Class Tracker Ambassador Dannia shares some of her best time management tips for college students.
Time management is one of the biggest problems that many college students struggle with. In college, you have a lot more responsibilities, such as going to classes, managing a job, attending extracurriculars, and also taking care of yourself. This can be a lot to handle, especially if you were used to your parents or high school teachers helping you out or being lenient with assignments and due dates. College is a period where you are able to really learn how to manage your time and your day properly. It can be scary at first, but staying organized and accountable is key. Keep reading to see some time management tips that I use to get through the school year.
Invest in a physical or digital planner
I will preach this tip in any blog post I make about staying organized and managing time. Get a planner. Planners, such as the Class Tracker planners, are a great way to block out your day and view all of your obligations and assignments in one place. A lot of college kids think that they can remember everything they have going on in one day. However, this is not the case. You will forget a meeting, an assignment, or worse, a test if you do not write things down. If you do not want to purchase a planner, I like to use Google Calendar (which is free to use) along with my physical planners. You may find that you prefer physical planners over virtual planners, or vice versa. Just be sure to find a planner that works for you!
If you work, ask your manager how flexible your hours are
I'm fortunate to work for a company (and a manager) that understands the struggle college students go through. He always allows me to take days off if I need time to study, finish homework, or just take a mental health day. Before you start working somewhere, be sure to ask about how flexible your scheduling will be. At my job, I was able to essentially choose my own hours. If you already are working somewhere, don't be afraid to talk with your manager if you need to dial down hours in order to prioritize schoolwork and your health.
Set aside personal time each day
Do not just work from 8am to 8pm straight every day. You will burn out quickly. Be sure to factor in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any other food breaks you may want. In addition, set aside breaks during the day. Whether it be you take a power nap or watch some YouTube, have a chance to step away from school for 15 or so minutes during the day. At night time, be sure you set aside at least 30 minutes so you can get ready for bed and relax before going to sleep. You'll find you'll be more energized in the morning if you aren't doing school up to the very second before you go to bed. Your personal health is your top priority, so be sure to take care of your body.
Designate a set homework time each day
I like to set a three-hour block in the afternoon after all of my classes to work on homework or projects for the day. You may need more or less time than this, as it just depends on what your class load is for the semester. I found that having a set time to work on homework ensures that I limit procrastination and actually get things done at a reasonable hour (meaning not 11:30pm or right before an assignment is due).
Don't be afraid to get ahead in classes
One of the things I learned to do in college was to constantly try and stay slightly ahead in my classes. Whether it be reading ahead in the textbook, taking more notes, watching an extra lecture if they are recorded, or finishing a paper that is due in a few weeks, try and stay ahead in your classes. Now I'm not saying to be three weeks ahead in a class and stress yourself out, but give yourself some buffer room if you find yourself having spare time to do more homework. You'll be glad you did if you happen to get sick or if you have to miss class for some reason.
These tips should be a starting point for your time management journey. You may find that you work better at night or work better in the morning. You might discover that you need more or less time studying than you thought. Stay open-minded and flexible as you determine your schedule each school year. In college, you have to stay flexible but also give yourself a schedule to help you manage your time and limit your stress as much as possible.