Time Management Strategies
Five steps to improve time management
- Create a semester schedule
- Plan your workload and schedule weekly
- Adjust your plan daily
- Evaluate your schedule
- Learn to organize
CREATE A SEMESTER SCHEDULE
I. RECORD ALL KNOWN COLLEGE-RELATED ACTIVITIES IN YOUR DATE BOOK
- Reading assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and papers
Having a “snapshot” of your schoolwork over the course of the semester gives you a visual representation of times of high and low academic demand. This allows you to make social plans and commitments around your academic demands.
II. RECORD ALL KNOWN NON-COLLEGE-RELATED ACTIVITIES
- Work hours, meetings, social commitments, out-of-town trips, etc.
Recording your non-academic activities allows you the opportunity to get an overview of all of your time demands over the semester. You can then use this information to make adjustments as necessary so that your schedule is balanced in a healthy way.
PLAN YOUR WEEKLY SCHEDULE
- Make a list of everything you have to do over the next week. Include class assignments, class attendance, work hours, errands, exercise, and any social activities.
- Estimate how long each activity will take. If unsure, it is better to estimate conservatively.
- Using your calendar or daily planner, enter the days and times for all the activities for which you already know the times.
- After you have recorded the already scheduled activities, review the daily times available and plug in the rest of your activities, as needed and appropriate.
ADJUST YOUR SCHEDULE DAILY
- Throughout the day, cross off all completed tasks and activities. Any items that are not completed should be highlighted so that you know you still have to complete this activity.
- At the beginning of each day, all highlighted items from the previous day should be inserted into available time slots throughout the remainder of the week.
- Insert any new tasks or activities for the day, as necessary.
NOTE: Prioritizing tasks can be enormously helpful when considering a full schedule. For example, assigning the letter “A” to all tasks that must be done that day, the letter “B” to tasks that must be done that week, and the letter “C” to those tasks that must be done sometime during the month.
EVALUATE YOUR SCHEDULE
There are numerous points at which it is wise to evaluate the effectiveness of your schedule. Each semester, week, and day that you create a schedule, ask yourself if this schedule is realistic given the number of activities and the time allotted for each. Look at the “A” priorities and schedule remaining items around them, or, if necessary, move “B” and “C” priorities to different days.
In addition, it is helpful to evaluate your schedule each evening. Review what you did and did not accomplish and try to understand why the schedule did not work (if it didn’t). Was the schedule unrealistic, or was your time management ineffective? What adjustments can you make for the future?