As early as high school, many students struggle with time management. It only gets more difficult in college, where a quarter of all students are chronic procrastinators. Don’t let this happen to you! In addition to the stress it causes, poor time management lowers grades and dramatically increases your risk of dropping out. The good news is that students who improve their time management skills consistently report lower stress levels. You have the power to reduce your stress and make your college experience much more pleasant.
So how can you take control of your time management? Your plan should incorporate the following categories
- Work Hygiene
1. Tools: This is the easiest place to start: buy a good calendar or day planner (or choose one online–we recommend Google) and actually use it! This will allow you to keep track of both short-term (daily and weekly) and long-term (semester and academic year) plans. Keep separate notebooks for each class so you don’t get overwhelmed or let smaller assignments slip through the cracks. We also recommend keeping to-do lists (either on paper or using software) to break major tasks into manageable chunks.
2. Work Hygiene: There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that when you sit down to work, you’re using your time effectively. You work best when you’re freshest, so schedule in breaks for yourself every 45 minutes to an hour, and never spend more than 4 or 5 hours a day studying. Scheduling a recurring block of time for each class or project also helps your mind shift gears between multiple tasks more easily.
3. Environment: We face more mental distractions today than ever before. Minimize them when you sit down to work by taking a good, hard look at your study environment. Different people thrive with different levels of stimulation—some are energized by a coffee shop with lots going on, while others need quiet and solitude in order to focus. Some people also prefer to shift environments as they shift between projects. Figure out which kind of studier you are and adapt accordingly. But everyone needs to disable social media and otherwise minimize digital distractions to be able to work effectively.
4. Habits: If you follow the previous steps each time you sit down to study, you’re already on your way to establishing good study habits. Review your calendar and to-do lists every day, week, and month, to help you plan ahead for busy times. Get a study partner to hold you accountable and keep you on track. Finally, if you’re still struggling, seek help from teachers, teaching assistants, online resources, and tutors.
Conveniently located in midtown Manhattan, Signet Education serves students throughout New York City. If you are ready to take the first steps toward realizing your academic dreams, give us a call today at 212-945-8164.