Effective Time Management Advice: Time flies when you?re a student!
When engaged in activities that truly interest or excite, time seems to slip away quickly. Being a student comes with many responsibilities such as class attendance, study sessions, campus activities, work, family life and most of all – your own independent life. Effective time management creates space for you to encompass many, if not all tasks, and supports a centered lifestyle. With the implementation of a few strategies, effective time management empowers you to approach any task with confidence. I have found these five strategies help master the rigors of time while working toward a balanced work-life balance.
Let the long-term goal be the focal point of an activity
Whether at the beginning, middle, or end of the semester, the overall goal to learn the information and apply learned knowledge for future situations directs your drive or motivation to prioritize items that need more time and focus.
Make a priority list
When confronted with many tasks and a short amount of time, a to-do list with items listed by priority helps you to maximize your available time and to organize your thoughts on how to carry out the list.
Set realistic time constraints for each step of a larger task
For example, if a paper is due at the end of the week, here’s an example of how to break down each step and apply a time constraint.
- Form an outline – ten to twenty (10 – 20) minutes
- Write the rough draft – three (3) hours
- Edit, rewrite, proofread – two (2) hours
- Write final draft and reread for final clarity – one (1) hour.
Setting time limits for each item helps to manage time and not feel overwhelmed.
When creating to-do lists and time constraints, include areas of fun and/or interest. For instance, if you enjoy reading books, listening to music, gaming, playing sports, connecting with social media, spending time with family and friends, etc., these activities can be highlighted on your to-do list as a reward for completing tasks. This gives you a measure to achieve amid the long-term goal. The incentives help to motivate you and keep a balanced flow of learning.
Sometimes you just have to say“No.” You must learn how to exercise boundaries and limits. For example, if you need to spend more time reading a specific chapter to grasp the concepts, but your friends want to go to a movie – this a conflicted priority. You may need to say “no” and/or offer an alternative time to go out. The suggestion of other options allows for understanding, flexibility, and focus. The long-term goal must come first.
‘Time flies when you are having fun,’ as the adage goes. As a student, the learning process can be fun as well. A few effective time management tools give you the flexibility to enjoy the process and your own life to a fuller extent. Having a clear long-term goal, listing tasks in order of priority, setting time limits for the items, incorporating interesting incentives throughout the list, and setting boundaries on time allow you to embrace the challenges of student life and balance it with work, social, and family life.
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