College students are forever sprinting through their packed schedules, getting assignments done, meeting family and social commitments, working part-time and lots more. While they have the freedom and flexibility of college life by their side, it’s essential for them to be able to manage their time well.
If you’re going to be starting college soon, or are already overwhelmed by the buzz, here are six helpful time-management tips for college students.
Use the Priority Matrix
It’s difficult to accomplish anything when you have too much to do in too little time. The best way out is to think about your priorities, identify the important ones, and approach them one-by-one.
Use Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle. List all to-do activities and categorize them into any one of these four:
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Not Important but urgent
- Not Important and not urgent
Categorizing your tasks this way will help you identify ones you need to focus on and ones you need to ignore.
Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks, and we’re all guilty of doing this—especially for things we think are going to be unpleasant or difficult. While you’re technically setting yourself up for more stress by putting off a tough chore for later (because you’ll eventually have to get it done and you could be underestimating the time or effort that the task needs) procrastination also makes you unproductive!
Called the Zeigarnik Effect, the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about something that you pursued and left incomplete can keep you from accomplishing other tasks that you undertake. To avoid this, try this helpful time-management tip: break up your to-do list into smaller actionable items and refrain from jumping to another task until you complete the one you started off with.
Join a study group
Joining a study group in college has numerous advantages and is brilliant in aiding time-management. By learning with other students, you can try out different learning methods and see which suits you best, fill in learning gaps by comparing notes, and break the monotony of studying alone.
Most importantly, joining a study group can help you manage your time effectively by serving as a motivator to stick to your study schedule. Also, since you’ll be committed to spending a certain amount of time studying, you’ll cover your syllabus quickly and efficiently.
There are several apps out there that can help you juggle through family and social commitments, work and coursework!
- To-do list apps like Listastic, 2Do, and EpicWin are digital list trackers with varying features that can help you manage your time effectively.
- With productivity apps like Evernote, you can keep your notes and ideas in one place; Remember the Milk helps you set up multiple-platform reminders, and 30/30 lets you understand how long you take to do things.
- RescueTime and AutoSMS can help you reduce on-screen time, while stickK.com can keep you motivated to achieve goals.
- Online calendars can help you collaborate on projects easily.
Learn to say no
Saying “yes” can be crucial to success—but so is saying “no”. If you’re constantly saying yes to all ideas, opportunities and tasks that come your way, you’re not valuing your time or managing it correctly.
Of course, it can be difficult to tell your best friend that you can’t accompany them to the party they were looking forward to attending, or tell your professor that you can’t review their manuscript as you have to study for an exam. However, being honest about your commitments and schedules will help them understand your situation, and most of all, will help you achieve the more important tasks effectively.
Remember K.I.S.S.—Keep It Simple and Short! Be assertive and communicate your answer clearly, but also be respectful of others.
Get rid of clutter
Clutter in your bag, on your desk, or in your wardrobe can build up stress, cause you to waste time looking for things you need, and make you unorganized. In addition to this, mental clutter can reduce decision-making skills and give way to procrastination.
Use the SPACE approach to help with time-management and do away with clutter:
- Sort: Group belongings into categories
- Purge: Do away with broken and useless items in each category
- Assign: Give sorted items a permanent place to be stationed in
- Containerize: Storage containers, bins, and shelves can make organizing stuff much easier
- Equalize: Spend some time once each day or each week to go through your belongings, to purge, and to return items to their dedicated space
You now know what you need to do to stay on top of your assignments, work schedule and other commitments. Get started on implementing these six time-management tips for college students and you’re sure to see a positive change!
Korie a full-time writer currently working with Only hangers and usually writes about living and lifestyle, she likes getting perspective on various topics of interest, which range from bullet journaling to creating the perfect terrarium!