Time management is an essential technique for college students as they have to provide papers and tasks on due dates within set deadlines. Time-management is used for better planning, scheduling, and structuring of one’s time, which helps individuals correctly evaluate each task and the time necessary for it, plan their actions, and ensure that all of the tasks are completed in time. Time management is a technique that does not only helps ensure effective planning but also allows a person to use their time more reasonably.
What Is Time Management?
The roots of time management should be sought in the industrial revolution. As punctuality was important for factory workers, former farmers had to learn how to use time effectively at work (Häfner, Oberst, & Stock, 2014). Punctuality increased productivity and left little time (literally) for ineffective or unnecessary practices. In general, time management is the skill that helps one create and use processes to increase one’s productivity and balance effectively between different tasks and the time allocated for them.
However, it should be noted that time management is not just the practical use of time. Instead, time management is used to allocate the right amount of time for the right activity. When a student spends two hours on writing a four-page essay but allocates three hours for playing a favorite video game, it is not a good example of time management. The first activity requires more time to be completed effectively (e.g., with no further revisions from the professor), while the second activity would not impact the student’s effectiveness even if she or he spent fewer hours on it.
Why Is It Important?
For students, time management is a good opportunity to evaluate how their scheduling (or lack thereof) influences their study and life. Using time management, students learn to correctly judge the time necessary for task completion and spend this time accordingly. It is not only important because it makes their work more efficient but also because they learn how to prioritize the tasks.
Ineffective use of time does not only affect student’s tasks and grades. It also results in frustration, procrastination, inability to work actively on a project or assignment, resulting in less quality output. The student’s striving for good grades can be evident but her or his inability to effectively manage her or his time will undermine this ambition. It is necessary to understand that time management does not mean “working more”, but rather it means “working more effectively”. There is no need to spend more time on a task than necessary if one can stick to her or his schedule, correctly evaluate the task’s complexity, and utilize tools required for completion.
Seven-Time Management Tips
The direction “use your time more effectively” sounds relatively abstract, especially to those individuals that have never used time management in their lives. Therefore, it is easier to acquire this skill by following different time management tips.
- Do not get distracted. Remove all distracters from your room that can be removed (e.g., your phone). Do not check social media (even just for five minutes). Consider installing applications or programs that help block Internet access for a certain period. Such programs as Freedom and SelfControl help control the time an individual spends on online surfing (Murray, 2014).
- Stay focused. If you are researching for a task and cannot block your access to the Internet, stay focused on the materials you are using. Do not read unrelated articles and researches even if they are interesting or important for another project that you have not yet started.
- Use a calendar. Calendars are important for scheduling tasks depending on their priority. Two assignments with the same deadline have different priorities depending on their worth (e.g., 50% or 15% of the overall course grade). Mark the deadlines in your calendar, schedule tasks depending on their importance, and check the schedule every time you complete a task to ensure you are using time effectively.
- Use a checklist. Identify all tasks you need to complete. Create a check or to-do list to track your progress. Estimate what amount of time is necessary for each task. Do not forget to mark tasks that are already completed to avoid confusion.
- Be organized. Set specific goals to ensure your working process is accurately arranged (for example, “I will complete these two tasks by the weekend” or “I will complete this essay two days before the deadline to revise it”). Divide tasks if possible. If you are working with your classmates, discuss what parts of the project each of you will do and how much time you will need to complete these tasks. Set a deadline for completion.
- Schedule rewards. It is difficult to work without any feedback or acknowledgment. Treat yourself to a two-hour video game playing, watching of favorite TV series, buying favorite meals or sweets/chocolate. Schedule rewards after each completion but ensure they do not interfere with your work.
- Control your sleeping schedule. Do not use your night sleep to complete tasks. Instead, schedule them in such a way that they do not interfere with your sleep. Do not procrastinate hoping that you will complete a task by simply not sleeping the day before the deadline. Healthy rest (sleeping for 8-9 hours) is vital for efficient studying and work.
Time management is a skill that regulates one’s effectiveness in study and work. It does not add more stress to our lives but helps us use schedules effectively to allocate the time necessary for task completion. Planning, goal setting, and prioritizing can significantly influence one’s productivity and result in better grades.
Häfner, A., Oberst, V., & Stock, A. (2014). Avoiding procrastination through time management: An experimental intervention study. Educational Studies, 40(3), 352-360.
Murray, S. (2014). The internet restriction apps that help improve productivity. Web.