Give Me a Break! 5 Tips for Managing Your Time

By Olds College Modified on December 05, 2019

Maximizing your productivity to minimize your stress.

The Olds College logo with the headline 'Give Me a Break! 5 Tips for Managing Your Time,' and five icons, of a person reading, a calendar, a book, a computer and a checklist.

Time management is a primary concern for post-secondary students, especially those in their first year of study. The development of strong time management habits early on in your post-secondary education can strongly impact your success, both in your studies and in the workplace. This article outlines some tips to help you establish effective time management habits.

1) First, it's imperative to use a scheduling tool. Whether you go old-school and use an agenda, use a digital scheduling tool like Google Calendar or the calendar app on your smartphone, some type of scheduling tool is essential. If you do use an agenda, be sure that it has enough room to include specific details, and has the hours of the day marked.

2) Within the scheduling tool, the first step is to block off "non-negotiable" times such as classes, labs, and work / family / personal commitments. Next, enter any assignment and test due dates. This is often where students stop. However, the next steps are where the real "magic" in time management lies.

3) Once your tests and due dates are entered, the next step is critical: finding the time to actually complete the work! For larger projects and tests, this first involves breaking the task down into smaller, more manageable parts and then finding spaces in the day to accomplish these smaller parts. Be specific about what you plan to accomplish during each block of time. The more specificity you include, the more likely you will be to get right down to work.

4) When scheduling your time, it's a good idea to be realistic about when you'll work. For example: if you typically eat at 5 pm each day, it wouldn't be advisable to plan to complete an assignment during that time. Similarly, if you're not a "morning person," it's probably not a good idea to plan to work on an assignment at 5 am, either!

5) It's also advisable when planning to work backward from the due date, and plan to finish the assignment at least a day in advance... that way, when "life happens," you have a built-in grace period. (We all need a little grace sometimes!) Be realistic here, too, about how long each part will take to complete. It's really important to set goals that are achievable. That way, you'll have an easier time keeping your motivation up.

Adopting these small tips can help you stay on top of both your assignments and your LIFE — avoid those late-night panics and find the time for your studies and your other commitments.

By Sarah Richardson, Manager, Student Experience and Educational Design, Olds College

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