Time Management: Responsibility, Whatís That?
By Danielle Lorenz
It is pretty obvious to say that going to university is a HUGE transition. Hopefully all of you have acknowledged that fact before reading this article. One of the most difficult things: managing your time effectively. Youíve got class, assignments, meals, bathing, socializing, sleep, studying, family, travel and other miscellaneous activities all to handle. It can be done, so donít fret!
The best way for you to not overload yourself is to regulate your free time in comparison to your mandatory time. To do this, you should make a schedule. At this point in time, you should have all of your classes organized. Make a Monday to Friday schedule that starts at 8:30AM and goes until 10PM (or, if you want from 7AM until 12AM to fit in most of your daily activities). Record the times of all of your classes and tutorials, and you will end up with anywhere between fifteen and thirty hours of class (on average). Also on this schedule, set up times for you to do your readings, work on assignments, and study. As a general rule, for every hour of class you have you should have a few hours of preparation time each week. Donít forget you also need to include the time it takes for you to get to school, which can be anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour depending on how far away you live from campus.
Use a weekly and monthly calendar to organize your due dates, meetings, assignments, tests, and midterms. Once you get your syllabus you will know all of the due dates for your semester. Record them on a monthly calendar. Then, record them again on a weekly calendar, but also add what readings you are supposed to finish by the end of each week. That way, you have no excuse for not knowing when things are due: they can never sneak up on you this way. You have officially taken care of everything relating to school.
Now you need to take care of the other essential activities you do each day, sleeping, eating and hygiene. Only you will know the amount of sleep you need each night. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every night to train your body. It is also recommended to try and eat at the same times every day if at all possible. Again, your body will be happier with the routine. And, please donít forget to wash your body and hair. No one likes body odor.
If you will have noticed, the amount of time you have available for socializing and spending time with family is starting to dwindle. In my experience, I have found that many people are not able to do school work late at night. Use that time to spend time with friends; go out for coffee, go see a movie, chat on MSN, etc. If you want to go see your family or friends from home, organize that into your schedule as well. Make sure you have completed all of the things you need to (assignments, projects, studying) BEFORE you go home for the weekend. VERY few I know have brought home work on the weekend and actually done it.
I think one of the best ways to keep in contact with people who are further away is via email. Although it isnít the most personal way, it is the one that fits best into YOUR schedule, regardless of what you could be doing. You can send an email at 2AM, 6AM, 4PM or whatever other time and not worry about waking someone up or not being there. Emails are generally quick and easy methods of contact. During the school year, I email my parents frequently, but call them only once every two weeks or so. We have just found that way to be the easiest for us. Perhaps it will work for you as well.
Now, there are the things that tempt you as well. Facebook, MSN, Myspace as well as other social networking sites can really have a detrimental effect on you. If you are going to check these places, do so when youíre not doing something important (like school work). Do it while you are on a break from doing mandatory activities, and do your best to limit your time. I know it is hard, but you can do it.
As for procrastination, all I can say is try not to do it. I am not a very big procrastinator, so I find it is very rare for me to stay up until obscene hours finishing assignments and cramming. I had to teach myself to avoid it, but now Iíve gotten really good at it. Of course, there are times when I still do it, and am forced to pay the price.
In short, succeeding in university is all about organization and priorities. If you think partying and socializing is more important than your school work, then your grades will suffer. I used a method that I personally do not use, but can be effective. Try out different ways of organizing until you find one that works for you. Good luck!