You are going to be busy in college. You will have classes, studying, possibly a job or work study, relaxation, and social activities. As I have talked to college freshmen through the years, one of the biggest challenges they have is managing time in college. In high school, the high school schedule will manage a lot of your time for you. But college is a whole new game.
Colleges will advise students that for every hour they are in class, students need to spend two hours outside of class preparing. A lot of college freshmen don’t believe this, but eventually they realize that the rigor of college is a lot harder than high school. What are some of the tips to help with time management?
First, understand that everyone has 24 hours in a day. Some people get a lot done and some people are always pressed to meet deadlines and be productive. People that get a lot done don’t have more hours in a day. What is the difference? Productive students realize that time management is a matter of priorities. This means doing first things first.
Second, productive students develop a system to organize their time and accomplishing tasks. A planner with a calendar is still a great tool. There are free apps for smart phones that help you keep track of meetings, due dates for papers and assignments, and notes. Whatever you want to use, the bottom line is you need a system.
In my career serving high school students as a teacher, coach, athletic director, school counselor and many other roles, it was vital that I keep track of events, due dates, and tasks. Keeping my events on my phone or computer is a huge help. But I still used paper to keep track of what needs to get done first – a matter of time priorities.
This system might be of help to you. I have used this system in the past, and I still use it today. First thing when I start my day, I make my to-do list. Then I prioritize. The system I use is a letter system:
A = must get done today
B = needs to get done in the next week
C = needs to get done in the next month or two
So here is an example of one of my to-do lists:
A Email school counselors on spring presentations
A Email school counselors on presentations for next week
B Did Mrs. Jones email me back about a presentation date?
B Email XYZ College on a regional presentation date
A Record mileage from presentation last night
C Work on ICAN blogs
B Update inventory numbers
B Enter financial aid alert sign-ups
So the way this works is: A items need to get done today; B items need to get done in a week; C items can wait and are primarily keeping those things on your radar. A items go off your list as you get them done, B items can become A items, C items can become B items. New C items may be added for down the road.
As things get done that day or the next morning, I evaluate my list using this system:
√ checked it off – got it done!
→ carry it forward to the next day
• in progress but not done
Del delegated it to someone
So here is what I got accomplished one day:
√ A Email school counselors on spring presentations
√ A Email school counselors on presentations for next week
• B Did Mrs. Jones email me back about a presentation date?
√ B Email XYZ College on a regional presentation date
√ A Record mileage from a presentation last night
→ C Work on ICAN blogs
→ B Update inventory numbers
√ B Enter financial aid alert sign-ups
Whatever doesn’t get done, is carried to the next day. Then I add tasks that come up for the next day, or to keep things on the radar such as add things on future dates for assignments/research papers that are due, date you need to start a project or paper, personal items like call mom. It also serves as a good record to keep track of what you have finished.
First things first! Hope this helps!
Steve - ICAN Council Bluffs Center