If you’ve been reading along our student time management series, hopefully you’ll have benefited from some of the time management tips we’ve discussed. We’ve redefined time management — it’s really task management. We’ve talked about how important it really is. And we’ve shown you a task-sifting time management strategy that even the best students can use.
You may be asking, “What now?”
How do you move forward without getting overwhelmed? What’s the next step in becoming a highly productive student?
Depending on your particular strengths as a student, you may have several different steps forward. The key is to find a few time management tips that will benefit you and your studies. After you get those time management tips running full steam, you can add to it.
Building study skills takes a long time. Here are three time management tips that can help get the train moving the right direction.
Time management tip #1: Organize your studies
Organization is always linked to productivity. It’s a prerequisite (SAT word definition: “something that you officially must have or do before you can have or do something else”) for effective time management.
That’s why it comes first. In our study skills training courses, we put organization as one of the first pieces of a great study skills approach. If you’re not organized, it’s hard to stay on top of what you have going on.
You need to know where every unfinished assignment is at all times. If you don’t have an organization system in place that helps you track everything you need to do, these time management tips will only take you so far.
Middle school students, a great organizational approach will take you well beyond most of your peers. It’s a key foundational component of effective studies.
High school students, if you don’t have organization figured out yet, you’re in the majority. But this is one area where the minority is a better place to be. Figure this out before you go to college. It will make a serious difference in the time you spend working on school work.
Time management tip #2: Prioritize your tasks
We talked about this in a previous post. Knowing what’s both important and urgent will save you loads of time. Not taking care of the right priorities in the right time will hurt you in the long run.
A great way to do this is breaking your assignments into daily tasks. If you know what you need to do for each class each day, you’re going to be in business.
Do you use a planner? If not, you should. This is what will help you start breaking things down into daily goals and not just general due dates coming up in the future.
Time management tip #3: Schedule your study time
That’s right – schedule it. Put a definitive start and end time on your calendar.
I use Google calendar for this. I set blocks of time with reminders. When it comes time for the block, I do the work I need to do in that block. My goal is always to get finished before the end of the time block.
This time management tip is especially effective. It assumes the first two are handled. You have to be organized if you want to see the benefits. You have to be prioritized if you’re going to be effective.
But then scheduling time will help keep the pressure up.
Have you ever forgotten about a test until 10 minutes before it?
How focused were you in those ten minutes? Pretty focused I imagine. You had the “fight or flight” response working. You knew that you had to beat the clock.
While you probably won’t ever be able to fully duplicate the pressure of a test in 10 minutes, scheduling your study time can be a close alternative. It’s a time management tip that we’ve seen boost focus for numerous students.
This is the end of our short miniseries on time management. But it’s not the end of the conversation. Do you have anything to add?
Keep the time management tips coming in the comments. What time management tips help you the most?