Time management is one of the most intimidating elements of a college student’s life. If you cannot manage your time effectively, you cannot expect to be organized or successful. Yet, managing time is something that most students struggle with over the course of their educational career and, subsequently, in their professional careers as well. How does one effectively manage their time? Check out the guide below for tips on how to properly manage your time.
Preparation. Preparation is key to a lot of things in life, especially when it comes to time management. Most people have different methods of how to prepare for something, but a good place to start is to make a list.
Making a list will help you to organize all your thoughts, deadlines, and important dates all on one piece of paper. You can even get fancy and make an outline detailing how you will prepare for each task you need to accomplish. Of course, it depends on how technical and detailed you want to get—how you compose your list comes down to personal preference. Regardless, a list of tasks written down goes a long way and will help you effectively assess what needs to get done and in what order.
Pick a time to work. Some people are more productive in the morning after their cup of coffee, and some people do their best work at midnight. You know yourself best and when you are most likely to sit down and actually be productive. Schedule your days; treat each chunk of planned work time as a commitment that you cannot break.
Prioritize and Balance. Only a small amount of people are efficient at juggling many tasks at once. I envy those people. For the rest of us, it is necessary to prioritize what you need to do. Look at your task list and evaluate what needs to get done today.
Then focus, concentrate, and do what you need to do to complete it. Then move on to your next priority. If you finish today’s tasks, move on to tomorrow’s, then the rest of the week’s, and so on. The key is to prioritize what needs to get done first, complete it, and then move on to the next essential task.
Take a break, if necessary. I personally like to work for hours straight and get things done immediately. I find that I get distracted and procrastinate when I give myself a break every half an hour. Many people are not like that, which is why breaks can be a good thing. They give you a chance to refresh, clear your mind, and do something that is not work related for a little bit.
Make sure you schedule each break at a specific time and to last a specific time. And stick to your decision. If you have a break scheduled every half hour for ten minutes, then that is when your break is. Not every half hour for ten minutes sometimes and fifteen minutes other times. Consistency is key.
Check and reassess. Make sure you cross completed items off your to-do list. After each item completed, reassess what you need to work on next. Has anything changed in your priorities? Does anything need more attention? Evaluate your tasks with a fresh look whenever possible.
Leave time for sleep and fun. It is self-explanatory, but they are essential to prevent you overworking yourself and burning out. You will be more efficient and manage your time more effectively if you are running on eight hours of sleep rather than if you only got three. Same goes for having fun–you will be more dedicated and enthusiastic towards your work if you know that you have ways to blow off steam and relax.