Managing Your Time In College

Saturday, August 30, 2014



I will forever be jealous of people who can just "wing it" their whole lives. Perhaps it's a bit lame and might take the fun out of things, but I need some aspects of my life calculated to my best ability. I like routines and schedules and getting things done at my own pace rather than rushing. In my experience it makes things, generally, run a heck of a lot smoother. You can fight me on this and I probably won't argue because everybody has their own way of handling situations (in this case: college, more specifically the workload that comes along with it).

How do I handle my college workload? After crying for a few minutes and complaining about how incompetent I am and how I should just drop out of school all together, I collect myself and proceed with how I actually handle it: managing my time. 

Time management is one of the easiest and most helpful steps in trying to get your life together (side note: is it possible for any college student to have their life together? I've never met one). It's free, it requires little to no materials, and it could possibly save your sanity.

Between actually going to class, the work that comes along with it, eating (legitimate use of time, sssh), a social life, regular work, and sleep (which seems totally optional at times), there is probably little to no time for anything else. Life would probably just seem simpler if there were 3 or 4 extra hours in the day. If you can correctly and successfully manage your time, it's going to feel like you tacked a few extra hours onto your day without really trying. 

I will talk about agendas for the rest of eternity, but GET ONE. Writing down all of your assignments and important due dates in the future will make your life easier when it comes time to actually doing them. This will also put everything in one place to keep you from flipping through various syllabi and loose sheets of paper that you might have used to jot down a date or two. Having everything in one place lessens the chance of an assignment getting lost or forgotten. I got a Lilly Pulitzer agenda for the second year in a row and I am in love with it. I always get pumped to pull it out during class! 

Pick a class to work on. Hopping from homework assignment to homework assignment can get confusing, especially if it's two completely opposite subjects. For example, this semester I have 3 Communications classes and 2 Spanish classes. Therefore, I will do my Spanish 302 home and Spanish 202 homework in succession so I'm not hopping from English to Spanish back to English and back to Spanish once more. This could go for any combination, really. Getting your work done class by class will keep you from forgetting to finish an assignment or missing a section because you thought you were done but you weren't.

Once you've got your class chosen, make a game plan. What needs to be done first? For a real life example, this was my Spanish 302 assignment from Tuesday (translated into English, of course):  Read pages 2-4, complete exercises on pages 5 and 6 ABC, review pages 7-12, complete exercise B on page 12, and fill out handout. Reviewing pages 7-12 would help me complete the handout, so I did those two first. Next, I read the short story on pages 2-4, which I would need to do exercises ABC. Exercise B on page 12 had no relevance to either of the two other clusters, so I saved it for last. 

For an online class, my professor listed what we needed to do for the assignment in a numbered list and I loved that she did that. I copied to down onto a post it note and stuck it above my desk so I don't have to access Blackboard one million times to check the assignment. You just have to cross the tasks off as you go and voila! you've completed your homework.

Dealing with distractions is the hardest part of managing your time. On Wednesday, it took me 5 hours to do my Spanish homework and I wanted so badly to just sit and chat with my roommate. The problem is that we could talk for hours. If I didn't stop myself from doing so, I would get absolutely no work done. A reward system is great for managing your time. If you do a solid hour of work, reward yourself with something, whether it be a break for food, chatting, working out, a Youtube video, whatever. You're going to hate yourself and resent the work you're doing if you force yourself to complete it in one sitting. That's just craziness. Time management is not sitting down and making yourself do work with time constraints--it's about planning out how to use your time wisely while still managing to have a life. 

You've got to find yourself someplace comfortable--but not too comfortable--to do your work the way you prioritized. It's going to take a few tries and a bit of time to be completely comfortable with the way you learn to manage your time. It's not a one size fits all sort of situation. Different things work for different people! Time management can be the biggest savior when it comes to productivity in a college environment. With so many activities going on, why would you want to be tied down by work for hours with no end in sight? 

What's your favorite way to manage time whilst in school? 

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