Some students find the transition from high school to college challenging on their time management skills. In high school, your parents and teachers may have structured much of your schedule, but in college, you have greater freedom and flexibility. Learning how to properly manage your time is essential for getting the most out of your college experience while still getting good grades.
Here are some tips for proper time management while in college:
1. Get Organized
Organizing your tasks and time is one essential step for management! As organization can be daunting at first, it will help your overall time management in many areas:
- Create and check off to-do lists
- You could create daily, weekly, or monthly to-do lists to better organize your tasks overall
- Once you complete a task on the list, check it off so that you can focus on the next item
- Look into your schedule ahead of time
- This can help you see when you will be busiest throughout your day
- Plan study sessions at times when you know you will have a good block of time to delegate on focusing on class materials
- Utilize calendars or planners
- Class syllabi can help display semester or year calendars for events and assignment due dates
- Creating your own monthly calendar can help you organize all your events in a visual manner
- You could use a calendar as a to-do list as well by checking off your assignments or tasks once they are completed daily
- Focus on school and social events
- As college can be full of assignments, exams and study sessions, don't forget to plan for social events as well
- Social life in college can be just as important as academic needs in this time
- Be smart about your availability and priorities when planning social events
2. Avoid Procrastination
As college can come with many social events and activities on campus, you should know what to focus on at different times:
- Try not to put off studying
- Waiting to study or complete an activity or assignment can hinder your ability to learn and remember things
- Make time for working or studying throughout the week
- Don't wait until the weekend to focus on important tasks
- Social plans tend to pop-up on the weekends
- Find time throughout your day or week when you are most available to focus on class or work needs
- The sooner the better
- The sooner you get things done, the sooner you will have time to relax and enjoy other activities
- Getting tasks done sooner in your week or day can leave you with spare time to enjoy in other ways
- Less stress
- By sitting down and getting needed tasks completed, you save yourself the stress you may have received from waiting to complete that task later on
3. Prioritize Your Time and Tasks
College can mean trying to juggle work, school, friends, family, and extracurricular events all at once:
- Think about what is most important to you
- Set priorities of aspects in your life
- Focus on the most important aspects first
- It's okay to step away from organizations to focus on yourself
- As we all want to be involved in organizations or social events, it's okay to take time away from them to prioritize other things in your life
- Mental and physical health should come first
- Don't let your tasks take over your life
- Focus on yourself and your own needs first
- When studying, take frequent breaks between sessions
- According to Clemson University, plan to study two to three hours per week for every hour you spend in lecture, but break up your study time into frequent, relatively short bouts of time
- Determine which subject or task needs priority over others
- Some tasks or class subjects can take priority over others
- List your tasks, classes or priorities in an order of importance to help visualize your needs
4. Create a Steady Study Environment
Are you used to studying with music, studying in a loud, clustered environment, or studying alone in your personal space? Find the perfect steady study environment for you:
- What do you normally do to focus?
- How do you normally study?
- How do you focus on important tasks at hand when needing to complete things on time?
- Everyone is different
- Your study environment needs can differ from others'
- Do you prefer quiet or noisy environments?
- Time of Day
- Do you prefer morning or evening hours?
- Do you prefer to me alone or together with others?
5. Goal Setting Can Help
Setting goals throughout your day, week, or month can help you manage time and tasks appropriately:
- Set times for studying or completing certain activities
- Set times within your daily or weekly schedule to focus on certain tasks
- These times are able to change depending on your week and activities overall
- Avoid long, last-minute cram sessions
- By setting goals for task completion, you avoid having those last minute cram sessions
- Setting goals can mean more free time
- Getting your prioritized tasks done first can allow for more free time later in your day or week, once your goals are met
6. It's Okay to Take Breaks
Breaks can give you the needed time to ensure mental health and ability:
- Avoid burn out
- Breaks can allow you to mentally get away from the stress, anxiety, or overwhelming feelings
- Burn out is real, and it can happen if you don't take breaks from your tasks
- Concentration for too long can be exhausting
- Take small breaks in your concentration times to avoid exhaustion
- Take time for yourself
- Prioritize yourself and your own well-being
- Do activities that you love when you are able
- Find the best way to relax and take time to do those activities
- Relaxing can help you destress and take needed breaks from work or tasks
7. Set Routines
Do you have a set routine for your day? Do you follow a daily schedule? These may help with your management overall:
- Set a daily schedule
- Do you get up at a certain time? Or sleep in until whenever you feel comfortable?
- Setting a time to get up and get ready can help with prioritizing your tasks for the day
- What do you do to prepare?
- Do you have a schedule that you utilize daily for tasks, classes or work?
- Set things in place so that you have enough time to make your events, assignments or tasks on time
8. Consistency is Key
Keeping these skills and tasks in mind will help you in time and task management. You have to be the one the choose these ways of living and prioritizing for the successful result though:
- Keeping priorities in place can help
- Be consistent in what you choose to do with your time
- Don't let your goals get away from you
- If you start following certain time management plans, don't quit them once it gets tough or overwhelming
- Continue in your successful track
- Life can get crazy and messy, but stick to a plan that works best for you and your time management
I am a current junior studying at the University of Missouri - Columbia with a major in Journalism and a minor in Sociology. I have interests in photojournalism, documentary journalism and design fields. I would love to work with the topics of sports, multimedia and design. I look forward to growth in my journalism and design experience through this internship opportunity!