Time Management Tips to Live By | The American Word

American Word Logo
An American University student-run magazine since 1999

Time Management Tips to Live By

Samad Arouna | 2/9/17 10:48am
| Updated 2/9/17 10:50am

Sanah Suvarna/Unsplash

College is a great opportunity to try many new academic and recreational activities. Whether you’re taking a full course load, working, participating in clubs or sports, spending time with friends, or just relaxing, the life of a college student is filled to the brim with day to day tasks.

Sometimes this balancing act becomes overwhelming and stressful, which is why it is important to learn how to properly manage time. By doing so, you can complete your work as well as explore your interests. Budgeting time sounds easy in theory, but it’s hard to stick with a structured schedule when each day brings something new.

Luckily, learning how to manage time is simple as long as you learn the proper skills. I attended a time-management workshop, hosted by the Academic Support and Access Center, at American University to better understand this concept. The workshop’s leader, Erica Gillaspy, prepared many slides that contained methods you can actually use.

Gillaspy encouraged attendants to have some form of planning such as using a weekly or monthly planner on paper or on an app.

“This can be a really good plan for some students because they can also include other commitments such as work, internships, extracurricular activities, stoical plans or gym time,” said Gillaspy. Having a planner of some sort not only reminds you of homework you must submit, but also allows you to put in time for activities outside of the classroom, she said.

Even with a planner however, you should be realistic when arranging tasks. Gillaspy stated that a student must be specific and reasonable with scheduling. If a student writes down vague reminders, it makes them more unlikely to fully complete a task. Tasks should be as detailed as possible, such as allotting a specific time frame to complete an activity, and, if possible, pick a location that will help get the activity done. For example, if you needs to read a chapter of a textbook, you should schedule a time and place conducive to studying.

One major pitfall in being productive with time is the opportunity for distraction. To avoid daily disruption, Gillaspy suggested that at the beginning of the day, you should take everything you need to complete all your tasks for that day, like books, notebooks and laptop chargers. Going back to your dorm or apartment is a recipe for distraction as it allows a person to easily fall into a sedative state.

The workshop served as a positive environment for students to come and learn new ideas as well as share some of their own successes in finding the right schedule. To truly alleviate the pressures of balancing tasks, it is imperative that you find a schedule that works for you, write it down, and understand that it is a guideline for you life—not a sentence.