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Twelve time management tips

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

College life is full of classes, homework, assignments, friends, events, and many things begging for our time. We only have 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds in one day. You can complete our list of things to do one by one. Well, maybe. Welcome back to part 2 of the keep calm and study on series.

Part one was all about email etiquette. Part 2 is about twelve time management tips to help you manage your life as a student and still have a social life. Part 3 will share some tips to prep for tests just in time for the midterm season. So without further delay, cause we only have so many minutes in a day - let's jump right into some time management tips.

  1. Get a schedule together online or written on paper. First, write into your planner time times of your classes and meals. Then drop in the spaces that you have time during the day to study and get your coursework completed. Leave a buffer between course start and end times to travel from place to place.

  2. Brain dump - Write down everything you need to complete on your schedule. Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed with everything I need to do, just writing down everything circling in my head helps. I can see what I need to do, which isn't as much as I initially thought.

  3. Prioritize - After writing down everything, prioritize your list and complete the most important task first. I like to do a method that I like to call the Panera to pick three methods - where you pick 3 top things off your list and make a plan to get them completed. Then from that list, 3 prioritize it with the most important item first and focus on that task to get it done. Once you complete the first task, work on the second, focus on it, then the third, etc. If you get all three items off your list, find another item from your brain dump list and get it done. Keep taking small steps towards your goal.

  4. Learn to say no! - Sometimes, you need to say "no" to extra stuff that can sneak onto your schedule. Think about it, when you say "yes" to something, you are essentially saying "no" to something else. So, think about your schedule. What d you have time to do in 24 hours? Prioritize your day and take care of yourself. Be careful with what you are saying "yes" to. Some thoughtful ways to say no, include, "No thanks," "I already have an appointment at that time." or "I can't commit the time that this project needs at this time, thanks for thinking of me."

  5. The time block is an exciting way to prioritize time and see where you spend your time. To time block, look at your schedule and see when your commitments are for classes, extracurricular, practice, etc. Then look at the spaces between your commitments and see where you have time. For example, if you have time from 9:30 am to 10:30 am, block out that time to review content or get started on a project.

  6. Break big tasks down into smaller parts - Sometimes, we have an enormous task on our to-do list to get done. It can look so daunting, overwhelming, and stresses us out! So, why not take some time to break down that enormous task into a minor task. For example, if you need to write a paper in a week - plan time on day 1 to research and prepare your materials for the paper. Day 2 can be devoted to outlining a paper, day three working on the body of your paper, day four intro and conclusion, and day five editing and proofing. This process can be done for test-taking, too - instead of cramming the night before, have small frequent study sessions throughout the week. Did you know that cramming is NOT an effective study strategy!

  7. Exercise - I'm not saying you should walk 10 miles daily, but try to move your body for at least 30 minutes every day. You can walk around campus, try out a new sport (hello pickleball or spike ball), go for a swim or a hike and enjoy the fall foliage, yoga, Zumba, etc. Just get out there and get active. I recommend that you look at any classes at the gym or check out the weight room or cardio machines at your campus gym. Try them out and see what you enjoy doing. The key is to find a way that you enjoy moving your body. I'm a fan of taking a walk or the elliptical.

  8. Make healthy choices - I will stick with making healthy food choices. Eat foods that help you feel good and energized. Eat more fruits and veggies. Keep a food log - and track how you feel after eating. Do you feel energized? Sluggish? Tired? Bloated? Remember these food choices so you can eat foods that help you feel good.

  9. Do less so you can do more- Not when it comes to your coursework but perhaps when it comes to your out-of-class commitments. So, when you attend the organization fair on campus, don't sign up for all the clubs and organizations. Instead, think about where you can invest your time meaningfully and be a part of the organization. Find an organization that will fill your cup either personally or professionally.

  10. Sleep - Sleep is not overrated, friends. It is so important. Our bodies need rest to rejuvenate and process what we learn daily. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.

  11. Morning routine - Friends, don't just roll out of bed and head to class in your PJ pants and a wrinkled shirt. Instead, get yourself into a morning routine. Some suggestions for a morning routine include light stretching, checking in with your body, not getting into social media or email as soon as you get up, jotting down a goal you have for the day, etc. Just spend about 5 minutes warming up for the day.

  12. Be mindful of where you are spending your time - Be aware of the time you spend on a screen. From your cell to your laptop or tablet, give your eyes a break from the screen. Be mindful of your time on social media and consider turning off your notifications. You might also want to explore setting up timers on your apps so that after (say, 30 minutes) a designated amount of time, you can't use the app until the next day. That way, you are taking control of your time and not going down the scroll hole!

Share your best time management tip below!

Resources mentioned

  • Future Teacher Digital Planner includes monthly, daily, and weekly schedules, spaces for reflection each semester, planning for each semester, and tips for your first-year students, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

  • I want this as a PDF! Send it my way.

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