Time Management: Do It!

As you set forth to successfully manage your time in college, here are some tips:

Before each term, talk with other students, counselors, tutors, and instructors about the time demands of different classes.

Determine what a realistic workload is for you.

Reflect on how even the classes and assignments you enjoy the least are relevant to your interests and goals.

Do not communicate by phone, e-mail, text, Twitter, or Facebook, and don’t go online during planned study and homework sessions. If you study in your room, close your door.

Turn off the computer, TV, CD or DVD player, iPod, or radio unless the background noise or music really helps you concentrate on your studies or drowns out more distracting noises (e.g., people laughing or talking in other rooms or hallways). Silence your cell phone so that you aren’t distracted by incoming calls or text messages.

Try not to let personal concerns interfere with homework. If necessary, call a friend or write in a journal before you start to study and then put your worries away.

Remind yourself of the possible consequences if you do not get down to work. Then, get started.

Create a to-do list. Check off things as you get them done. Use the list to focus on the things that aren’t getting done. Working from a list will give you a feeling of accomplishment.

Develop an agreement with your roommate(s) or family about quiet hours. Say “no” to friends and family members who want your attention; agree to spend time with them later. If that’s not possible, find a quiet place where you can go to concentrate or take advantage of time when others in your household are sleeping or gone to focus on academic work.

Make your academic work your top priority. It should not take a backseat to extracurricular activities or other time commitments.

Break down big jobs into smaller steps. Tackle short, easy-to-accomplish tasks first.

Promise yourself a reward for finishing the task, such as watching your favorite TV show or going out with friends. For more substantial tasks, give yourself bigger and better rewards.

Take on only what you can handle. Learn to say “no.” Do not feel obligated to provide a reason; you have the right to decline requests that will prevent you from getting your own work done.

Spend time with your financial aid office mining opportunities for paying for college expenses before adding more hours to your workweek.

Remember that college should take only a few years of your life, so any shuffling you do with your priorities and commitments will be temporary. College needs to be high on your list of priorities, which means that other priorities will have to shift until you finish.