Time Management and Scheduling

Students keep a busy schedule, with many commitments on their time including classes, athletics, student organizations, families, jobs, and internships. Finding enough time in the day can be tough and there’s no one way that works for everyone. But you might try some of these strategies in managing your time more effectively:

  • Prioritize
    • You can’t do everything, so you need to decide what is most important to you.
    • Your health, including adequate sleep, should be your first priority. Academics should also be a high priority.
    • Be prepared to let go of commitments lower on your priority list in order to complete commitments higher on your list.
  • Keep a calendar or list of important dates with you at all times.
    • By the second week of each term, you should know the dates of all major exams, test, and assignments. Note if any of them overlap or come in close proximity to one another. Also note any travel, student events, or family commitments.
  • Pick a tool to help you schedule.
    • Different people prefer monthly, weekly, or daily calendars.
    • You can use a paper calendar, or you could use an online tool. There are many online applications available to you.
  • Create your schedule using time-blocking.
    • Time-blocking sets aside time each week to complete tasks.
    • You should schedule your regular appointments like classes, jobs, and student organization meetings as well as budget time for other important activities like going to the gym and completing homework.
    • After scheduling regular appointments, book your most important activities first, at the times of days that work best for you. Lower-level commitments can fit around these higher priority activities.
    • When using time-blocking, be realistic about what you can achieve in an hour, and include downtime, time for planning and reflection, and time to travel between activities. Refrain from blocking out all of your calendar; leave intentional gaps in case you need to find time for an activity that runs long.
  • After you have set your schedule, use it.
    • Consult your schedule before agreeing to any new commitments. Other commitments will come up during the term – friends may ask for more of your time than you can give or your job may ask you to take on a new assignment. Be sure those commitments fit into your priorities as well as in your calendar.
    • Only you know where your time and energy is best spent, so don’t be afraid to say “no” when people ask for your time. Your schedule can help you to set boundaries.
  • Set aside time each week to review your schedule.
    • Is it working for you?
    • Be open to failures and frustrations; these will help you revise your priorities and schedule your time more effectively in the weeks to come.

 

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