5 Tips on Time Management in College

Are you the kind of person who always struggles to make it to class on time? Do you constantly find yourself having to say, “Sorry, I can’t, I just don’t have time”? Have you already pulled an all-nighter? Time management is extremely important—especially for college students—yet many students struggle with this necessary life skill. While we somehow try to balance classes, group meetings, athletics, and clubs, we also try to find time to spend with friends, attend social events, and occasionally catch a few hours of sleep. Where can we possibly find time for all of this in our busy college schedules? Improving time management skills can allow us to be more efficient with our schedules—which then opens up more opportunities to attend events and overall be less stressed out.


1.)   Write down events in a calendar (as soon as you find out about them!)

Whether you have a desk calendar, a pocket calendar, or a calendar on your phone, make sure you write down events right when you find out about them. Don’t fall into the habit of, “Oh, I’ll write that down later.” Writing down all of your classes, meeting times, test dates, sports practices, and other events immediately as they arise ensures that these important times and dates don’t get forgotten—and it keeps you from accidentally scheduling two things at the same time.


2.)   Plan to be early

We’ve all been in that situation when we are sitting in class and someone walks in five, ten, or thirty minutes late—maybe you’ve even been that person. The thing is, teachers really don’t like it when someone walks in late and disrupts their class; they might laugh it off and pretend it’s okay, or they might just ignore you (or there’s that one really fun professor who makes you explain just how sorry you actually are to the whole class…) but no matter the reaction, you can bet that the professor is making a mental note of who you are, and does not appreciate the fact that you are late. Being late becomes a habit; if you find yourself always struggling to make it to class or a meeting on time, realize that you may need to put in some extra effort to be early so that it doesn’t become the status quo. Always plan to be at least ten minutes early—that way you have some wiggle room in your schedule if someone stops you to talk on the way to class, or if you accidentally leave the assignment that’s due behind and have to sprint back to your dorm for it. If you plan to be early, you might actually be on time.


3.)   Don’t procrastinate

As tempting as it is, putting off work for later is always a bad idea. Procrastinating results in an overload of work, which causes stress. If you force yourself to do the work when you receive it, your workload stays manageable. A good way to persuade yourself to do the work is to start a rewards system with yourself. If you’ve productively studied for two hours, reward yourself with a fifteen-minute break to get ice cream from the dining hall—or take a break to hang out with friends after you’ve read a chapter of your textbook. Since you have to do the work at some point, try to do it sooner rather than later—that way you aren’t stressing out about doing it the whole time you are putting it off. Plus, if an assignment takes you longer than anticipated, you won’t be pulling an all-nighter because you waited until the night before to start it.



4.)   Do your work efficiently: eliminate distractions

Studying in a group can be fun. It can also be distracting. Typically, group study sessions result in a lot less studying, and a lot more gossip. If you actually have homework to do, do not schedule a group study session. Work alone in your room or another quiet environment. If you do choose to study in a group, tell your group that you should have “30 minutes of quiet time.” You might be surprised to find that they appreciate the opportunity to actually get work done as much as you do. Eliminate as many distractions as possible when you are doing homework—that way you are doing everything as effectively and efficiently as possible.


5.)   Remember you can’t do everything: choose what’s important to you

Finally, keep in mind that colleges offer way too many programs and opportunities for you to possibly partake in all of them! Choose your favorites, but know where to draw the line. Attempting to do everything will result in lots of unnecessary stress. Sometimes you actually do have to say, “Sorry, I can’t, I just don’t have time.” Knowing what is most important to you and practicing good time management skills will allow you to determine what you want to do and what you logistically can do, and it will make you a much happier college student!


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