Time management is crucial to balancing your school life, work life and personal life, especially if you just had a baby or a cat or dog (whichever makes you happier and keeps your attention to read the rest of this.) How do I know it is crucial? Well because I have been on the other side of the fence. I used to take life one day at a time and went with the flow, which often caused time conflicts at work, studying and watching my baby. My last spring quarter went a little like this: wake up, change my daughter’s diaper, make her a bottle, cook my breakfast, and as I am eating cook my lunch for work. Then I would go to class, go to work at the Ambassador office at, rush to my other job, pick up my daughter from babysitter, and then be a parent while trying to do homework.
Those days were busy, packed and exhausting. My days would have been much less hectic if I had taken the time to plan things out. So for the fall of 2013, I decided that I was going to plan ahead. I scheduled my work hours so that I was only scheduled for one job a day. I also decided to set a consistent routine for my morning. By doing these two, you will be able to carve out a little more study time out off your busy day.
Here are some tips I have come up with based off of my experiences.
Tips from a former procrastinator:
- Utilize planning tools – Now bear with me because there are three things that fall under this category that have helped me.
- White Board Calendar- What I have done in order to help me stay on tract in my more personal life buy a big is white board calendar. On it, I put my class times, upcoming tests, doctor appointments, work schedules, etc. This calendar has to be in a place where you will see it every day. Mine is in the kitchen because I am always hungry. You can also use different marker colors for different categories.
- Planner- This isn’t necessary, but extremely helpful. On my planner I focus on what I need to do for school. Each day I will plan out what subject I will study, my homework assignments and my readings. I list everything out so that I can cross off each item once they’re complete. (Nothing feels sweeter than crossing something off.)
- Cell Phone – This is your new BFF, if it wasn’t already, except I am not talking about checking your Facebook and Twitter accounts. I am talking about the calendar widget that takes up an entire screen. On here I log important events. I also use the task list on my phone as a to-do list. Did I walk the dog? Check. Did I drop of the rent check? Check. Did I go to class? Check. Did I finish my homework? Check. You get the idea. Each morning I get up, and go through what I want to accomplish that day, and put down as a task. That way I have a constant reminder to do it.
- Go to the tutoring center – If you do decide to go to the tutoring center, make sure you come prepared, meaning bring all your materials. Yes that big heavy math book you are using as a door stop, bring that with you, and the calculator that you’re using to level the table will come in handy. Last and not least, come with the intention of completing your work and a good attitude. Tutoring is FREE, and the centers are usually open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Study while your child is napping – This definitely helps you focus on your work, and they get a relaxing nap (yes I know that it doesn’t always work when your baby wakes up unexpectedly after 5 minutes, but give it a try.) You might think doing chores in that time is more productive, but I have figured out that if your child is up while doing homework, there are a lot more distractions, in effect making your study time less than it was.
- Study consistently at a certain time – If you are like me with 2 jobs one being retail, it might be hard to keep up a good schedule. So try your best to keep your study time at a regular time. Also, try to study often for shorter periods of times. There have been studies done that prove that it is more effective than waiting until the day before the test and having a study binge.
One last thing that I would suggest is to not overload yourself with classes. If you have a lot going on outside of school, it will catch up with you. Those 6 hours of sleep (if you’re lucky) are not going to be productive halfway through the quarter. Everyone wants to finish their degree and move on; you will get there in time.
Why am I writing this? Because I wish I had mastered my time management earlier, so my GPA wouldn’t have dropped. How does my GPA drop due to lack of time management? If I don’t have time to study, I don’t have time to rehearse what I have heard in lecture. Which meant that I wasn’t understanding the material.
Yet, with the few changes I made to my schedule, I went from a C student to a B+ student. Hopefully you can apply some of my tips to your life. You know where I can be found so stop by if you need to talk or have questions