Some college classes seem infinitely more useful than others. You will definitely employ Marketing skills while working as a sales manager, but Art History classes might end up being a waste of time. On the other hand, some things are never taught in college, leaving you to learn them on your own. Lucky for you, we are here to pick up the slack and share the time-management tips and tricks learned through the painful trial-and-error experience. These techniques will spare you a lot of pain and missed opportunities, while you are still in college and later when you start your career.
Where Does Your Time Go?
Have you ever worked through the weekend only to discover that none of your homework has been done? The problem is that you dont realize how much time you spend on useless and unimportant activities. To master time-management, you need to measure your time expenses first. It will help you understand the extent of the problem.
You can go about this in a few different ways. If you are never far from a pen and a notebook, use them to write down what you are doing every 30 minutes. Or you can install a time-tracking application on all your devices and use it to track your activities automatically. The trick is to remember to turn the timer on and switch it off when you are done with each of the activities.
At this stage, you dont have to alter your routine, just note down everything you do, and the amount of time you spend. After 7 or 10 days, you will have enough data to analyze. You will be surprised at how little of your time is actually spent on homework. Instead, you will see the number of hours you waste on social media, Netflix, and gaming. Even if the picture looks drastic, dont be too depressed, we are about to change it!
What Do You Want And Have To Do?
Now lets create a couple of lists. The first one will contain all the things you have to do as a college student. This list will include your classes, language learning sessions, time for homework and revision, commute, meals, and extracurriculars. Feel free to add any other activities that are important for your studies, health, and general wellbeing.
The second list is much more pleasurable, as it will contain all the things you want to do with your free time. Just jot down all ideas that come to mind, from reading a book to checking your Facebook page, going out with friends or watching a movie. When you have a list, you dont have to think long and hard about what to do with your free time. Besides, regular breaks are important to keep your productivity high.
When Will You Complete Each Task?
When your to-do list expands in the weeks before the finals, it can become overwhelming. Instead of lumping all tasks together, find the time each weekend to plan the next seven days. Use a paper planner or an app on your phone to slot in the time of your classes and other scheduled activities. Add the time needed for completing homework assignments and dont forget about breaks.
You will have to estimate, how much time every task will take you and add these time periods to your calendar. At first, your calculations might be all over the place. But in time, you will learn to gauge your ability to complete each assignment, and you wont have to shuffle your tasks so much.
What Should You Do With New Tasks?
College life can be hectic. Every day you get new assignments, ideas, and data for your essays and research papers. You get invitations to parties, games and sleepovers. However, there is no time to analyze all the incoming information and add it to your carefully planned calendar.
Instead of wasting precious time, create an inbox for every new piece of information. Write it down and store carefully. When the time comes for you to plan your next week, go through everything in your inbox. Some information will lose its value, so you can discard it. Other ideas will be useful during your study sessions, while invitations can help you plan your downtime. If you feel like sorting your inbox weekly is not often enough, you can do it once every few days.
What Should You Do If Your Plans Go To Hell?
Even perfectionists cant always complete every task they have planned. Life is a series of unpredictable events that are just waiting to ruin your careful plans. So instead of hoping for the best, ensure your calendar has enough room for improvisation and unexpected changes. Do not plan important and time-sensitive tasks back-to-back. Always leave a window of opportunity to keep your plans flexible.
Review your plans at the end of the week and note the tasks you havent been able to complete. Reschedule them for a later date and try to avoid unreasonable planning in the future. And dont beat yourself up, you are only learning time-management, so there is always room for improvement.
Of course, with time and practice, you will come up with your own tips and tricks to manage your college schedule. If you do, remember to share them with us and your fellow learners. And good luck with your planning!