Time management is one of the most important skills learners need master in order to be successful in college. Learning to effectively manage their time will also be vital to their success in whatever your students choose to do after graduation.  In How to Study in College, authors Walter Pauk and Ross J. Q. Owens outline how creating a schedule and using all time wisely can help optimize time management. Share these tips with your students, or take a couple into consideration as you work to get the turkey to the table on time this Thanksgiving!

One way for students to essentially add extra hours — and study opportunities — to their day is to find time that they probably don’t even realize is there. Help them to be prepared for when this “hidden time” arises by sharing these tips:

  • Bring Work with You on the Go: Bring along note cards to study key terms for an upcoming exam when you find you have some unexpected time on your hands, for example when you find yourself waiting on someone or you end up in a long line. You could also carry around assigned readings or a draft to a paper that you can easily edit when you have free time.
  • Turn Mundane Tasks into Opportunities: When doing simple activities that don’t use your entire brain, such as preparing a meal or washing dishes, study by attaching note cards at eye level with tape or clips.
  • Listen and Learn: Record information you need to know for an exam on an MP3 file or burn onto a CD.  This will allow you to keep studying when your eyes are busy or tired and it also offers a nice change from studying traditional written information. (pp. 26-27)

In addition to finding extra time, these tips for focusing on organizing and planning out your schedule can help ensure your time is being managed effectively, and help you avoid falling prey to extra holiday stress:

  • Use a Calendar:  Try multiple types of calendars and see what works best for your lifestyle.  You can use a traditional paper agenda, or try keeping everything in-hand by using your cellphone.
  • Schedule Everything:  In addition to academic responsibilities, record everything on this calendar that will take time from your schedule, such as social events and other engagements.
  • Plan Ahead: If you have a large project, write down the due date in your calendar and work backward to determine when you need to have your research, first draft, etc. completed. Creating a schedule (and sticking to it) will limit procrastination and stress.
  • Create To-Do Lists: Create a daily to-do list.  This should be a simple list of things to do for the day in order of priority. Break large projects up into manageable pieces, which will make your tasks seem more manageable and achievable. Once you have completed an assignment check it off or cross it out. It will give you a sense of security and accomplishment, which will encourage you to complete all tasks on your list. (pp. 36 – 39)

Using and sharing these tips can not only help you master time management in the classroom, it can also equip you for tackling tasks outside those walls — and help you make it through the holidays, and even finals, with more time and less stress!


Reference: Content adapted from Pauk, Walter and Owens, Ross J. Q. 2011. How to Study in College, 10E Boston, MA. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Reproduced by permission. www.cengage.com/permissions

Post Author: lindsy.lettre.