As a student, it can be hard to stay on top of all the demands on our time: class, homework, student orgs, career search, exercising, and fun with friends. This time of year, it gets especially hard as group projects come due and students travel to final round interviews. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry! The BCC scoured the web to find the best time management tips to help you get organized.
Tip#1: Break big projects into manageable tasks
Listing specific tasks allows you to prioritize the most important pieces and attach deadlines to plan how long the project will take. For example, if I am not looking forward to writing a paper, I might plan to research my topic on Monday, outline the paper on Tuesday, write the majority on Wednesday and edit on Thursday. Beyond giving me time to reflect on the paper, I can make sure that there is enough time to complete everything. It is also easier to sit down to work on a small task instead of being overwhelmed with everything at once.
Tip #2: Prioritize your tasks and plan each day
It may be an obvious starting point, but writing a to-do list each day to give you a clear direction and plan to measure against. I write my assignments and errands in a planner and number each task from most- least important. When I find time, I know where to start right away and can jump right into working. This can also help you avoid forgetting something important. If plans change, be ready to reassess and re-prioritize. Steven Covey’s popular time management skills talks about dividing your tasks into four quadrants based on importance and urgency. The idea is to reduce not important tasks and grow important, non-urgent tasks to reduce the need for urgency. Read more here.
(You can get a planner from the UW Bookstore for as little as $5)
Tip #3: Evaluate how you’re spending your time
Record how you spend your time to help you find areas where time could be used more wisely. Mayo Clinic recommends keeping a diary for a week, and the College Board has a tool to help you easily calculate how you spend your time.
Tip #4: Reduce your list: say no or delegate
Sometimes you really just do not have time to do everything. Decide what is most important to you and dedicate your time to activities that allow you to live the life you want. After evaluating how you spend your time, look to see if the categories that take the most time are helping you achieve your goals. If you need to make a change, see what you can pass to someone else and what you can stop all together.
Tip #5: Get a good night’s sleep
This can be especially hard in college as many students stay up late studying; however, all of the references found show that sufficient sleep is needed to stay focused and perform the best. Prioritize sleep in your schedule and try to complete essential tasks earlier in the day, so you can get to bed on time. Set a steadfast deadline on your studying to end your night on time.
Tip #6: Just do it!
Procrastination can be a big time waster. If you are not excited to do something, try the 10 minute rule: Work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it.
For more time management tips, check out the articles these tips were pulled from:
Mayo Clinic Time Management Tips to Reduce Stress
College Board Time Management Tips for Students
Career Journal: How to better Manage Your Time http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/05/13/career-journal-how-to-better-manage-your-time/
This week’s Career Corner post was written by Carly Miller, a peer advisor in the BCC and Marketing and MHR student. Next week, we’ll review networking strategies you can use during winter break!