4 Important Skills for Time Management During College
Jun 06, 2016
Time management is regularly lauded as an enviable skill, but what does it really mean? Managing your time well requires a complex set of smaller skills that are so well-honed they've become habit. You don't master the finer points of time management in a day or a week. But with time, practice, and determination, you can master the essential skills that add up to an impressive ability to handle your time productively.
Choosing a System
You can't manage your time efficiently without a system in place. There are dozens of organizational solutions available to you. The trick is finding the one that works for you and using it consistently for all your projects. If you're tech-minded, you may want to use an app to schedule your projects. If you're more tactile, a physical notebook or planner may be the better solution. Whatever you use, keep it with you in class, and use it to track your homework, study sessions, tests, projects, and other responsibilities diligently.
Turning Things Down
Overcommitting is at the root of most time management problems. If you're finding it difficult to get everything finished on time, it typically means you're doing too many things. Saying no isn't as easy as it seems on the surface. To master this skill, you must learn how to properly assess an opportunity and weigh the pros and cons of taking advantage of it against your other responsibilities and opportunities. This will ultimately help you decide which ones stay and which need to go.
Do you find yourself habitually finishing big projects at the last minute? Are you accustomed to long nights struggling to race the clock before a deadline? The solution is to pace yourself better and complete projects in small and steady bits as you work toward your deadline. This takes a little planning and a lot of self-discipline. When you get a new project, break it down into manageable pieces based on the amount of time you have to complete it. These sub-tasks can then be entered into your planner or calendar app so that you're working steadily and ideally completing projects early.
Managing Your Health
Now that your schedule is filled with handy tasks that will help you meet your academic goals, it's time to pencil in some other important items for your overall well-being. While it's admirable to put the primary focus on your education, you need to take care of yourself, too. Make sure your schedule allows for at least six hours of sleep every night. Make time for exercise at least three days a week, and allow yourself time to unwind with friends.
Truly mastering the art of time management can take months of dedication. There's a lot of trial and error involved in finding a system that works for you. You may struggle with motivating yourself to work ahead when your bed is beckoning you for a long nap. Perhaps you underestimate how long particular jobs will take. Whatever your stumbling blocks, determination is all you need to eventually work past them and truly master time management.
Image via Flickr by danyeela