Making the most of your minutes

By on April 29, 2009

We’ve all been there. You have 20 minutes until your next class and you’ve got two essays to write, a PowerPoint to finish, some math homework to do and you could really use a burger. Where did all the time go? Those essays you were assigned two weeks ago never got started in advance like you planned. There is more information on your test than you originally thought. You promised you would meet your friends later, but there isn’t enough time.

If these scenarios paint a picture of your current life, you’ve unfortunately fallen into the habit of poor time management. Mostly everyone has been there a time or two in their lives; the key is overcoming it and preventing it. If you find yourself not knowing where to start, here is a list of things that will help you control your assignments and priorities before they start snowballing.

1. Figure out just where your time goes during the day: How much time do you spend studying? Now- how much time do you spend playing that video game or “Facebook stalking?” Figuring out where you spend most of your time is the first step to understand how to manage it.

2. Prioritize: We all share in the joy of socializing and relaxing, but doing well in your classes is even more important. Once you find out where your time goes during a normal day, adjust it. Figure out what is most important and devote more time to it. Prioritize your schedule so that you deal with the biggest threats and obstacles first. The job will get easier as it goes along. Playing a game is much more enjoyable when you don’t have the dark cloud of a lab report looming over you.

3. Work in steps: Don’t try to get everything done in a long marathon session. Set small goals for yourself along the way. Did you finish the first draft of that English essay? If so, allow some time for a little relaxation. Be sure that you give yourself enough time to actually complete these steps.

4. Put it in writing: If it’s not in writing, it gets hard to remember. Make a schedule, print it out and put it somewhere you’ll notice it. If it’s not in solid form, your chances of overlooking it or forgetting about it increase.

5. Buy a planner: It’s worth the money. Planners don’t cost much, and you can usually find some for free in some of the offices around campus. Once you have a planner, write down your schedule in it. Make it a habit to check it daily. Take it with you to class so you can prioritize your assignments as they are given to you.

6. Once you have a schedule, stick to it: Be loyal to your schedule, and you won’t stress as much. If you really should be working on that term paper, don’t head to the gym. Use your workout as a stress reliever after the paper is finished.

7. Give yourself time to have fun: You’ll go crazy if you don’t give yourself time to just relax. Once you’re done, reward yourself. Go see a movie or play sports outside – anything that is fun for you. You’ve done your work, so celebrate!

If you want more advice on how to budget your time, go online. Check out studygs.net/timman and time-management-guide.com for more information.

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