By Katie Llewellyn
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement’s findings, the average student spends about 17 hours each week preparing for classes, not including study groups or tutoring sessions.
On top of this, many students spend 30 to 40 hours a week at work. Add in time for attending religious functions and volunteering, along with time needed for social functions, familial obligations and things like cleaning, laundry, and cooking.
Time management is an invaluable skill for students to acquire. With a bit of strategic planning and an honest look at where your hours and minutes are being spent, students can make the most of their time and succeed without burning out.
How can you excel at time management?
Be honest about your current time management skills
The best way to take control of your time is by being aware of whether your current system is actually working for you. Do you plan a time for studying? Time for friends? Or do you wait until the last minute with assignments and say yes to a social event without checking your schedule? The good news is that even if you aren’t the best at time-management and planning now, you can build upon your skills.
Establish a routine
One of the best ways to ensure your time is well-managed and accounted for is to create a schedule for yourself. On it, you’ll want to note the times you will be attending class, time to study and write papers.
You’ll also want to include time for family obligations, work schedules and any other commitments you may have.
Then take stock of your free time. Determine when you will be able to fit in healthy habits like going to the gym or where a night with friends will fit in. Dedicate yourself to making time for those activities.
If you know when you need to accomplish certain tasks and follow through, you’ll be less likely to be caught unaware or become overwhelmed.
Something to note: Be sure not to overschedule or overextend yourself. Factor in time for commuting to and from school or work as well as for “down time” where you can get your laundry done or just relax.
When it comes to planning and managing time, a paper calendar or planner is going to be your best friend! Being able to physically see all your tasks laid out in front of you will help you keep tabs on what needs to be done and when.
A planner doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it just needs to be used and updated consistently.
Checklists and to-do lists can also help you keep organized and determine what needs to be your highest priority. Whether you have a weekly to-do list or a daily one, keeping up with what is due will give you more clarity in your planning.
Use technology for good
Anyone who owns a smartphone can admit that they have been sucked down the rabbit hole of Instagram, SnapChat, Buzzfeed, game apps, etc.
When stress begins to rear its ugly head, the first thing many of us do is try to drown out those feelings with an endless scroll. But looking at your roommate’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s Hawaiian-vacation selfie is not going to help you learn Biology.
Practicing self-discipline with your screen time is going to give you more freedom and reduce your stress. Some phones have screen-time trackers to let you know how much of your day you are spending on each of your apps, and many can even be programmed to let you know when you are going over a pre-determined limit. This may be especially helpful when you have a big assignment due or an exam to study for.
Technology can be very helpful too; there are plenty of planning apps and tools that can help you keep on top of your schedule on-the-go. Wunderlist, for example, is a great task-management app that allows you to add and update to-do lists, set due dates, and share your tasks, notes, and lists with fellow students.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help
If you are consistently overwhelmed or feel that you are struggling with anxiety or depression, it may be time to put your hand up. Contact Regent’s Center for Student Happiness or someone you trust about your concerns or any problems you are having. Asking for help may be the best thing you can do!