Managing your time in college, and in life in general, is one of the hardest things to do. Between going to class, studying, eating, and socializing, it can seem like you have no time at all. But if you can’t effectively manage your time, you’ll probably find yourself behind in your classes and missing out on a lot of things that you want to do. But with these tips, you’ll be able to make better use of your time and learn how to get everything done and still have time for some fun.
1. Use a schedule/planner.
This is something I am notoriously bad at, but it really helps. Having everything you have to do written down in your planner can make sure that you don’t forget anything (obviously) and will help you to better plan what you need to do. By using a schedule, you can make sure to block out times for everything you need to do, and give yourself a deadline. Deadlines always help to focus better, because they give you a reason to do the work, otherwise you’ll just put it off. If you have a schedule you’ll likely stick to it, and you won’t miss any appointments you have and it will be easy for you to know when you have time to schedule others.
2. Make a daily plan
This goes along with the schedule. Wake up every morning and write-up a plan for your day. Know what you need to get done that day and how long it will take you. Make sure you have a little extra time for interruptions, or between tasks, so if something unexpected happens you’ll be okay. By making the time in your morning to plan out your day, you will have a better idea of how to use your time for the rest of the day, and you won’t end up watching TV for three hours instead of doing homework.
Some things you have to do will be more important than others. If you have a paper due in three days but a test tomorrow, you’ll want to spend more time on the test than your paper. Have rankings for your to-do list, this will help you to postpone activities that aren’t really necessary until you have the extra time. It’s not saying “no,” it’s saying “later.”
4. To-Do Lists
Making a to-do list can be a good idea so you can see everything you have to do. To-do lists can sometimes pile up and you become stressed out about how much you have to do, they aren’t always a good idea. But I personally like using a list because it gives me an idea of just how much I need to do and it won’t let me forget it. Plus it feels great when you get to cross something off.
5. Be flexible
You can’t predict sickness or accidents or anything like that. So make sure that if something happens that causes your schedule to change, you go with it. You’re the one in charge of your time, don’t let it control you. Rearrange your schedule to make time for the unexpected that happened to you and don’t stress out.
6. Use free time wisely
If you take a bus or some other form of public transportation to school or work, use that time to get caught up on some reading instead of playing games on your phone or just listening to music. Or if you’re in a store waiting in a long line, you can use that time to study for five minutes. When you have a free moment while you’re doing something else, take advantage of it.
7. Have good study habits
If you take school seriously and develop good study habits, you won’t have to spend as much time studying the night before a test or working on that project the night before it’s due. By breaking up studying or working throughout the week, you’re giving yourself more time every day for other things. Plus, if you make a study schedule, that will easily help you to plan the rest of your day around that.
8. Watch out for time wasters.
We are all guilty of it. We check twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc., and then all of a sudden an hour of our time is gone. Do your best to avoid these. There are blocks you can install that won’t allow you to access these sites during specific hours, or only allow you to be on them for a certain amount of time. If you have a hard time controlling yourself, this could be good for you. When you’re studying or doing work, do your best to not answer your phone unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s a good habit to turn your phone off so you won’t be tempted to use it. All those times you check a text message will add up.
9. Make sure to have a clock or timer.
If you tend to get so caught up in what you’re doing that you lose track of time, using a timer or placing a big clock in front of you will help to make sure you stick to your schedule and don’t spend more than you allotted (unless you really need to finish it and you still need more time).
The most important thing you can do to manage your time better is to be organized. If you are organized, you will better see what you have to do, which will help make sure you get it all done. Most of these tips are just ways to help you get organized so that you can make the right use of your time, instead of wasting it trying to find out what you have to do and by when. If you can manage your time in school, you should be able to get everything done in a timely manner, and fit in that extra time for friends, eating, and sleeping.