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Time Management in Higher Education

Time Management in Higher Education

Author: Alison DeRudder

Identify appropriate time management stategies for dealing with common student challenges.

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Tutorial Audio

what's covered
This tutorial explores problems and solutions in the realm of time management by identifying the challenges time management poses to everyone and to you in particular, and identifying and working to eliminate those habits that tend to waste your time. Here is a list of what’s covered:
  1. The Challenge of Time Management
  2. Your Time Management Skills
  3. Identifying Time-Wasters
  4. Minimizing Time-Wasters
  5. Methods of Time Management

1. The Challenge of Time Management

Though sometimes it can seem like your instructors don’t realize it, there is more to life than school. Students have families, jobs, social lives, and hobbies—all of which compete with schoolwork for their time. This is why time management is a skill that is essential to student success.

You need to budget enough time to spend on all the things that are worth it, and mapping your life out will make its challenges easier to navigate.

If the task of finding enough time for all of your schoolwork—and finding a healthy balance between your life in and outside of school—seems daunting or even overwhelming, remember that everyone is dealing with these issues to some degree, and the first step to success is reflecting on your situation and devising a plan.

2. Your Time Management Skills

We will provide tips and suggestions regarding good habits to develop and bad ones to avoid, but the best time management plan is customized to fit your life and all of its unique details.

That’s why the first step toward better time management is to reflect on and assess how you manage your time currently. This will help you to prioritize the demands on your time, eliminating those activities that are not a good use of your time and devising a plan to budget your time for those that are.

think about it
Give some thought to the way you manage your time now and which areas you think you could improve in terms of productivity and efficiency. Be honest.

What are the things that are most important to you, both in the short term and the long term? Do you find you have enough time to give them? What are the things you do that might be a waste of your time? Is there a way to eliminate those? What are some of the things you do well?

3. Identifying Time Wasters

A time-waster is something you do instead of or in order to avoid the work you could be doing. This does not mean that you need to eliminate everything fun or relaxing from your day; in fact, making time for having fun and relaxing can be crucial to maximizing your productivity and efficiency.

The key is that these things—scrolling through social media, taking a nap, going for a walk—do not impinge on the time you have set aside for schoolwork. Though your tablet or smartphone offers you plenty of distractions, technology is not the enemy here. If you can go about your work with a little bit of self-discipline and manage your time efficiently, you will find you have more time to spend however you like.

4. Minimizing Time-Wasters

So what does minimizing time-wasters look like? Well, for example, if social media is the primary temptation that distracts you from your work, you might try to keep your phone away from your workspace in the time that you are working in order to better concentrate on what’s in front of you. Then, when you’re finished, you and your phone will be reunited (absence makes the heart grow fonder)!

A more flexible strategy could also be effective: maybe you work best in short bursts, so you schedule intermittent breaks for scrolling through social media and giving your brain a rest. Again, the most important thing is to hone in on a plan that works best for you.

5. Methods of Time Management

Of course, none of these methods and strategies for time management is going to do your work for you; you’re still going to have to focus and execute your plan. But the value of having a thoughtful, customized time management plan is that it puts you in the best position to succeed, not only by organizing your time, but by helping you approach your work with a sense of confidence and control over your destiny.

In the next lesson, we’ll look at some proven methods of time management, including the priority matrix, the to-do list, and the calendar. Give them a try and see if they work for you!

Time management is a challenge for everyone, and particularly for those in school. It is a good first step to reflect on your time management skills. Also, identify and minimize time wasters so you can spend your time on the things that help you accomplish your goals. Having a method of time management puts you in the best position to succeed.