Top 5 Time Management Skills

Time management is a difficult task to grasp for any student. It requires a lot of organization for which most college students do not have the patience. However, this is a skill that I acquired early on to benefit my future. I based my ability to master it through five key topics. It takes time to get comfortable with the routine, but it can be extremely beneficial when having to complete multiple tasks (especially during exam week.)

Planning

I know sometimes it’s really hard to see the use in a planner, especially after you spend 20 minutes picking out the one that “looks pretty” in the Target school supplies aisle. In reality, planners can actually be a lot more than a pretty visual. The idea of keeping track of what obligations, activities, events and responsibilities can also be applied through a calendar app. I practiced this by always writing things down and even including Post-it Notes for more important tasks. Highlighting important events is also helpful. The routine of organizing all of these in certain time frames can make you feel a lot more comfortable about your schedule. 

Prioritize/Set Deadlines

On any walk back to my residence hall, I would often anticipate how much homework I had to finish for the next day. I realized that if I completed each assignment based on the order of my classes, I would be able to enjoy a more peaceful walk home. If I was assigned projects, I would make sure to prioritize them leading up to the deadline so that I had time to work over multiple days. The Eisenhower Matrix (above) is a great chart system that helps make the decision of when to complete work. This can really encourage a good sense of organization and have you feeling a lot more relieved when it comes to due dates.

Work at Productive Times

I had a hard time studying or doing homework during times when I was most focused. I often would try to accomplish my work during the day, in between classes when I had tiny breaks. I soon realized I was not able to pay attention or be productive when my mind was thinking of the class I had to attend in the next 30 minutes. I realized that the evening time is where my motivation to get things done was most relevant. This aspect is solely based on personal judgement of what time of day you think you can be most productive. Make sure to be honest with yourself in order to ensure a good outcome.

 

It’s Okay To Say No!

There are numerous fun activities, social events and academic responsibilities that encompass a regular day as a student. Your choice to participate is a personal decision depending on your interests and abilities, and it can be tempting to overcommit to multiple projects at once. However, it is okay to decline opportunities simply because you do not have the time. Overcommitment can also cause you not to perform to your best ability. Having the confidence to say no can decrease stress and allow for more time toward other tasks you’ve prioritized.

Me Time

Over the course of school, it is easy to forget to take time for yourself. This does not always have to be strategically scheduled, but sometimes—when you’re really busy—scheduling 45 minutes to do something you enjoy is extremely helpful. I would often spend 30 minutes coloring or dancing to music in my residence hall room just to catch a break from the madness of my schedule. “Me time” is necessary to prevent the feeling of being overwhelmed and reduces stress on a more personal perspective.

I hope these tips help to understand the process of time management. Remember that it takes time to adjust and think about what will work best for you. Happy managing!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting…Your Second Year to be Different

You are nearing the end of your first year at Ohio State! You’re probably studying for finals, maybe figuring out your summer plans, or possibly thinking about your second year already. Whatever the case, I’m glad you are here, because I am going to share about how my second year was different than my first year.

As I returned to campus for my second year, my mindset was different than the previous year. This time around, I felt more confident and prepared. I knew the drill when it came to classes and living on campus. I had time to think about how to approach other aspects of my second year, like applying for my major, committing time to my involvement, and working an on-campus job. In my first year, the majority of my time and efforts was spent on academics; I didn’t have many other responsibilities. I was nervous to see how my new commitments fit in with my course load. I was approaching my second year with excitement and caution. I wanted to continue good standing in my classes, but I was also ready to take advantage of opportunities to help me grow outside the classroom. As I would learn over the course of second year, it is all about learning what’s important to you and finding a balance.

In my first year, I developed some habits that needed to be adjusted for success in my second year. Most of these habits were related to academics: where I studied, how I studied, and when I studied. I started to realize that I did not organize or structure my school work during my first year. This became a big problem for me at the start of my second year. My increased involvement and work forced me to re-evaluate my studying strategies. I learned that I needed to plan when I would work on homework or study for classes in order to do my best. For me, setting small goals for what I wanted to accomplish during a study session was very helpful. During my first year, it was nearly impossible for me to study in my room. I was constantly distracted and unmotivated when I found myself at my own desk. It was challenging for me to study in my room at the beginning of my second year, but I wanted to break that trend. By using my planning and goal-setting strategies, I learned to be disciplined and stay focused when studying in my room. These are just some ways that I have changed since my first year.

The biggest difference that I have seen between my first and second year at Ohio State is in how I spend my time. My first year was a stream of random events and occurrences that were squeezed in between my classes and homework. During my second year, I took time to think about what my priorities were and I ranked them in a top ten list. I then looked at my calendar for a given week and totaled the amount of time that I spent on each of those priorities. I was surprised to find that my priorities were disconnected from what I spent my time doing. I was motivated to change this and began thinking of ways that I could align my time with my priorities. Often you hear about time management skills and how important they are to success in college. I found that filtering my time through my priorities has been the best way to find a balance for my time. I was able to fully invest in my job and involvement while staying on top of my studies, and most importantly, I enjoyed what I was doing.

Your second year isn’t bound to look like mine, but I hope you found my experience helpful. My best advice to you is to reflect on your first year. Think about what you learned and how you grew as a student. I encourage you to think about how your second year might look different and what you can do to prepare yourself. I didn’t think very much about how my second year would go. Take advantage of the opportunity that you have to form some second year expectations and how you will approach reaching your goals, it will serve you well.