Do you ever wish you had 27 hours in a day or 8 days in a week?
The college years seem to be the time when everyone has so much going on that they wish they had an extra day in the week to get everything done. That’s why time management skills are crucial at this point in life. When people have too much going on and don’t have good time management skills, their grades suffer. Try these tips to see if you can squeeze more out of your day.
1. Make a prioritized "To Do" list
Consider the ABC approach to prioritizing your time. Put the activities that are most important in the A category and do them first. The next most important activities are in the B category, the least important of your activities in the C category. The C category might consist of activities that do not need to be done until next week, so they may eventually make their way to the A category.
2. Know your instructions
There is no bigger waste of time than following the wrong directions for an assignment. If you're not sure, ask your instructor. And make note of the level of depth, detail and accuracy that is called for on a task. Unless perfection is called for, don’t waste valuable time trying to make every project you do letter-perfect.
3. Find the right time
When do you do your best work? You might be more efficient if you know this. For example, do you find your mind wandering more at night than during the day? Find the time of day that you concentrate best.
4. Tackle the tough stuff first
The fact that you do not want to work on a project doesn’t mean it is going to disappear. Stop procrastinating and start working on something, even if it’s the smallest task. You will be getting work done that you will not have to spend time on later. And the feeling of achievement you will get from this can add momentum to the rest of your day. Build on success!
5. Become a taskmaster
Figure out how much free time you have each week. Give yourself a time budget and plan your activities accordingly. And at all costs, don’t cram! It’s effective and inefficient. Organize the way you study for tests to allow yourself plenty of time.
6. Use spare minutes wisely
Eat your breakfast and read the paper at the same time, or if you get out of class early go run a few important errands. You can get a lot done in a few spare minutes. And don’t underestimate the power of waiting time. Make good use ofthe hours you spend in lines, between classes, etc. to read a book, jot down ideas, etc.
7. Yes, you can say “No”
If your friends ask you to go see a movie tonight and you had already planned on studying, tell them you had already planned on studying. You don’t always have to say no, but keeping your short- and long-term priorities in mind is important. Even when scheduling important activities, be careful not to over commit and spread yourself too thin. Commit yourself only to those activities you can manage in the time you have.
8. Review your notes every day
Take a minute or two to review your notes. You might find that you retain more information for a test than if you try to cram it all in a few nights before … and you won’t start sweating whenever the professor is looking for a student to answer a question.
9. Recharge your batteries
Yes, sleep is important. Little or no sleep makes it hard to concentrate, unless you’re concentrating on how badly you’d like to be sleeping. And proper exercise and nutrition will help you stay physically fit and mentally alert. Make time for these, but consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Lastly, even when your schedule is packed, try to devote some time each day to doing things that recharge your creative batteries or simply help put your life in perspective.
10. Keep things in perspective and reward yourself.
Setting goals that are unrealistic sets you up for failure. While it's good to set high goal, be sure not to overdo it. Set goals that are realistic and reachable. Don’t forget to reward yourself for reaching your goals. This will help keep you motivated.
Adapted from: http://www.academictips.org/ and Channing L. Bete Co., Inc., 1980.