Time Management

Time management is one of the most important skills to master, but it's about more than just productivity. When you feel confident about how you are allocating your time and energy, you will feel more present in the current moment. Once you start to develop the habit of actively managing your time, you can be more open to participating in other campus activities because you are able to balance the demands of your course load, research, employment, and commitments to your friends and to yourself.

Create a schedule

In college, your professors expect you to spend two hours studying outside of class for every hour in class. In other words, if you have a course load of 15 credits, you will want to devote about 30 hours a week to studying. The best way to fit in this studying in addition to your other responsibilities is to make a schedule

  1. Start by listing your daily responsibilities. This includes time to sleep, get ready in the morning and to eat, class time, work hours, and any other commitments. Try to be realistic - include how much time you actually spend on each activity, not how much time you'd like to spend.
  2. Add in the study time you need each day.
  3. Schedule in weekly tasks such as laundry, shopping, and cleaning.
  4. Include something fun each dayworking out, riding your bike, reading for fun, or visiting friendswhatever you enjoy!
  5. Fill in extracurricular activities like RSO events, meetings, or time with friends!
  6. In the evening, write down all the things you hope to accomplish the next day, then write a star by top priority items that you need to complete first. 

Try this: Aim for a consistent amount of hours spent studying each day. For example, five hours a day throughout the week plus one long morning session on Saturday would give you your thirty hours during the week. It would also give you free time the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday. If you have to cut back on the study hours one day because of work or special activities, you should compensate for it during the same week.

Estimate your weekly study hours

Course difficulty is influenced by your background in the subject as well as personal skills and strengths.

course hours in class per week difficulty level study hours per week
Total study hours per week
Total study hours per day

Tackle procrastination

Procrastination is a common challenge among college students - over 80% of students report that they have procrastinated. This can occur for a variety of reasons such as self-doubt about personal abilities, a tendency to give up when things become difficult, or the perception that more stress will make you "work better."

Ultimately, procrastination comes down to your decisions and recognizing when you might not be doing your work because you are getting distracted by things like social media or video games. Recognizing these moments is the first step of taking charge of your time management.

By identifying some specific strategies to curb procrastination, you can start to feel more in control of your academic and personal responsibilities. Here are some things you can try (and check out Oregon State University's page on time management for even more tips):

Try this:  To reduce distractions when studying, put your phone on do not disturb or airplane mode, close your email, or set a timer for how long you want to work without changing tasks.

Get the most from your time

Making a schedule is a great first step, but you want to make sure that you use your time effectively! Here are some tips to keep in mind as you continue to refine your time management schedule.

Try this: Build in rewards into your schedule to break up long study sessions with a phone call, coffee break, or chitchat with a friend.

Despite your best effort to manage your time, you might not always meet your time management goals. If this happens, Don't be afraid to ask yourself, "what matters most right now? Am I making time for these things each week?" These questions can be a helpful place to start as you're defining your priorities.

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