Time Management

Be efficient. Keep it simple. Schedule your time. Get important things done.

Has it occurred to you that you are busy all day but nothing important gets done? Setting priorities and effectively managing your time are vital to your success. Here are some tips for effective scheduling and time management:

  1. Keep a long-term schedule (one year, four years) so that you can plan ahead and avoid missing important targets. Put all the activities (tests, projects) into your calendar for the whole term.
  2. Keep weekly and daily schedules. Plan ahead every week and every day.
  3. Review your learning style and take this into account when developing a study schedule.
  4. When setting up your schedule, utilize all sources of information available (Course syllabus, term activities calendar, sports schedules, etc).
  5. Spread work out over the entire term. Studying small amounts daily works better than does cramming or pulling an "all-nighter".
  6. Don't forget computer access needs. Avoid heavy user traffic, especially printers. Plan ahead as much as possible.
  7. Conquer procrastination. Here are some tips:
    1. Fear of failure: Identify the fear and determine its causes.
      Are you putting things off because of your fear of failure? Rationally analyze your situation.
    2. Do a task analysis.
    3. If you feel overwhelmed, break down your task into smaller pieces, set goals for each segment and achieve them one by one until you cross the finish line.
    4. Weigh the consequences.
      What if I put this off? I might not be able to finish this before it's due, then I couldn't get a passing grade. I might fail in this course...
    5. Create a deadline
      Work with the deadline set by your professor, and create sub deadlines along the way.
  8. Are you studying reasonably efficiently? If you find you have put in a lot of time on some material and still received a poor grade, consider reviewing your methods with your professor to see what you were doing wrong (Did you miss some major concept?). Ten minutes spent getting help on a troublesome topic from the professor may produce the same results as a couple hours on your own battling with it.
  9. The 7-week schedule will cause courses to move at a faster pace than high school courses did. A couple of days doing nothing may put you a lot farther behind than you think they will.

Additional Tips for Setting Up a Schedule

  • The best time to review for a lecture course is right after the class meets.
  • The best time to review for a participation course (class discussion, seminar) is right before the class meets.
  • In general, study periods for one course should not be longer than two hours at a time.
  • If possible, a quick exercise break or high-protein snack might be helpful to reduce your fatigue after prolonged study periods.
  • Study periods for one course should be spaced out over the entire week, not concentrated on just one or two days.
  • When memorizing and learning details are required, study periods should be short and frequent.
  • Study periods can be longer when learning general concepts and material where your mind can make connections with other concepts in a meaningful way.
  • Vary the order of the types of subjects studied.
  • The most effective time for memorizing specific details and facts is often right before you go to bed.

Incorporate these tips into a flexible study schedule, tape it to your mirror or on your desk or bathroom door, review it every day in the morning.

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