College can take up a lot of time, and when you are balancing college, work, leisure and family, you can sometimes feel that you're not in control. Managing and organising your time is a good way of making sure that you are staying on top of things. This page has some tips on managing your time while at college. Everyone will have their own way of doing things, so again, find the things that work for you and avoid anything that doesn't work.
Organise your time
- In a calendar, enter college deadlines and important dates, then add anything else that is constant - family commitments, sports etc. You now have a framework around which you can plan other events, but do leave a little flexibility
Organise your things
- For hard copies, have folders, ring binders or another physical method for keeping notes together. Label them.
- For soft copies, create individual folders for modules and assignments & think about using something like Google Drive or Dropbox to back them up.
- Give all files and folders meaningful names
- If you have a study/work space, keep it tidy & have a place for everything.
Organise your tasks
- Make a to-do list
- Estimate the time you need for each item on the list
- Prioritise - figure out what things are more important and give more time to them. Remember what's important doesn't have to be the same as things that need to be done first
- See if you can break down big tasks into smaller tasks. There's an old joke "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!". If you concentrate on each bite, eating the elephant won't feel so overwhelming.
- Focus on your goals - think about what do you want to achieve and plan around that.
- Learn how to say "no". If you need to study or work on an assignment, do that and then organise a time when you can say "yes" to the request
- Don't look for perfection in what you're doing
- Try to avoid procrastination
- think about the ways that you put things off or waste time on
- Break down big tasks into smaller ones
- Try to limit phone, email and social media use while working/studying
- Turn off notifications
- Put your phone on silent
- Think using about a social media blocking app
- Do reward yourself for completing tasks
- Do include relaxation and leisure time in your schedule
- Do think about how your time management is going. Do some things work better than others?
Time Management Tips for Learners
Learner can help themselves stay sane and still get everything done by developing good time management skills early on. These skills will not only be valuable during your time in college but can be used in outside college 0- in your personal life and in the workplace. Here are some time management.tips not mentioned above
Work out when you work best
Do you concentrate best in the morning or are you hopeless before lunch? Work out which times are better for studying and which are best for organising
Write things down
Writing is perhaps less common these days than using ICT devices, but basically, if you have something important to do, take a note of it - write it down in a planner or a notebook or add it to a digital calendar or file. Note dates (assignment deadlines, exam dates etc) and tasks
Focus on one thing at a time
Multitasking may seem like a good idea and may seem necessary in today;s frenetic world, but the truth of the matter is that you’ll get more done by focusing your energy and time on completing one task at a time. Once you’ve finished one thing move onto the next.
Take charge of your time
Despite everything only one person has control over how you spend your time, and that’s you. Be in charge of what you decide to do and learn to say no if you have to
The world is full of distractions (how may times a day to you look at your mobile phone?), and to really be effective at managing your time you have to find a way to ignore them when it counts. Use an app to stop using phone or device as a source of distraction. Give yourself little breaks as rewards for not putting off tasks.
Control your study environment
Do your best to create an environment that is most conducive to getting work done. Go to the library or your favourite cafe, put on headphones or whatever it takes to keep you from straying off task. Ask your friends and family not to disturb you while you're studying
Use your class time effectively
Read over any class materials or notes ahead of time so you have a rough idea of what class will be about. Pay attention to what's being taught in class. Sleep in your bed and talk to your friends in the pub or cafe, not in class. If you don’t understand something in your class then ask your teacher or go study afterwards. Don't assume you can pick it up later; it might be necessary to know this topic for subsequent classes
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management method developed by an Italian student in the late 1980s.It uses a timer to break work (such as study!) into intervals, typically 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for tomato. Pomodoro uses focused work sessions and frequent short breaks to promote sustained concentration (the work sessions) and prevent mental fatigue (the frequent breaks).
The original technique has six steps:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the timer (usually for 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and take a short break (typically 5–10 minutes).
- Repeat steps 2-4 (the pomodoro) three times and then repeat steps 2-3
- Then take a long break (typically 20 to 30 minutes). Once the long break is finished, return to step 2.
The Time Management Matrix
This matrix, which has a couple of other names (e.g., the Eisenhower Matrix is a good way of prioritising what's on your to-do list and deciding which tasks you should focus on completing.
You classify tasks as being either important or not important and urgent or not urgent, so you end up with four varieties of task
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Not important but urgent
- Not important and not urgent
Download a Time Management Matrix template