by Shannon O’Dell
Midterms are approaching, and some students are reaching a mental block. Try these tips to better manage your time and keep going strong after midterms!
Use a planner. It’s so much more difficult to improve time management skills if you’re not organized. Keep track of assignment due dates, exam dates and set time aside to study and work on schoolwork using a planner or calendar.
If you don’t want to drop money on a planner in the middle of the year, use a calendar app in your email or on your smartphone. If you use Google Calendars, you can access the calendar on multiple devices.
Take advantage of technology. There’s an app called Attain that you can use to keep track of your attendance for the semester, set aside study time and keep track of due dates. It can even remind you that a due date is approaching! You can also set goals in the app to stay motivated and on track. Visit the app’s website at https://attainforstudents.com/.
The app store on both Android and iPhone has a plethora of apps to help you stay productive. Simply visit the “productivity” category.
Don’t use the internet while studying. One big obstacle to managing time is procrastination. Set aside time to study and only study. Make your workspace as distraction free as possible. Once you’re browsing the internet when you mean to study, it’s hard to stop. Set your computer or phone in airplane mode to stay off the internet.
If putting the phone down sounds too daunting, a smartphone app called Flora makes a game out of not using your phone. A virtual tree is planted and grows while you leave your phone alone. If you exit out of the app, the tree dies. Constant use will create a forest of trees. The app’s website is https://flora.appfinca.com/.
Set small, reachable goals. Instead of saying “today I’m going to go to every class, study for several hours, finish my essay,” set a smaller goal and use baby steps. For each day, come up with one important task you need to accomplish that day. For example, to make the previous goal more achievable, you would say “I’m going to write at least two pages for that essay that’s due.” This makes your goals much less intimidating.
Setting smaller goals will put less pressure on yourself and reduce disappointment if you don’t reach them. It also helps prevent the “I can’t ever get anything done” belief that sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy. The sense of satisfaction received from completing that small task successfully will also help you gain momentum and want to get something else done right after.
Finally, prioritize your tasks. Simply put, work on the tasks that need finished first. If you have to study for a big test coming up for a few days, put more of your time on reviewing your notes instead of spending all of it working on a paper due in a few weeks. Work on homework due the next day instead of that project due at the end of the semester.
Don’t go headfirst into finishing as many tasks you can get done in one day. That will lead to burnout and chances are that much less effort will be put in.
This is the system I use and developed over my time in college, and my time management skills have greatly improved. Try these tips or just one for a week or two and see if there’s any improvement before committing to them all!