Do you procrastinate or put things off until the last minute? Do you want to be more productive and efficient with your time? Do you feel like you’re always stressed out or don’t have as much time as you want for relaxation and fun?
Make a schedule, and stick with it!
Time management is a skill you can use in all areas of life: school work, social life, hobbies, career, family, work and even everyday chores and appointments. Time management is a broad category that includes prioritization, scheduling, goal setting, and other techniques to help you be productive and motivated, and to make sure you have time for everything that is important to you.
Manage your time - set your schedule up to work for you!
- Plan ahead each week. Spend time filling out your schedule or updating your planner. There are apps, electronic schedules, paper schedules and planners in every shape and size. Find one that works for you.
- Identify time for studying. Be sure you leave enough time for all your coursework and assignments. Assign tasks to specific days and times. For example, “Thursday from 4-6 pm: Read Chapter 7 and take notes," will be more effective than "Thursday: Study Chemistry."
- Factor in time for interruptions, distractions, and emergencies (Burka & Yuen, 1983). We recommend making sure you have extra flex-time in your schedule to deal with unexpected events. When these occur, update your schedule so that you still have a solid plan for the week.
- Be realistic. When estimating the time it takes to accomplish a task, try to be accurate and over-estimate if in doubt. One mistake students tend to make is anticipating things will go more quickly than they actually do. Leave yourself adequate time, and if you get done early, you’ll have free time!
- Schedule breaks, and plan a balanced week. Part of the benefit of managing your time is that you can schedule in time for relaxation, exercise, socialization and other things that will help you achieve balance. Your personal life and goals are important and need the same attention that your academic life does.
- Assess your system. There are dozens of ways to manage your time and many tools to choose from. Ask yourself, "Is my system working? How can I tell? Does anything need changing to make managing my time more effective?" If you’re unsure how effective your system is, consider keeping a time log; it will give you a chance to see how you spend your time and decide if it aligns with your goals and values.
- Keep looking ahead. A weekly planner only gives you a glance of the current week, and might not show you a big project or important deadline on the next page. Make sure you scan the upcoming week as well so you can plan ahead.