Like most college students you may feel as if graduation is eons away, but it will be here before you know it. Time management skills are more important than ever because there is just so little time to get things done.
So I thought it would be a good idea to put together some ideas on how to stay organized, work smart and still find a work-life balance to keep sane. Let me share with you some tips that you can start using now.
The art of getting it done
Over the years I have found it especially useful to make lists of things that I need to get done. Often I will write the list out and check items off as they are completed. This really helps me to stay focused on important deadlines and gives me a real sense of accomplishment as I see things get crossed off the list. Often I will mentally go over the list just before bed and then again over my morning coffee.
I also find keeping a calendar to be essential. I still use a paper calendar, but I also like the Google calendar because it can send me email reminders and phone notifications.
If you like using apps then check out these time management apps:
- Sunrise Calendar
- Jorte Calendar
Another benefit of list-making is that it helps you to set goals and prioritize tasks. It’s a good idea to set a goal of accomplishing three to five work-related tasks each day. I have found this to be manageable and I don’t feel overwhelmed.
Remember, a task related to completing a big project such as a research paper could just be assembling a list of sources or researching your topic so that you can narrow its focus. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to try to get the whole paper written in one day. What you do is break down larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Then map them out on your calendar so that the whole project is completed on time.
Work-life balance is about time
There are only 168 hours in a week. How efficiently do you use them? Take the Time Management Pretest for Ohio University to find out. You’ll also find links to other tools and apps for busy college students.
Be sure to check with the Tutor Center or Student Center at your college. They probably have workshops and counselors to help you plan your schedule and manage your time better.
Another way to make sure that the important tasks get done is to limit the time that you spend, shall we say, goofing off? As you know social media, email and texts are a real time-suck (I’m guilty of this!).
Happily, there are apps that can run in the background while you work and limit your ability to be distracted.
Try these apps to help you stay on track:
- Focus Booster
Then again, it’s important to take a break from time to time and do something fun or relaxing.
According Nadia Kounang, “Watching cute cat videos is instinctive and good for you–seriously.” In her January 20, 2016, article for CNN.com Kounang explained, “In fact, studies have found that the pleasure centers of our brains are actually lighting up when we see something cute because there is a rush of dopamine to the brain. It’s a response similar to when we eat sugar or have sex.”
I also recommend that you get up and take a walk during your break. Exercise works magic on both the brain and body.
For more time management ideas check out the October 14, 2009, USNews.com article “Top 12 Time-Management Tips” by Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman.