How to time manage school-work, and play.

We all learn pretty young how important homework and projects are for a class. It helps us take the material we have learned from that week or day, take it home, and then practice it. However,  as time goes on more tasks and opportunities come into your life, this is when having good time management technique becomes extremely important.

It took me until my second year of college to realize how important time-management was to being successful (both inside and outside of school). I am going to provide ways that can help you time manage your life more efficiently, so you can make prioritizing school work and play time achievable.

STAY ORGANIZED:  Whether it is buying individual notebooks, or having color coordinated folders, make sure you have something that can hold all of your papers, homeworks, etc. for each class individually. It is so important to make this a priority when starting a new semester.Different colors worked best for me, maybe you have your own way of using binders or folders, just make sure you have a different place for each class. ( AND DON’T FORGET IT WHEN GOING TO CLASS!).  My college survival asset * At-a-Glance notebook planner*( My college sold these at the school store, and I continued to buy them after college at Office Max! This honestly saved my butt so many times. I would bring it to class everyday and write down what my homework assignments were, when my homework assignments were due, doctors appointments, birthdays, when I would get paid, when bills were due, EVERYTHING that had a time frame.When employers ask me if I am organized, I can provide actual proof of what I use on the regular, and explain how essential it was to me to start using this in college. I always knew when things were due, and what was expected of me each week. I highly recommend using the daily planner  or similar to help you keep organized!

AVOID DISTRACTIONS:  Okay, we all know how easy it is to be distracted, but, what you also need to realize is that if you don’t do your homework, or projects for class, you won’t have the opportunity to be distracted anymore, because you may not be able to stay at school. (It’s true, failing out of school is actually pretty common). It is so important to keep yourself away from distractions.

Ways to make this happen: Have a test or a lot of homework to do??  GO TO THE LIBRARY! No one can bother you if you go over there, (just make sure to keep your phone on silent ; )!! ) I will admit, it is harder by then end of the week to not fall into the distractions of going out, however, if you learn how to time manage right, you will be a pro at making sure all your homework and projects are done by 6:30 on Thursday night, so you can still go out and be a college partying hero. Make the library your way of making college your priority. Whoever says going there is not ” cool” those are the people who graduate with 2.5 GPA’s, or fail out. Learn that you are the only on contributing to YOUR grades, and the library can be the asset to help you achieve that goal.

SET HOMEWORK TIMES: Fortunately college allows you flexibility when choosing classes, ( unless you wait to the last minute and get stuck with all the crappy times). Once you have a good feel on how much time you have between classes, and what days you have classes on, start to  set-up time frames for studying. Whether you spend 2 hours on Monday for something due Wednesday, or an hour each day, it is better to spend a chunk of time 2 days before it is due then waiting to the last minute ( But, you already knew that, right?!)  I honestly found working with other students in my classes really helped motivate me to complete my work in an appropriate time-frame. If you are someone who does like to socialize, this may benefit you as well. ( Just make sure you are with colleagues who also want to do well in class). I learned more working with my colleagues and studying with them, 110% better than doing it myself. But I am an extrovert, some people prefer the complete opposite. Just do what’s best for you.

FIND YOUR SPACE:  As I mentioned before, going to the library to do work or study is key to successfully avoiding distractions. However, you can still accomplish work in your dorm room or apartment, you just have to make sure you are not in a room where people are always going to be, (ex. living room or kitchen). Find a quiet place in your house where you know you will not be interpreted. This is so important for you to find space, or else you have to use the library for everything! * Make this a priority.

STILL HAVE FUN: Homework and projects should be your number one priority, but lets be serious, this is the first time in your life where you don’t have your parents curfew or rules to abide by. As long as you feel you have completed you assignments for class, going out is reasonable. Going out every day, probably not, but if this is the type of person you are, make sure you are still making time right after class to finish your assignments. Sundays were my go-to day. I would be able to party hard Thursday night- sat night, but Sunday was my homework all day time. The library was a great resource on Sundays, not many people were ever there, so it was easy for me to be more relaxed and take the whole day to complete all my tasks due for the upcoming week.

Basically, time management goes hand-in-hand with how well you prioritize your life, and how organized you are. College is best at teaching you these habits. When you graduate and have these skills masters, potential employers LOVE knowing you have this skill. “You can balance homework, social life, work, class, and gym/sports?? WOAH, you are exactly what we are looking for!” — Believe me, you will benefit from writing everything down that is expected of you for the week or month. You can even have reminders around your place, ( post-it’s), for another way of making sure you are able to accomplish everything you need to. Just realize that these tools help you manage your time efficiently, but it does take time and practice to do well.

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