Time Management Tips
As students, it seems like there are a million different things that you have to keep track of: assignments, deadlines, tests, and extracurriculars, to name a few. It can feel overwhelming, and that’s why developing tools and habits that will help you be more organized and feel like you have more control over your days is so important. One of the most helpful things that you can do for yourself is to set up a calendar and make daily schedules. While it may seem tedious, it will help a lot.
To start off, decide whether or not you want to keep a handwritten calendar or a digital one. Digital ones offer flexibility and efficiency, but handwritten ones offer a better aesthetic and hands-on approach that some might find some more motivating.
Here are some quick tips and steps for setting up a calendar and making daily schedules.
When setting up a calendar, first set aside your time for sleeping. This is important; setting common rest times for you will help you to maintain a regular sleeping schedule and get the appropriate amount of rest to be as efficient and productive as possible. Most people need at least 8 hours of sleep, but you can choose to sleep a little less or a little more depending on the amount of work that you have.
Put in your set appointments, activities (like practices and club meetings) and classes. This will give you a better idea of how many hours you have left to work on other things and to eat in between all these obligations, and help you set goals for when you want to relax and not work as well. You can also color code the different types of engagements; for example, classes can be in orange, clubs can be in blue, and sports can be in purple. Below, we opted not to color code things for clarity.
Once you’ve set a general schedule, it’s time to list all of the tasks you need to finish. You want to list them from order of importance like this:
1. Important and urgent: Tasks that have to be done as soon as possible and have a strict deadline.
Example: A short essay due for English class two days later.
2. Important but not urgent: Tasks that have a set deadline, but are perhaps due a little later in the future. Regardless, try your best to get these done as soon as possible too.
Example: An art project due at the end of the semester.
3. Not important but urgent: Tasks that need to be completed immediately but don’t have set deadlines.
Example: Violin maintenance and cleaning.
4. Not important and not urgent: Tasks that neither have a deadline nor need to be finished as soon as possible. These tasks should be given the lowest priority.
Example: Clean room.
Keep in mind that task items can still shift between categories. For example, cleaning your room may not be important nor urgent for a month, but if you don’t do it, the mess becomes even worse until it becomes important but not urgent. You can even just list everything on a separate document or paper, color code everything by highlighting everything a particular color that is specific to a single tier, and then rearrange the tasks accordingly. Additionally, if you have a bigger project that requires several steps, try spacing out the work across several days. This will give you time to work on other things as well, which is especially different when you’re juggling several different classes and responsibilities.
Mark time on your calendar for your tasks. Put the important and urgent tasks first, then work your way down your list.
Schedule extra time around your tasks as breathing room. Sometimes, tasks might take us a bit longer than we originally planned. To help with this, you should pad some time around your activities. This will help you to see what you can realistically commit to everyday, and it will help out when things don’t go as planned or if you get interrupted a lot.
Planning your schedule is one thing– having the discipline and foresight to be able to follow it is another. Though it may seem difficult to plan your days well and to follow your schedule, you’ll come to understand your own habits and capabilities over time. Through this trial and error, you’ll be able to use your time more efficiently and more according to your own pace.
Still need help keeping track of your assignments, especially if you also need to worry about college applications and more? Dragon Prep offers consulting services to help guide your family through the pre-college process. For more information, call or WhatsApp 9835 8011 or visit www.thedragonprep.com.