What is Time Management?
- "I always end up cramming for exams."
- "I never have enough time to do my work."
- "I only study when there's the pressure of a test."
- "My work always takes longer than I expect."
- "I've tried to make schedules for myself, but I don't stick to them."
- "I've tried to make schedules for myself, but unexpected things come up."
- "When I'm doing work in one subject, I get distracted by thoughts of what I have to do for my other classes."
Sound familiar? The good news is that there is enough time for the things you want to do, but only if you learn to manage your time wisely.
In high school, you got up at the same time everyday and you probably went to school from about 8 AM to 3 PM. You basically had no say in where your time was spent. Now that you are in college your schedule is your responsibility. So what do you do? Study or have fun? These decisions are easier to make with the use of a few techniques to better manage your time.
Guidelines for Prioritizing Your Time
Student Dialog - Managing Your Time
Deena: Brian, why do you think you need help managing your time?
Brian: Well, I came here expecting college to be a time for having fun, making new friends, experiencing life without Mom and Dad's nagging, and getting a degree. But, now I feel really pressured and I don't seem to have enough time to get anything done. I just don't know how you manage your time, what with the family, the farm, group meetings, and the community activities in which you are involved.
Deena: Well, it hasn't been easy. I have a new respect for what my husband has to do when planning for our farm operation – especially now that I am in school. You know, if you are feeling frustrated or upset, you may want to focus on learning to manage your time and take control of your life as a college student.
Deena: Okay, time for a reality check. As it turns out, for every hour I spend in class, I need about two to three hours of preparation. That includes assignments, of course, but it also includes preparing for lectures or other school-related activities. How many credits do you have this semester?
Deena: That's a lot when you consider that for each credit it takes two to three hours to attend class and keep up with the work. Let's see, hmmmm . . . you need 45 hours a week just for schoolwork.
Brian: And don't forget, I need time to relax, and sometimes, I like to visit with my family.
Deena: That's right. That's important for your well being as well as your social life. Your folks like to know you're alive and well too.
Brian: I need time to sleep...
Brian: Well, how are we going to make time for everything?
Deena: We'll be getting to that in a minute. First, I want you to take a few minutes to think about the activities and responsibilities that demand your time outside of the classroom.
One of the hardest things about managing time is determining priorities, especially when those priorities are associated with activities you really like to do, and other activities that are very low on your list of favorites.
Here are some ideas of categories for setting priorities:
- Activities that are required or essential – things you have to do every day.
- Activities that are required, but that you do periodically at specific periods or intervals.
- Activities that are variable – in other words required or essential, but not occurring at specific times. These activities may or may not lend themselves to allocating specific amounts of time.
- Activities that are important, but not required. These are recommended or advisable things to do, but they can be postponed or rescheduled if necessary.
- Activities that require time for planning, problem solving, reflecting, and thinking.
- Activities that can be classified as unexpected or unplanned events or emergencies.
By using these categories, or categories like these, you can conceptually start with a blank slate, and then "insert" activities according to their priorities.