Time Management Tips for College Students

The Contents of our August Care Package Just Might Help You…

When school’s back in session, college students are busier than ever, juggling academics, with part-time jobs, and social lives. Developing time management skills can help you check everything off your to-do list in plenty of time to relax, unwind, and socialize with friends.

college student studying

Make School Your Work Day

Especially if you’re a full-time student, it’s a good idea to devote the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to school work and classes. This method gives you eight hours per day, plus a lunch break, to accomplish all your tasks and complete your school assignments. It also gives you your evenings free to enjoy binge-watching your favorite show, hanging out in the student union building, playing video games, or enjoying hobbies.

Identify Your Time-Wasters, and Bust Them

This isn’t your first rodeo. You know the things that take your attention away from your school work or daily schedule. Turn your back on them, so you don’t lose concentration. If it’s the TV, start by turning it off, and facing a different wall in your room. If it’s a noisy roommate, grab a pair of noise-canceling headphones. If it’s your cell phone, put it on silent, and stow it in your desk drawer while you work. Take the Digital Detox Challenge in this month’s My College Crate to help you defeat tech-based time-wasters!

Plan Ahead by Creating a To-Do List

A surefire way to make sure you get everything done each day is to make a list and mark off each line item as you complete tasks. It’s satisfying to review your list at the end of the day and to see all that you’ve accomplished. Use the index cards from your August My College Crate care package as your to-do list paper for the semester. They’re extra-sturdy, so you can even use them as bookmarks and take your to-do lists along with you. Or, if you’re not into analog lists, download a free list-making app on your smartphone, like AnyList, and enter your tasks into it each day.

Prioritize your to-do list by how long tasks will take you to complete. Finish the small, easy tasks first, then focus the majority of your time on the more complicated ones. Completing the easy tasks first is a great way to start feeling the satisfaction of marking things off your to-do list and helps you build momentum to keep working.

Don’t Multitask

While it seems like you could accomplish more things by doing multiple at once, the myth of multitasking has been debunked over and over. In fact, multitasking can actually reduce your productivity by 40 percent! To get things done, only do one task at a time. Give it your entire focus, and not only will you get it done faster, but you’ll also do it much better than you would if you were distracted.

Adopt the Pomodoro Technique

No, it has nothing to do with eating tomatoes. The Pomodoro Technique was born in the 1990s as a way to maximize productivity and take strategically-placed breaks. To use this technique, work in short 25-minute intervals, broken up with 5-minute breaks. Take your breaks away from your workspace, and return when your five minutes are up. Every fourth 25-minute interval, take a longer break.

Mastering these tips will help you manage your time well and make the most of your years in school. What other tactics do you use for smart time management?