Work Smarter With Time Management
There’s no silver bullet when it comes to academic success. There’s no skeleton key that unlocks all the doors that stand between you and your degree. Getting an education requires a variety of skills and tools to get you where you want to go. One of the most crucial skills is learning how to properly manage your time. Proper time management will help you stay on track and keep you from getting overwhelmed by your studies.
What Is Time Management?
Time management is a process of organizing your time. It involves a degree of self-awareness and analysis: you have to know WHAT you need to spend your time on in order to properly manage it. Think of it like writing a budget, but instead of allocating dollars and cents you’re divvying up hours and minutes. Good time management is holistic: it takes into account all the activities you need to do in your day-to-day, from school to work to familial and social obligations. When you know what your day looks like, you can establish priorities and once you have a ranked list of priorities you can get down to the nitty-gritty of rationing your time.
In order to come up with a study plan, ask yourself some questions about how you spend your time. Figure out how much time you spend on:
- Classwork (both in-class and work done outside of class)
- Family activities
Your time, like a budget or a diet, should be balanced. You don’t want to short-change yourself on sleep, because a lack of rest will negatively impact your performance in all other areas of your life. Workaholics may be tempted to cut down on hobbies and relaxation, but taking time to decompress and enjoy life is crucial for lowering your stress and maintaining a positive state of mental health. The trick is finding a healthy balance where you devote enough time to meeting your scholastic obligations while also keeping the rest of your life running as smoothly as possible.
There are a lot of time management apps on the market that can help you put a study plan into action. There’s also project management software out there like Trello and Asana where you can create task boards and run timers on your tasks, which can be useful in the early stages of a study plan to determine just how much time you spend on coursework and studies from week to week.
One method of time management that can be helpful is to use the Pomodoro technique that many creative writers use. It’s simple: set a timer for 20-25 minutes and work without stopping until the timer goes off. As soon as the timer goes off, stop working and go fix a snack or take a short walk to center yourself. Reset the timer and repeat as often as you feel is helpful. Doing these short Pomodoro bursts throughout the day lets you dig into some study time in short, easy-to-digest chunks that can be used to fill up “dead air” on your schedule.
The most important step is to set achievable and reasonable goals. Nothing will make you burn out faster than setting a bar too high. There’s no shame in starting small and working your way up. It’s better to set a modest study schedule for yourself and expand it over time than make a demand on yourself that is so high you lose your enthusiasm for the task at hand.
We’re Here To Help
If you’re looking for advice on how to manage your studies, our Counseling & Career Services center is here to help. Give our counselors a call at 480-517-8785 or fill out this form to schedule an appointment.