Time Management

Principles of Time Management

  1. Work expands to fill the time you give it.
  2. Organization is key: Use a calendar.
  3. Respect the Principle of inertia: Bodies at rest will stay at rest and won't get their homework done. (see Procrastination) Bodies in motion will stay in motion: When you get excited working on a project, keep going, don't wait until later.
  4. Waste time well... don't develop habits of wasting time in the same way over and over again (i.e. watching TV or playing video games). If you're going to waste time, be original and exciting about it!
  5. Make a habit of good time management: Figuring out what to do with yourself 24/7 is a set of habits. They can be good or bad habits, and when you try to change these habits, it can be hard or uncomfortable for a little while.
  6. Priorities, priorities, priorities. You must set priorities in college, there is just too much to do for the resources you have.
  7. Remember that you're not alone: Every college student is overloaded with work.
  8. Set deadlines, and attempt to stick to them. Don't beat yourself up if you don't stick to them, though.
  9. Concentrate fully on the task at hand (this makes time spent much more efficient)

Things to do (to improve your time management skills)

  • Reward yourself. Make goals, and designate rewards you wouldn't otherwise give to yourself. Then don't let yourself have the reward if you don't make the goal!
  • Learn how to say "No."
  • Balance your time: sometimes socializing needs to be cut short.
  • Study difficult subjects first.
  • Don't go to bed disorganized; plan and set out what you'll need for tomorrow, and then you can press the snooze button with a clear conscience.
  • Recycle wasted time. Review Tuesday's lecture while waiting for Thursday's to begin.
  • Work with a tutor on time management. Sometimes it helps to have a friend around to help you make a commitment to your schedule.
  • Make a task list or time commitment list for each week (a very good Sunday night procrastination technique). For example:
    • Quiz Wednesday
    • Paper Tuesday
    • Ball game Tuesday night
    • Finish 40 pages in English by Friday
    • Finish 150 pages in History by Friday
    • Call Mom
    • Talk to Financial Aid
    • Meet with Dr. Engle
    • Shower for date Friday
    • Paint self blue for Basketball Game
    • Work out and get ice cream
    • Sort Laundry--check for red socks!!
  • Figure out where time is hidden. For example:
    • sitting in a waiting room
    • waiting to pick someone up
    • riding the bus
    • stuck in traffic
    • in the car/on your commute (listen to tapes you've made, foreign language tapes, lectures, etc.)
    • waiting in line
    • doing laundry
    • on hold
    • between classes
  • Take advantage of quick breaks and hidden time. Some things you can do in 10-15 minutes are:
    • reread directions/questions for your next paper or other assignment
    • survey the next reading assignment
    • read one section of a reading assignment
    • list the main points of what you just read, or of the lecture you just heard
    • list today's TO DO items
    • write out some questions to ask in class
    • tidy up your room or study space
    • review your vocabulary or other memorization list
  • Review regularly. You will save yourself a lot of time come finals, and reduce your total time spent, especially compared to all the wisdom and knowledge you have gained.
  • Identify Black Holes (no this is not astronomy 101): Make a Time Log-How did you spend your time today? Make a log for one week and see where the time all went. Did you waste 2 1/2 hours Thursday playing video games? That's a black hole--work to eliminate it!
  • Figure out who steals your time. Gently reprimand repeat offenders.
  • Identify your "Prime Time": are you a morning or a night person? Choose your most aware time to do your studying (even if it is 8-10 PM during your favorite TV shows!--that's what VCR's are for!)
  • Get away from it all with your books (to the library or other place without interruptions)

Time Management Traps to Avoid

  • The syndrome of having several major tasks to do all in the same night, and failing to do any of them.
  • Self-Incarceration: Don't be a prisoner to your own procrastination, inefficiency, or laziness
  • Self-Incarceration #2: You don't have to be strictly bound by your schedule in order to benefit from it.
  • Being chronically late. Are you always the last one to class? How does this impact your classroom experience? How are things different when you show up on time or early for class?