College students often hear many people around them talking about ways to effectively manage time.What does that really mean to students?
Time management is really about making sure we get things accomplished on or before assigned due dates. Some students have effective internal reminders that keep them ahead of or on deadlines. Others of us need some external reminders. Bearing in mind that different items work more effectively for some than others, here are a few methods for keeping track of what needs to be done and when:
A semester calendar
A week by week guide for students to write down important deadlines such as paper and project due dates, exams, quizzes, etc - items often times communicated on syllabi. Keep this in a place where once can see it and interact with it on a regular basis. For some - seeing the whole semester at a glance may be overwhelming - if that is the case one may consider a weekly plan.
A weekly calendar
Use a week at a glance sheet (download here) and write in (in pen) everything that occurs for the duration of the semester, i.e. items that by and large do not change - class days and times, for some work schedules etc. Make 16 copies of the weekly schedule. On Friday or Saturday sit down and add in items for the following week - for example if one has a test on Thursday put that in and then back up five days and build study time into the weekly schedule. This type of system may also allow students to see readily if they have time for extracurricular activities in a particular week. Again, for some this may be too much information - so think about a daily calendar or to-do list.
A daily calendar or to-do list
A daily calendar will allow one to see everything that needs to be accomplished in a very short time frame. For many people this is a challenge because they do not see the test until the day before or day of exam. For some though, if they remember to use the daily calendar a day or two in advance is sufficient.
A to-do list can be useful as an alternative for many people. For this to be most effective one must have strong prioritizing skills. A to-do list allows you to preselect the number of items on the list from most to least important or what MUST be done through what should get done. The tricks are:
- create the list the night before
- during the following day cross off each item as it is completed
- end of the day prepare the next day's list - rethinking about priority
- For example if something on the must get done section is not completed it should be on the top of the list for the next day and so on
Planners - electronic or paper
Which one is more effective? The answer depends on the person using the planner. Electronic planners are nice and often times fun but if the person is not committed to using it then it is another piece of wasted technology. Also, for someone with a tendency toward kinesthetic learning the old paper planner may be the way to go - for some the act of writing and turning pages makes all of the difference. Again, the answer truly depends on the individual - the trick is to know what works best and stick with it.
Where else will effective management be useful to me?
- Know the amount of time for the test.
- Know the number of questions and the value of each question/section.
- ALWAYS bring a watch to a testing situation - students often times are not allowed to have a cell phone in a testing situation so do not rely on the phone as a clock.
- If students have the option to answer questions out of order answer the questions where most points are available first.
- Know personal priorities.
- Schedule time based on priorities.
Any instance where we face deadlines
The most important element related to time management is to find what works for each individual and stick with it. Just because it works for me does NOT mean it will work for you. For additional help or ideas come and see us in SASS - 210 PJPII.