One of the most challenging parts of attending college for any students is to learn good time management skills. This is especially true for those who are not only taking a full load of courses but also working and have family responsibilities as well. Most professors do not structure their courses with these other competing responsibilities in mind. Their responsibility is to structure the course so that it represents the required content for that course. Thus, it is your responsibility to learn how to manage your time well. What follows are a few tips for doing so.
Do a little bit all of the time. This is the most effective method for managing your limited time. Most students feel this is counterintuitive and usually resort to cramming for exams and writing papers at the last minute figuring that this is the only way to manage their time with other responsibilities that require more time. School tends to get condensed into the smallest amount of time possible to pass the course. However, this can be a mistake.
Instead, try doing a little bit of coursework all of the time. What I mean by this is try to plan each day with a small amount of study and reading time. This way, you can review your course material soon after attending class and will have a better chance of retaining more of it so that you will not have to cram for your exams.
Apply the material. A way of sneaking some study time in while doing other things is to think about how the material you’re learning applies to your everyday life. This will make the material more meaningful and easier to learn and you will be studying while you’re engaged in other activities.
Most of the subjects you study have everyday applications and I have written short essays on each to illustrate this. The effort you make to see these applications is a more effective study technique than rote learning, often takes less time, and as such is a good but often overlooked time management technique.
Connect the material. Closely related to this technique is the suggestion to connect the material you’re studying in one course to material you’re studying in other courses. This is another sneaky study technique whereby you can essentially study two or more subjects at once. Most of the material you study is not only connected to your everyday life but to other subjects you’re studying as well so take the opportunity to find these connections.
Recognize your limits. Finally, you need to recognize that it may not be possible to do everything you are trying to do perfectly. Many students have the expectation that they should get A’s in all of their courses regardless of how little time they are able to devote to the course. But, earning A’s takes time and the reality is that it may take more time than you have. But, remember B’s and C’s are not necessarily bad grades. That’s not to say that you have to give up and not try your best but you may have to strategically allocate your time in such a way that you will have to sacrifice your goal of straight A’s to achieve other more important long-term goals.
There are only 24 hours in your day and the reality is that devoting a certain amount of time to one thing necessarily means taking it away from another. You will need to decide where your main priorities lie and allocate your time accordingly. In addition to the material you learn in the classroom this is one of the more important skills you can take away from your college experience.