Michael Bautista, Staff Writer
cramming studying for an exam, have a project due, or have to write a newspaper article to meet your deadline, time management is an essential skill that most students need for success. It really isn’t a hard concept to grasp, but actually putting it into practice is entirely different. Here are a few tips on how to develop a good habit of time management.
Set up a schedule. One of the best ways to effectively use your time is to schedule, but many people don’t know how to properly use or set up schedules. Don’t slot in a 4-hour study session—it won’t do you any good. Besides, you’ll probably be on your phone for most of the time. Instead, divvy it up into 45-60 minute sessions. Research from MIT shows that shorter study periods are more effective because it allows the brain to digest facts in manageable chunks as opposed to being drowned in a tidal wave of information. After setting up your schedule, actually follow through and commit to that schedule…but that’s easier said than done. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to follow a structured timetable, but you’ll thank yourself for doing so in the end.
Prioritize. Take a few minutes to just sit down and list all of the things that need to be done in order of importance. Having a visual list will help you to organize your time more effectively as you will be able to see all of your tasks. Prioritizing will also keep you focused as you now have a list of specific things that need to be completed.
Practice active thinking, not passive thinking. Time management requires focus. If you let your mind wander while you’re trying to study, you’ll end up wasting time. If you notice that you’re starting to daydream, take a break from whatever it is you’re doing and relax for a few minutes. There’s no use trying to pack more info into your already-stuffed cranium. While studying, try to make a habit of actively connecting different concepts together: it’ll help solidify your understanding of the material, which will get you better grades. This way of active thinking will help to move information into your long-term memory as well. Fun fact: did you know that 55% of the diploma exams are made up of application-based questions? By actively thinking as you study, you are simulating the critical thinking skills that are needed to do well with these types of questions.
As finals season approaches, it’s even more important to keep these tips in mind. Happy time management, everyone—and good luck.