July 17, 2020
Regardless of your age or grade, time management and organizational skills can be a struggle. Finding the right way to stay on task and focused while managing other areas of your life can be overwhelming. However, I have been practicing and researching ways that will help make this a comfortable and easier process to find the best fit for managing your time.
According to a study done by a research company FileMaker Inc., 48.4 percent of college students say that they don’t find enough time to do their coursework. Another survey showed that over 87 percent of students said that if they had better time management skills they would perform better in their classes. From maintaining a social life, coursework and with some students having to get jobs just to pay for college, many think it is impossible to maintain these areas of life.
This is where the skill of time management comes into play. This isn’t to say that getting 4.0’s — which is equivalent to an A — in any of your classes is easy, but I hope to help with any struggles you may have when it comes to balancing and managing your time between course work, studying and your social life.
The number one way to find the time management layout for your life is to create time for it. In order to be organized and able to manage all you need to do, there needs to be time in your day that you will have blocked out to focus on your schedule or things to do. The best way that I have been able to stay organized and able to complete all my coursework without missing deadlines was through writing in a planner. I am a planner enthusiast! Without it I would be completely lost. As a senior at Michigan State University, and regardless of where you are in college, it can be difficult to know what to do in regards to setting a planner out. A technique I have used since my freshman year at MSU is during syllabus week, I open up the set of dates for all the assignments, projects and exams. I then mark on my calendar for each month when each assignment will be due. I repeat this for my other classes and then eventually you will see your months, weeks and days easier to know what day you should spend more time on which class.
Along with writing out all the coursework for your classes, I have found it helpful — and also fun — to color code each class with a specific color. It also helped me to highlight the important dates of when exams are or when projects are due. This makes it easier to see when the deadlines are so you won’t miss them. However, some planners can be expensive for some and I have an alternative way for those who would like to save some money. This helpful tool is a bullet journal. This can be created in a regular notebook or even by buying an actual bullet journal. These have dotted lines and you are the creator of how your planner looks. There are ideas on how to write out and organize the pages of the journal on Pinterest that I find effective and aesthetically pleasing to look at.
If writing and drawing don’t match your style or skills, there are other free and easier ways to be able to manage your time. There are apps that can be downloaded on your phone or computer that work the same way a physical planner would. Of course for those iPhone users, there is an app called Calendar where you can put in your day-to-day plan, block out time and look over what needs to get done. Another option is to download the MyHomework app. This app allows you to put in your class schedule information, course assignments with their due dates and choose a background theme to create an overall pleasing aesthetic. This app can be downloaded on multiple platforms. One includes through Google Chrome and other mobile app stores besides the iPhone Application Store.
Another tip that I find helpful once I create my class schedule is to mark in my phone calendar the time, location and classes that I have per day. It may seem strange, but when I was a freshman there would be times when I would mix up the rooms and times of classes. You may not want to email your math professor asking where the class is when you really need to be in your English class…let me save you the time and embarrassment. I also suggest setting an alert 30 mins before classes in case you are buried in your school work or happen to fall asleep.
Aside from having a planner, which is a very effective way to manage your time and physically see all you need to accomplish, another tip for college students would be to make a daily schedule for yourself. This can be as simple or complex as you make it. However, I suggest a basic daily to-do list that you can write out and put somewhere on your wall to see what needs to be accomplished that day. I suggest buying a little white board that you can write on so it makes it easy to see, erase and remake each day.
Of course like anything else, this will take time to develop the habit of doing. Writing in a planner, marking your calendar and blocking out time are ways to practice time management. In the end these methods will help save you time and improve your focus for the day and could result in overall improvements in your academic performance.
Jaclyn Krizanic is a senior studying Professional Writing and minoring in Graphic Design. Jaclyn plans to apply her knowledge and skill sets she has gained from her major into her current, future and professional work. Jaclyn loves to write poetry and inspires to publish a book of poems and short stories upon her graduation.