If you want to do well at college, you need to learn how to manage your time.
Once you improve your ability to do what matters, you’ll free up more time for you.
Here are six of the best time management tips for students who want to do just that:
1. Get the tools
Buy a daily planner and use it. Keep it handy so you can note what you are doing and when. The more portable it is, the more likely you are to use it.
The best type of planner is a daily diary for your tasks (you’ll see why when you read on), preferably one with a page a day format.
You can use either a paper planner or a digital version. What matters is that you actually use it.
2. Do it tomorrow
Here’s one of the best time management tips for students: Whenever you get set a task, do it tomorrow.
Yes, you read that right. :-)
Unless it’s genuinely same day urgent, write each task you decide to do under tomorrow’s date in your daily planner.
At the end of today you’ll have a finite list of tasks to do tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, work through the list based on the time you have available.
If you do this each day, you’ll find it much easier to manage your work. You’ll also reduce the stress you feel from the projects you take on.
3. Use time boxing
For each task on your ‘will do’ list in your daily planner, estimate how ling you are prepared to give to it.
Work out how much time you’ll have in total then assign each task a specific number of minutes, allowing for some “buffer time” for the inevitable disruptions during the day.
Use a timer to limit or “time box” each task so you force an increase in productivity.
What happens if you don’t complete a task in the time set?
Simple! Re-enter it under tomorrow’s date.
4. Do it daily
One of the most important time management tips for students is this:
Many of the projects you are assigned can’t be done in one go. They’ll take hours of work.
To get started (and to get finished) means you need momentum.
And the best way to achieve that?
Time box working on a project every working day for a length of time that doesn’t cause your brain to look for excuses not to do it.
In other words... do a little daily.
5. Get real
What do your day, your study, even your life all have in common?
They’re all finite; in other words, sooner or later, they’ll all come to an end.
If you want to increase your awareness of the importance of time management, increase your sense of urgency about what you do.
Here’s a quick exercise to highlight why this matters...
Subtract from 168 (hours) your total commitments, in terms of number of hours, over the course of a week. Make sure you include time for eating sleeping, travel and suchlike.
How many hours have you got left?
6. Do what matters
Of all the time management tips for students in this article, make sure you benefit from this one:
Identify what matters then do it.
How do you know what matters?
There are three easy to spot characteristics:
The trouble is, these are usually the things that are hardest to do and easiest to put off.
But it’s also true that what matters most can be done if you apply the other tips above.