Time Management

Academic success depends on effective time management. Although there are 24 available hours available each day, not all of us have learned to manage those hours strategically. However, there are several techniques you can learn in order both to make better use of your time and to enhance your academic success.

For example, make a conscious decision to manage yourself. Choose to study instead of watch TV, or start writing that paper early. Then pay attention to the clock so that you don’t waste time. Choose not to delay chores or assignments. Instead, figure out what you can do now, and do it. Carry a planner and make lists — organization is a tool to help you maximize effectiveness. Finally, learn to anticipate changing needs and demands, and be flexible. The exercise below will help you think about how you can juggle the multiple tasks, roles and responsibilities you have as a college student.

Today’s To-Do’s

  • Go to Chemistry class
  • Grab lunch
  • Study for Econ test
  • Meet Anjali at the movies

How would you prioritize these tasks? For example, is eating lunch more important than studying for a test, or does going to class supersede everything else? Balance is the key. Some time commitments, such as classes, labs, meetings, band practices, work, or study groups meet at the same time each day or week. Other time commitments, such as eating meals, sleeping, exercise, and personal grooming, keep us healthy. Still other time commitments, such as studying for tests, writing papers, or completing reading assignments, help us complete necessary academic work. Finally, some time commitments such as socializing, watching TV, or alone time allow us to rest and recharge.

Western society values productive time. Both fixed time commitments and study time commitments are productive. So, does that mean that activities during productive time are more important than the rest? Not at all. The challenge is to learn to value productive time and restorative time equally. Restorative time is essential for managing stress and for providing us the energy we need to be at our best during productive time. As you manage your time, try to balance productive time and restorative time.