Time Management

Many college students are not aware of the need to develop skills for effective time management until they face problems.

Successful time management can give you more chances to accomplish what is important to you.

When time is on your side, you can be less stressed out and more creative.

Irrational Beliefs about Time Management

We often have our own “reasons” why we can’t or won’t organize our time. Let’s look at some of them.

“I work better under time pressure”

Fact: Time pressure usually creates more stress, especially when you face unexpected incidents. Rather than relying on external time pressure, you can develop your own timeline to make you motivated.

“I don’t have control over my life”

Fact: You cannot control everything happening in your life, but you do have control over many aspects of your life. The important task is to differentiate what you can control and what you cannot and decide what can be done under the circumstances.

“I should do everything perfectly”

Fact: You don’t have superpowers. Everyone has limits and needs to learn how to work within these limits. When you are not aware of these limits, you will feel exhausted and frustrated.

“I shouldn’t say “No”

Fact: For many people, it is hard to say no to others because we don’t want to disappoint others or hurt others’ feelings. However, their demand may be poorly timed, highly questionable, or simply impossible. By focusing on others’ needs, you may ignore what you need and what is important to you.

Strategies for Time Management

Step #1: Know yourself

  • Assess your current time management pattern by tracking how you spend your time.
  • Know your style. Find time and places where you can maximize your potential. Some people work better at night, while others prefer mornings. How about you?

Step #2: Learn time management skills

Analyze your tasks. Two critical factors in analyzing are Urgency and Importance.

Tasks can be "urgent and important", "urgent and unimportant", "unurgent and important", or "unurgent and unimportant".

Stress comes from “urgent and important” tasks. With advanced planning, a few things will become urgent.

  • Prioritize tasks. Since you already know the importance and urgency of tasks, it is easy to make a priority of tasks.
  • Make plans and backup plans. There is always a chance that something unexpected will come up. Don’t feel frustrated by not having control, but make backup plans in advance.
  • Keep a master schedule for all your classes so you are aware of the big picture.

Things To Remember:

  • Control time instead of it controlling you.
  • Procrastination usually takes more energy in the long run than just doing it.
  • Recognize your limits: there are only 24 hours in a day and we cannot do everything, so pick what matters most and spend your time doing it.
  • Remember your life goals: they can provide motivation and help prioritize.
  • Reward yourself for accomplishments (buy yourself something, catch a movie, tell a friend who will pat you on your back).
  • Pay continual attention to your balance of work and fun: this job is never done, but it will pay off substantially in the long run.