Suggestions for Time Management
What is it? The ability to use your time effectively.
What will it do for do? It will allow you to reduce stress and anxiety, reduce guilt you experience when you do not accomplish tasks and increases your control over your life and activities.
How should you manage your time?
1. Start by evaluating where your time goes. Consider a week of your time. Where did you spend it? On homework, television, socializing, in class…Be honest with yourself.
2. Consider your priorities. Now that you know where your time went, evaluate how well your time spent agrees with your priorities. If school is a big priority, did you spend enough time studying? Did you have enough social time?
3. Evaluate how you can use and plan your time more effectively. Now that you have a sense of where you want to go, consider some options to help you get there.
Especially for studying:
Plan to study when you concentrate best. Don’t cram. Spread out your study time. This helps you remember. Break down your tasks into manageable pieces, such as 10 pages at a time of reading or 5 problems. To maintain good concentration, don’t study for more than 2 hours at a stretch and take breaks. It’s best to study for 45 minutes to 1 hour and take a 15 minute break. Don’t study the same subject for more than 2 hours at a time. Go on to other subjects. Study each subject often. Keep up with your classes. Review material regularly. An hour spent now will save you several later. Use down times for review, such as during a class break or before dinner. Study your hardest subjects at your best times. Study your hardest subjects first. Keep your materials organized. Quiz yourself as a form of review. Testing your knowledge this way is a very effective use of study time. Do justice to each class. Use your easier tasks as rewards for getting the harder ones done. Reward yourself!
Use a planner consistently and effectively. Find one that will work well for you, whether it is a wall calendar or a pocket notebook. Use daily or weekly “to do” lists. Prioritize and do the more critical things first. Include in your calendar long term goals, such as large projects and exams. Consider your fixed routines, or things that are set such as class, work or meeting schedules. Write in one time events you need to accomplish such a laundry or an event. Remember that there are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. Be flexible in your schedule, but borrow time. That is, if you skip studying to do something more fun, take some time out of your television or relaxing time. Do the same when studying interferes with fun time. Plan for balance. This will help keep you sane and get things accomplished. Leave time for rest, relaxation, work, study, etc. Plan around your strengths and weaknesses. If you know you are productive during the day and not at night, don’t schedule yourself to be so productive in the evening. If you study best at a certain time, reserve that time for studying. Plan generously. We often underestimate how much time we really need. Be realistic. Don’t kid yourself about what you can get done. Being realistic will save you a lot of stress. Give yourself permission to let some things go. Not everything really needs your attention at this moment. What can you choose to ignore for a day or two? Impose deadlines on yourself. Do assignments while help is still available. This way you can understand and do quality work without the nightmare of something going wrong. Take one hour at a time. Reward yourself!
Use Backward Time Planning:
This is a method to help you plan. Use the following steps.
1. Choose a task such as a paper or a project.
2. Break the task down into manageable pieces, such as decide on topic, or write first draft.
3. Estimate the time it will take for each part of the task.
4. Start in your calendar at the due date and go backwards for each task. For example, if your paper is due on the 30th and you need 2 days to type and proof, then write in “type paper” on the 27th or 28th.
5. Repeat this step until you’ve included the whole task.