deadlines in one place, as well as assigning each a priority from “high” to “low.” They also give some practical numbers for how much time to schedule: 8-10 hours a day to work, study, socialize, and do anything else practical. That translates into 35 hours a week on college studies, including class time.
2. Know yourself
In order to properly schedule your time, you need to be honest about how you work, and that involves knowing yourself. What time of day you work and study best? Are you a morning person? A night owl? Which tasks will take you the most time to accomplish? Where do you work better? At home, or in the library? How bad are you about tabbing to social media? Be honest, and plan around it.
3. Be prepared to lose some entertainment
You can still live a full life as a student, but you’ve got to be prepared to leave a few of your recreational activities behind. You may not have time to binge-watch another TV show anymore, or see a new movie every week, or some other time-consuming activity. It’s important to take a hard look at what’s most important to you, and what life activities can be dropped. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun. For example, US News talks about making sure to leave time for leisure and hanging out, but recommends you put hard stop times on it, and learn how to tell people that you need to leave and study now.
4. Be flexible
Plans change when they run into real life. Once you’ve made your time management plans, be open to changing them once school actually starts and you get a taste of how things actually work. Sometimes, things take longer than expected. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and rearrange your schedule if it turns out, say, something takes more time to do than you think.
5. At the end of the semester, analyze your progress
When a semester ends, take a moment and have a look at how your time management plans. What worked? What didn’t work? What should you change? Review it, and make new plans. However, take some time to celebrate the parts that did work, too, since you managed to get through a semester at college, and are one step closer to receiving your career.
By Anthony Geremia