Learning to Manage Your Time

We all wished we had more time to do things we need and want to do. Ensuring all your tasks are complete may not be realistic for a college student without time management skills.

Slide 1 (introductory slide): Welcome to the TLC’s time-management online workshop.

Slide 2: This workshop will introduce you to ideas, strategies, and tools that will enhance your productivity and maximize your time. Use the information in this workshop to help you set goals and create your own time management plan.

Slide 3: Do you ever find that you are halfway through the day, but you haven’t accomplished anything? Most people who make good use of their time, make deliberate choices and use strategies to assist them in achieving their goals.

Slide 4: College is very challenging. You will be expected to read lots of materials, study regularly, and complete papers, projects, and exams throughout the semester. Many of you are also balancing jobs and family. In order to not become overwhelmed, you need to understand how you currently use your time, and how to set goals, prioritize, plan, and schedule so you make the most of your college experience.

Slide 5: In order to understand how you spend your time, track it for one week by keeping a daily activity log. Write down everything you do and the amount of time it takes. After the week is over, you will be able to see how much time you spend on school, commuting, socializing, family, and work. As you do this, keep in mind that college requires at least two hours outside of class for every hour in class. This means if you are taking six credit hours, you will need 12 hours outside of class to study. Once you understand how you spend your time, you can adjust so you have enough time for college.

Slide 6: Once you understand how you use time, you can be proactive by setting goals, integrating efficient time-management and organizational tools, and using creative and efficient study strategies.

Slide 7: What are your lifelong goals? What do you want to have done, been, had, and given to the world before the end of your life? After spending some time dreaming about and setting goals that excite you for the future, begin to set goals for today that will lead you towards those lifelong goals. Once you establish your long-term goals, work backwards. Your short-term and mid-term goals depend on your long-term goals. This is how big dreams are accomplished; one day at a time; one small goal at a time.

Slide 8: In order to accomplish your goals, you will need to use organizational and time-management tools, including a semester calendar, a weekly calendar, and to-do list. Luckily, there are many free apps that you can use to plan your daily schedule.

Slide 9: If you have never had a planner, you may want to start with a monthly planner. Otherwise, for people with 21 or more unique appointments or meetings in a week, use a daily planner. For those who have between 7 and 20 unique appointments or meetings in a week, use a weekly planner. For those who have fewer than seven unique appointments in a week, use a monthly planner. Also, consider that time-oriented organizers like to place their to-do list directly into their schedule. They will use a daily planner and schedule each item into a time slot. Task-oriented organizers prefer to make a separate to-do list and fit the items on the to-do list in as they go. Also, consider using technology. The benefits of using technology include reminders, alarms, and the ability to communicate anywhere to organize and sync with your computer. Just make sure you’re using technology to complement your academic life and not as a diversion.

Slide 10: Use a semester calendar to record all of your tests, quizzes, projects, and paper due dates. This helps you to know what is coming and to plan your study sessions accordingly.

Slide 11: The weekly master to-do list is a great way to compile everything you need to complete for each class you are taking. Keep the list with you for reference. To compile a weekly master to-do list, take out your syllabus for each class and list the things you need to accomplish that week under each class title.

Slide 12: Most students under estimate the time needed to complete assignments. Don’t do poorly because you didn’t leave yourself enough time. Instead, get a good sense of the time you need to complete assignments by keeping a real-time assignment log. First, write a short description of the assignment and how long you think it will take to complete. Then, write in the actual time it took to complete the assignment. After a while, you will have a better idea of how long it takes for you to complete different types of assignments, and you will able to account for this in your study plan.

Slide 13: Although you will need to adjust your study cycle for each class, in general you will want to preview your notes right before class, and then review your notes right after class. You will also want to schedule regular study sessions that last between 30 to 50 minutes.

Slide 14: For each of your study sessions, be sure to set a goal and monitor distractions so you can focus. If you follow the steps on this slide, you will have a productive study session.