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Time Management

There are two things most people would agree:

  • Bad time management = stress
  • Time must be explicitly managed, just like money

Treat studying like your job - plan to work a full day everyday and some weekends. Many students believe that they will have a lot of free time in college. The fact is though, that you are a full-time student. The normal time expected for every hour of in-class time is an additional 1–2 hours of work outside of class. So if you are taking 15 hours of credit, you should be spending an additional 15–30 hours per week working on your courses. That totals 30–45 hours per week, and thus the description full-time student. If you are having trouble managing your time or finding time to study, here are some helpful resources.

Tips

  • What time of day do you have the most energy? This is the time to do your hardest studying. What time of day are you the least productive? Use this time for mundane tasks: pay the bills, return messages, or go grocery shopping.
  • Start with the most difficult tasks or parts of projects. Then the worst is done and you won’t get to the end of the project and find out you needed more time or there was more to do than you thought.
  • When you catch yourself procrastinating-ask yourself, "What am I avoiding?"
  • You don’t find time for important things, you make it.
  • Catch yourself when you are involved in unproductive activities and stop as soon as you can.

Resources

Tools

Personal Calendar

Having a personal calendar that includes all your assignment and project due dates is a good tool to organize your time and anticipate what is coming. The first week of classes you should receive a syllabus from each instructor, letting you know the approximate dates of assignments, readings projects and tests. Filling those into the calendar will allow you to see what will be more or less busy periods over the semester. You might need to adjust these dates as time goes by because instructors might get ahead or behind in the materials, but you will have an idea of the load in your upcoming week.

Weekly Schedule and Planning Worksheet

Use this worksheet to track your activities for a week. At the end of the week, sit down and review the use of your time. Ask yourself:

  • Am I getting enough time to study? If you are, then it might be the way you study that needs improvement.
  • Which activities don’t need to be in my schedule if school is a priority?
  • Is time between activities wasted? Could I be using it to study if I plan and bring the materials I need with me?
  • Could I be more efficient in running errands or making trips?
  • Am I missing important non-academic activities? Sleeping, exercising and eating are all needed to keep you healthy, and if ignored will end up undermining your academic efforts.
Computer Apps to Help Manage your Time

Google Calendar -  A calendar you can reach from your computer or phone.
Remember the Milk - To do list app that lets you share tasks with others.
Self Control/Cold Turkey - App that allows you to block websites that distract you, for an amount of time you determine, so you can focus on your studies.