Time Management Tips for College Students

Going to college can seem daunting for those students who might not have had the best study habits in high school, especially when so much of the advice seems to fall under the general warning, "Just study." Knowing where to begin is important in learning the ins and outs of time management, something that's vital for success in a college environment and in the real world. Here are some of things you'll need to know to manage your time better at college.

First things first: Get a calendar and use it. There are a variety of free calendars and planners available online, or you can use a wall calendar or a desk-sized planner. Many colleges make planners available to students, whether it's an online college or a more traditional university. The important thing is to get one you know you'll see and use on a regular basis. Then fill it out daily as new assignments and projects are given. The first step in time management is knowing what needs to be done with the time you've got, and that means writing down everything that comes your way. This is vital.

It's also wise to focus on one thing at a time, whether it's a research paper or studying for a test. A pile of homework might seem like an opportunity to multitask, but if you focus on one subject and job at a time, you'll be able to get your work done without the distraction of shifting gears into new subjects. It's also a good idea create for yourself a good work atmosphere, whether it's peace and quiet or with music playing on your headphones. Feeling comfortable in your study area will help you focus and get the work done in a timely manner.

Another way to manage your time wisely is to understand your limits. For instance, if you've got a large project to complete, it's a good idea to break the work up into smaller, more manageable chunks that can be spread out over several days. By segmenting your work, you use your available time wisely without feeling overburdened. Related to that, be wary of taking on too much and over-committing. The easiest way to get trapped is to take on more work than you can handle, or to accept invitations to other events that would disrupt your class or study time. It's tempting to want to do it all, but you can't. Focus on what you have to do before moving on to other things.

Finally, stay flexible. Planning your work with a calendar is an important part of academic success, but being locked into a rigid schedule can be just as hindering as not having one at all. Set up your class and work time so that you can add work if needed, or move things around. It's also important to schedule breaks and nights off when you can relax. Time management also means knowing when you need to recharge and take a break from working.

There are many other ways to enhance your time management skills, and your school counselor is a good resource for more information. Ultimately, if you take a proactive approach to your studies, you'll be able to manage them and your time wisely.