As a college student, everything is about time. How much time do you have left in school? How much time do you have to study? How much time do you have to work? How much longer is your professor going to talk for? You get it, it’s all about time.
You can only get on the right career path when you use your time wisely. And so, in the interest of time, let’s cut to the chase and get right to these 7 time management tips that all students can use.
1. Take control of your smartphone
In today’s ultra-connected world, constantly using your smartphone to talk, text, email and catch up on social media is second nature. But all of this activity can waste huge amounts of time each day—time that could be better used by studying. Taking control of your smartphone by turning off alerts and resisting the urge to immediately respond to incoming calls and texts when you need to focus your time on more important things is absolutely essential to be an effective time manager.
2. Learn to live on a “time budget”
Just as you budget your money to make sure all of your obligations are met and that you’re not wasting it, you need to budget your time to make sure it’s being spent where it will do the most good. The best way to do this is to take an hour each weekend to plan out the coming week generally, and then take 5 to 10 minutes (yes, 5 minutes will make all the difference) each weekday morning to plan your day more specifically, allocating time to accomplish important activities and make your day as productive as possible.
3. Stop procrastinating
Worrying and putting off important tasks until it’s “crunch time” is a common time-wasting behavior among students. As you budget your time each day, make a short to-do list of the most important tasks you need to perform and tackle them first—even if you dread doing it. Getting the difficult stuff out of the way will give you a real sense of accomplishment, plus you’ll have more time for those less-important tasks or to reward yourself by doing something motivational that you want to do.
4. Take your work with you
Whether you’re waiting to catch the bus, sitting on a bus or train, or waiting for an appointment, there are bound to be situations throughout your day where you have a little extra time. Instead of defaulting to your smartphone—like everyone around you—if you take your work with you, you can use the extra time to get something done.
5. Learn to say “No”
As a student you have certain goals and objectives that you want and need to achieve in order to succeed. However, friends and family members who don’t share your goals can get you off track if you let them. Instead of giving in to their requests, such as watching TV, hanging out, or going to a movie on the night before you’ve got a big test, you need to learn to politely say “no.” It’s not a matter of being unsocial. It’s more about conveying how important your schoolwork is to you and then suggesting times to get together that work for everyone. Learning to say no keeps you in control of your future, not others.
6. Set up dedicated study time in a designated area
Studies show that students who set up specific times for studying in a designated place, such as a comfortable desk, or in the library, are more productive and successful than those who take a “whenever and wherever” approach to studying. In a place and time that is all your own you can shut off your phone and avoid unwanted distractions until your work is finished. Using the same study area also saves time by keeping you more organized.
7. Take time to relax and sleep
The demands of being a student of a brick and mortar or online school can cause stress and anxiety. This is especially true for students who try to burn the candle at both ends, which can eventually lead to burnout. Scheduling downtime for fun and relaxing activities, exercising and most important of all, getting enough sleep, is critical for helping students make the most of study time when they need to stay sharp and focused.