Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Time Management Strategies

Last week I blogged about how much work might be required to make a successful academic transition to college.  A lot of students feel daunted when faced with the reality of their new responsibilities.  It’s important to find time to forge relationships on campus, maintain your fitness and health, sleep enough, eat regular meals and to become part of the campus community but all of that can feel difficult to manage if you need to find a way to do class work and attend class more than 40 hours a week, especially if you are also trying to hold down a part-time job.  You may be asking yourself, “how can I handle all of this?!?!”  Never fear—the CAS Advising Center is here to help you manage your time!

Develop a time management plan!

The only way to be certain you can fit in all your responsibilities without sacrificing your sleep or health is to plan ahead.  You can do this in a few ways with some exciting tools.  For example, the website Study Guides and Strategies has an excellent visual tool that starts with a 24 hour circle that fills and deducts remaining hours as you relegate time for your priorities.  It enables you to make adjustments if you find that your original time management expectations were unrealistic.  


Fixed Commitment Schedule

Tools like the time management clock can help you prioritize your commitments but you should also consider developing a Fixed Commitment Schedule.  A fixed commitment schedule is a grid with a space for every hour of every day of the week.  On this schedule you should first fill in your fixed commitments--those commitments that do not change such as class times, work times and sleep.  Then fill in those times that are more flexible like times with your friends or meal times.  Fill in all the times you intend to study.  Again, you should be planning 2 study hours for every credit hour you have this semester.  Finally, makes sure you have adequate time to take care of yourself with relaxation and recreation.  Making time for friends and these activities will make you a better student in the long run.   

You can use this schedule to stay on track.  Stop by the CAS Advising Center or click here to get your own copy to fill out.  Try color coding it and placing it in a prominent location so you can have a clear view of how you have planned to spend your time.  

Plan out your semester as well as your week!

At the start of the semester, each of your professors should have given you a syllabus which lays out not only when your professor intends to cover each topic but also when you can expect quizzes, tests and projects to be due throughout the semester.  If you haven't already, obtain either a monthly calendar or purchase a planner.  Sit down with all your syllabi and write major assignments and examinations in on the calendar and hang it some place prominent.  By doing this, you will see which weeks are the busiest so you can plan accordingly.  In college, it is likely that for several weeks you may not seem to have any work to do.  However, because of the flow of the semester, tests, quizzes and papers tend to be due in many of your classes at the same time.  If you hold off on beginning to do your work until the week before midterms, you are likely to struggle.  If you realize now that you have a difficult week, you can plan accordingly and work ahead.  There is always something on which you can be working!

Any planner will work.  Some people prefer large desk calendars but you can also print free calendar pages off of the internet (or come to the advising center). The planners in the University of Scranton Bookstore have important semester dates listed. 

 Ask for help!

As always, if you need help navigating time management, come to the CAS Academic Advising Center to get help!  Additionally, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence has created a video to help students understand how to plan their time.  Click here to watch!

Katie Robinson
CAS Academic Advisor

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