We are living in a time and age where there are just too many things to accomplish in too little time. We wake up everyday to find too many things crying out for our attention from family to career to social and religious activities. In view of all these, time management becomes a serious problem.
College students are not exempted from this problem. Actually, most college students end up unable to resolve their issues as they have to do with time management. Some don’t even try to engage themselves in the process of planning and allotting time to their daily programs and schedules. They either erroneously think that it takes too much time to plan how to spend time or that things can never go as planned after all.
The truth of the matter is that the inability to plan properly or outright planlessness always leads to lateness for appointments, missed schedules, and generally low productivity and success rate especially for college students who have an myriad of curricular and extra-curricular activities laid up for them. These activities bother around family, college coursework, sports, student jobs, clubs, and so on.
Intentions don’t get things done…
Just having the intention, determination and zeal to get things done does not guarantee that you would get them done at the end of the day. Without a proper plan and time management strategy, you will find yourself paying increasingly less attention to the things that matter most to you. This can lead to stress and sometimes depression having to face piles of unfinished tasks at the end of each day.
In view of the foregoing, I would be explaining what time management is all about and giving you some valid tips to help you to gain mastery over your time and schedules as a college student because I realize how very critical it is for you to maximize to the fullest the little time at your disposal. In so doing, I shall try to x-ray the possible reasons why time management seems to be a challenge for most college students and what they stand to benefit if they can gain mastery over the subject of time management.
Let’s get into the discourse as we first try to understand what time management is all about.
What is Time Management?
Time management is defined as the ability of an individual to plan and control how they spend their day by apportioning time to the different spheres (sports, work, lectures, family, studies) of their life in order to ensure that their day is spent effectively and their goals achieved maximally.
So we see that time management has everything to do with goal setting. So you must learn how to set daily goals for yourself according to your personal visions, dreams and aspirations. Setting goals will enable you to place your different activities into categories. That way, you will identify those that are urgent, essential, non-essential and time-wasters.
A major downside of poor or lack of proper management of time is that it often gives room for destiny-destroying habits like procrastination. Procrastination is a canker-worm that eats deep into the productivity of students and their overall quality of life.
Benefits of Good Time Management
If you have read this article till this point, you will agree with me that the importance of time management in the life of a student cannot be overemphasized. The ability to effectively apportion time to different academic and extra-curricular activities is what keeps a student on top. That is because all aspects of life are accommodated in the student’s life and none is neglected or overstretched.
Yes, many students think that it does take a whole lot of time and hard work to set up a good time management plan and adhere to it, but the benefits are far more than any time or hard work you put in to set it up.
I will draw the benefits in bulleted form below:
- Time management is not negotiable if you desire to get to the top of your academics and remain there.
- Good time management is essential if you want to develop holistically without neglecting any aspect of your life, be it academics, social, sports, family, religion and so on.
- Time management helps you to know tasks which are essential and non-essential, and those which are urgent and require immediate attention.
- Time management helps you to have an insight into how your day is going to play out and gives you a sense of control.
- It helps you to prioritize your day according to your life goals.
- Good time management does not only improve your productivity and success rate, it gives you a yardstick with which to measure your rate of productivity and success in real time.
- It ensures that you go through your day focused, leading to minimum stress and mistakes.
- There is an increase in the pace and quality of your outputs.
- Managing your time properly will guarantee that you would have more time to relax when you need to and even ample time to attend to other commitments and relationships outside your school work.
Why time management is a problem for most college students
Time management is often a challenge for most college students especially the new ones. This is largely because these students have, hitherto, been shielded by their parents from many responsibilities, challenges and even distractions. But now, they have to face all those and more as college students. So it now depends on them to take control of their lives and become really responsible for their decisions and outcomes. Because they have little or no knowledge and experience, this becomes a serious problem.
But it’s not an insurmountable problem. The college student having the benefits of time management in mind must do their best to take responsibility and learn through experience. It’s all about organizing your environment, organizing your tasks and apportioning time to each of them, thereby making their accomplishment easier.
Below are valuable time management tips for college students.
Time management tips for college students
Since this is the main focus of this article, let’s get into it without wasting any more time. Remember that these tips will help you to create an effective time management plan but you have to determine and do whatever it takes to keep to it.
Define and prioritize your tasks
This is the first thing to do in the business of time management. You need to outline all your tasks, then organize them in accordance you your priorities and how essential they are to your having a fulfilled day. Tasks that rank high in your order of priority are placed at the top and allotted more time, and so on. It is at this level of organization that you will define the time of the day that would be most convenient to perform each task.
If you are an early morning reader, fix your reading time in the early hours of the morning and follow up with some other tasks that you can conveniently carry out during the day. The same applies to late night readers. If you prefer to read in the library, then fix an appropriate time for that.
Learn to break up big tasks into smaller ones
This is a very important key in the business of time management. Huge, demanding tasks have a way of affecting your morale and discouraging you because they always seem like uphill tasks. But breaking a big task up into smaller chunks and allotting target finish time to them have a way of boosting your confidence by making them look simpler and making you feel that you can do them.
For example, if you have a bulky course work to go through or a term paper of, say, 30 pages to work on. You could split it up and target tidying up a few pages everyday until the deadline. This will prove to be a lot more easier than compounding the whole work and proposing to finish it all in one day. Another reason why breaking up bulky tasks is important is that it gives you the chance of doing a more perfect job at the end of it all because are able to finish and review the work in small segments.
Use a handy checklist
The idea of using a checklist might sound off as far as a college student is concerned. You may think it’s something meant for groceries alone but trust me when I tell you that a checklist will work well for any student interested in managing their time well. Your checklist helps you to cross concluded tasks off the list. The more the concluded tasks on the checklist, the more accomplished you feel.
Create a system of rewards
This point is one of the most neglected for human beings in general. We may remember to reward others, but when it has to do with us, we seem to forget or totally neglect our own reward. Human being thrive on motivations and rewards systems is one of the key ways to motivate people. The same is applicable to you. For accomplishing each task or schedule, you can attach a reward.
The reward does not have to be something extraordinary or expensive, it can come in the form of a free/leisure time within which you can relax or do whatever tickles your fancy, or you can reward yourself with your favorite snack. This would go a long way in spurring you to accomplish more.
Set your schedules and make use of reminders
Your planning all begins with defining your tasks and properly organizing them, then penning them down on your checklist. When that is done, you need a reminder tool (whether visual or audio) to always alert you and keep you on track especially as it has to do with when it’s time to start a new task.
Be realistic in setting your goals
This is very important. Sometimes, college students can get so motivated and inspired that they forget what their ability can permit per time. There is need to be very realistic. Set goals you can sincerely achieve. If you set realistic goals and accomplish them, it will boost your self confidence and esteem, and help you to improve and make progress.
You cannot set a goal to study an Arithmetic Textbook of 1000 pages in one day and expect not to fail. Setting unrealistic goals makes you look like a failure. It also overburdens you with unfinished tasks and the need to reschedule and factor them into your new plans.
Be an early riser
I don’t think I need to say much on this as I can safely assume that you know the importance of waking up early as a college student. If you must plan and manage your time well every day, you must be an early riser. If you wake early, you have more time to work and accomplish your tasks within the day. Sleep is a state of inactivity and the longer you sleep, the longer your hours of inactivity.
As an adult, just target getting enough sleep required (6 hours is recommended) for optimum rest per day so that you can function well during the day.
Reduce your distractions as much as possible
Because of the time and age we live in, there are many things crying out for the attention of college students. From social media platforms to video games to club activities and so on. These things are distractions and for you to manage your time very well, you must do all you can to drastically reduce distractions and focus on your tasks. Only reward yourself when you accomplish your tasks.
Attend to one task at a time
You may have learned about multi-tasking and its benefits in personal effectiveness. It’s really great but sometimes, it is not as productive as focusing your mind on a task and accomplishing it. If you want to properly manage your time as a college student, you must do your best to work on each individual task and try not to mix it up with other tasks. This makes for greater focus, effectiveness and accomplishment.
Understand what each task requires
If you understand what each task in your daily program requires, you will be able to prepare ahead of time for them. That would also make you effective.
Follow the above time management tips and you will become more effective as a college student, reduce your stress level and become more productive.
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