Juggling several classes, doing homework and projects, studying for tests, maybe working a part-time job, and still enjoying your college experience — it all seems impossible when put in writing. It’s no wonder that many people have difficulty managing their time as a college student.
However, many people have shown that it is indeed possible. All you need is discipline and better time management skills. Here are our best time management tips for college students.
Be Mindful of Time Wasters and Distractions
Thanks to our smartphones, mobile gaming, and social media, it’s arguably much easier to get distracted and waste time today than ever before. Pay attention to what distracts you as you work on your projects, assignments, and other responsibilities. What wastes your time and keeps you from doing your work consistently and completely?
After identifying your time wasters, the next step is to avoid them. If you check social media constantly, then keep your phone out of reach. You can also block social media sites from your computer to help you concentrate.
Take Breaks and Schedule Rewards
Taking breaks and scheduling rewards for yourself may seem contradictory, especially because one of our top tips for managing time in college is to avoid time wasters and distractions. However, strictly depriving yourself of all the things you enjoy doing because it would take up your study time or distract you can have a detrimental effect. You can burn out faster and become less motivated in general.
Appropriately timed breaks can help recharge your brain and renew your focus when studying. Moreover, you can use the time wasters and distractions you identified earlier as rewards to keep you motivated to finish your tasks.
Make a Schedule and Follow Through
Proper planning and scheduling is one of the most important time management tips for busy college students. It is also one of the hardest ones to follow, though.
Ideally, you should make a schedule of your responsibilities, classes, and study/review time for the week (or month). This helps you see which projects and deadlines to prioritize. Alternatively, you can start small with a to-do list. You can do this daily or at least for each time you sit down to work on your homework and projects.
When you create your schedule, it is also important to consider when you feel more productive. If you focus better and work faster at night, then don’t schedule the bulk of your review time in the morning.
Work on Smaller and Simpler Tasks First
Starting on smaller tasks is a great way to avoid getting overwhelmed by large projects. When you overwhelm yourself with the scope of what you need to do, you are likely to demotivate yourself and just procrastinate. In comparison, completing a task — regardless of how small — can help boost your confidence to finish the remaining ones.
Aside from working on smaller, simpler, or shorter tasks first, you can also break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, projects can be broken down into doable groups of tasks spread over several days. As for study sessions, you can set study goals and time limits for each.
A Lifetime Balancing Act
All four of these are more than just tips for time management in college. These are tips you can readily apply in your daily life after graduation. Balancing several college classes and responsibilities is hard, but the time management lessons you learn now will help you immensely once you start working.