How to Manage Your Time in College

Time spelled on clock

Time management is defined as the ability to use one’s time effectively, and is one of the most important keys to success in life, but it also one of the hardest skills to maintain. Over time, I have made a list of things that help me manage my time wisely and stay on track as best as I can, and in this blog I am going to share my tips to managing time.

The first suggestion that I have, and personally cannot go without, is to keep a calendar or planner, or even both. This makes it so much easier to keep track of assignments and upcoming events. If you invest in a calendar or even use a calendar app on your phone, such as Google Calendar or Calendars byReaddle, you can check it daily and have it all in one place so you’re never forgetting anything. Using phone apps make it even easier because they give you reminders when there is an upcoming event, and it is easy to add in events and check your schedule anywhere you go, considering we all have our phones on us anyways. Something this simple can make a huge difference in how we plan our time, because if we know our deadlines we can plan accordingly. This goes hand-in-hand with the skill of planning ahead. Instead of worrying about what needs to get done, we can make a list from most-to-least important tasks that need to get done, and take them on one by one. This can be done the night before or the morning during breakfast.

If you are one of those people who tend to not know where your time is going or being wasted on, a good skill is to make a time audit and then set a time limit to each task you do. A good place to start in time management is to figure out where your time is going in the first place. There is actually an app for that as well, called RescueTime. You can see reports on what’s been taking up your time, and then make the appropriate adjustments, such as setting the time limits to reduce distractions or procrastination. It always helps to set time goals, because when you finish your tasks in the set time-slot, you get a feeling of accomplishment that makes you feel good and motivated to get more done and keep the productive ball rolling.

Apart of staying within those time goals is the ability to step away from bad distractions. A method that a lot of people find helpful is to set alarms. Alarms can be used not only to wake up, but if you know you are going to be around people or things who distract you, you can just set an alarm for a certain time, and when it goes off you know it’s time to leave and be productive. It’s an easy way to never use the excuse of losing track of time. Another way of not letting distractions take over is being able to say no. Saying no to doing fun things, like hanging out with friends, isn’t great and isn’t something you always need to do. However, if you know there’s a lot to get done you have to prioritize and make the smart choice to say no and miss out on the fun for the sake of success. If you find it hard to say no you can have someone such as a parent or sibling or best friend who is always around make up an excuse for you, or jump in and say no, there’s more important, time sensitive things that need to be done, and you can not go out and throw off the schedule.

Although time management is so important, people miss deadlines all the time. If for some reason none of these tips worked, or maybe you just forgot about a task completely, there’s something that is just as important to help you get through it. It’s called owning up to your mistakes. No one is perfect and accidents do happen, it’s part of life. The best thing to do in these scenarios is to speak to whoever is involved, and apologize and try harder next time, and hope they are understanding. It is not realistic to think you will never mess up, but with time management comes responsibility, and part of responsibility is taking accountability.

Hopefully this helped anyone who may have needed a little guidance on how to manage time wisely.