5 Tips for Good Time Management

I’m not the smartest or most talented person at Hopkins; I make my fair share of mistakes. However, one thing I can claim excellence in is time management. Time management is a key skill, especially in college when it seems like all your professors want is to run you over with a million midterms, papers, and lab reports in one week. Follow these tips, and you may come out alive at the end of the semester:

1. Use a planner.

Whether you prefer to have a handwritten agenda like in elementary school, or you’re more tech-savvy and like to use homework apps and Google Calendar, planning out your week in advance will help you keep your wits about you. Bullet journaling is a creative option that lets you craft and personalize your planner. 

I recently switched from a physical bullet journal to Google Calendar. Its many features--color coded events, notifications you can set ahead of time, and the option to set events as recurring--has helped me tremendously in keeping up with a schedule.

2. Take things one step at a time.

When things get too overwhelming for me, I worry about one thing at a time. If I have a paper due Tuesday and a midterm on Thursday, though I do set aside time for studying for the midterm, I mostly prioritize the paper until I’ve met its deadline. Don’t focus on one thing so much that you forget about the next priority, but keep the later deadlines on a back burner. Another way to take things slowly is to not procrastinate on your next reading or paper, but plan to do a little bit of work each day so you don’t have to cram the night before a midterm or frantically write a paper at 11pm when it’s due at midnight.

3. Rank your responsibilities in terms of importance.

I color code my daily activities (red is most important, purple is optional, etc.) so that I know what I need to get done first. Extracurriculars matter a lot when it comes to college, but they shouldn’t get in the way of your academics. Completing your mandatory tasks for class tomorrow before you rush off to your next Model UN meeting can help you stay on top of what matters most. Doing this also helped me realize what was causing me unnecessary stress and what extracurriculars I needed to cut out.

4. If you can do it in ten minutes or less, do it now.

A good rule to stop yourself from putting things off is to think if a task will take less than ten minutes, do it now. Little chores like cleaning or writing an email will feel less like they’re piling up  if you do them as soon as you think of them. It’s better to be a few minutes behind schedule than to realize at the end of the week that you have a ton of housekeeping things to do that will take too long all at once.

5. Don’t forget to set aside time for yourself.

In the midst of all your planning, don’t forget to take time and do something you enjoy. It’s important to take a break from studying every so often and indulge yourself in a night out with friends,  eating out, or even just taking a short nap. Every Sunday night, after I’ve done everything that’s due on Monday and planned out my week, I make sure I take some time to curl up in bed with a face mask and Netflix or a good book.

Hopefully these tips improve your time management skills and help you stay efficient and on top of things. My time management tricks allowed me to write this article on time, but remember, what works for me may not work for you. Find methods that work for you and come out on top this semester!