Time Management Tips

As a student, there are some basic principles of time management that you can apply. Identify the “best time” for studying. Everyone has high and low periods of attention and concentration.  You might be a “morning person” or a “night person”.  Use your power times to study.

Make sure the surroundings are conducive to studying.  Set the mood. This will allow you to reduce distractions which can “waste time”.  If you do not have a quiet place to study at home, try the library.

Gather the stuff you need (dictionary, 3 x 5 cards, notes from class, etc.)

Study difficult subjects first. When you are fresh, you can process information more quickly and save time as a result.

Study in shorter time blocks with short breaks between.  This will keep you from getting fatigued and “wasting time”.  This type of studying is efficient because while you are taking a break, the brain is still processing the information.

A written “to do” list is very helpful. It allows you to see what you need to accomplish AND allows you to cross off items that you have accomplished. You can write your “to do” list on the computer or in a planner.  Seeing your tasks on paper helps you stay organized so you can’t use “I don’t know where to start” as an excuse.

Study at the same time everyday (if possible). Even if you don’t have homework, take some time to review notes. If homework is something you accept as part of your day, you’ll approach it with less dread.

Organize the information. People process information in different ways.  Some people like to draw pictures or charts to digest information, other people like to read out loud or make detailed outlines.  Try to find the best methods that work for you.  Ask your teacher for recommendations if you are having trouble.

Study Buddies: Unless it’s too distracting, get together with friends and classmates to quiz each other, compare notes and predict test questions.

Review notes everyday. You will reinforce what you’ve learned, so you need less time to study.  You will also be ready if your teacher calls on you or gives a pop quiz.

Communicate your schedule to others.  Let your family and friends know that you have a certain time that you study, so they are not distracting you.

Try to combine activities.  If you are spending time at an appointment or standing in line for tickets to a concert, bring notes or flashcards to study. If you ride the bus to and from school, that is an excellent time to study or make a plan for the next day.

It’s okay to say “no”.  If your boss at work asks you to work late and you have a lot of homework, let them know that you cannot. Studying should have priority over employment.

Setting goals that are unrealistic sets you up for failure.  While it’s good to set high goals for yourself, be sure not to overdo it. Set goals that are reachable.

Put up reminders in your bedroom or other areas of the house, or in your car.

Get a good night’s sleep.

Reward yourself for your accomplishments or doing something well.

Always keep the “long-term” goals in mind.  Look ahead in your month and try and anticipate what is going to happen so you can better schedule your time. Hang up a monthly wall calendar in your room with projects and test dates noted.

Purchase a Daily Planner (or use the planner on your device). Write notes for each day regarding homework, upcoming tests and projects.  Also note your personal activities: concerts, parties, family time.  This will help you keep organized and see the “big picture” for the month. There are many styles of planners: daily, weekly, monthly. Find the one that works for you.

A simple technique is an ABC’s rating of your priorities.  Mark the tasks on your to do list with:

“A’s” If they are critical for your goals and simply must be done that day.

“B’s” Are less urgent but still important tasks that you should start right after you are done with “A’s”.

“C’s” Are “nice to do” things that you could do if you have any time left after “A’s” and “B’s”.

Communicate with your parents and/or teachers or a friend if you are struggling.  No one can help you if they don’t know that you need help.