Welcome to the Time Management Module.

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1 T ime Management with permission from H&H Publishing Company, Inc. Welcome to the Time Management Module. Look at your Time Management score on the LASSI. If you scored between: You probably don t need to work on improving your time management You should consider improving your strategies You need to improve your time management, or you may have serious problems succeeding in college. Using the information presented in this module, you will be able to improve your Time Management and increase your likelihood for academic success. Research Research Tells Us That Students Who Manage Their Time Well Know about themselves as learners and use this knowledge when planning their schedules (e.g., they know when they are more alert and when they get sleepy). Avoid procrastination (putting assignments off rather than sticking to a plan). Manage their time well and often accomplish the most important tasks first and then work on less important tasks. Research Tells Us That Students Who Manage Their Time Poorly Do not have enough knowledge about themselves as learners (e.g., what are their best times of day, which subjects are easier or more difficult for them) or do not take this knowledge into account when trying to schedule or work toward their goals. Are easily distracted and tend to procrastinate. Have more anxiety/health problems than students who take responsibility for creating and following realistic schedules. 1

2 THE PROCESS Time Management Is a Process Time Management is creating, using, and modifying a schedule and dealing with distractions, competing goals, and procrastination. You have many demands on your time and many options as to how to spend your time. Only by creating realistic schedules and sticking to them can you possibly meet all your important commitments. Time Management is also a process of: focusing both time and energy on your most important goals maximizing the time you spend on your most important goals minimizing the time you waste on activities that are not important to you organizing your time to achieve your academic and life goals Understanding Time Management Is Important Managing your time well means knowing what your goals are and having a plan to achieve your goals. In order to do this you must take into account many factors related to yourself and your academic environment. You must also be able to think ahead and be flexible when planning your time. Your life involves many activities other than classes and academics. However, in order to succeed in college, you must schedule the activities that will achieve your most important goals first. Managing your time does not mean that you cannot have fun. It simply means that there s a time for work and a time for play. Time Management versus Time Managing Managing your time is not something that you just do once and never worry about again. Schedules need to be reviewed, modified, and flexible enough to give you opportunities to include time for a special event or problem. Time managing is an ongoing process of awareness and control. You must be aware not only of your master schedule but of all those little decisions being made from moment to moment that can affect it. You would not just say, I will schedule six hours a week to study. You also have to decide: Will I study before or after watching TV? Will I study in the morning or at night? How many breaks will I give myself? How many hours will I study on each day scheduled? 2

3 Time Wasters Everyone wastes time. We talk too much on the phone. We surf too long on the Internet. We worry about an exam rather than working to prepare for it. Sometimes we are not even aware of how we waste valuable time that could be used to reach our academic or life goals. Think about how you waste time. Over-Commitments Another problem area in time management for many students is overcommitting. If this is a problem for you, you need to learn how to make trade-offs among all of the different activities you want/need to do. Making Trade-offs Returning to the previous example: One of your goals may be to keep up with all of your homework, but you may also have the goal of playing softball twice a week. If you are running short of time for completing your homework, then you may have to rethink your commitment to both of these goals. If you are staying up-to-date with all of your work, then go ahead and play in two softball games. But if you are behind in your class work, you may have to give up one or both nights of softball in order to catch up on your homework. After you catch up on your homework, maybe you can go back to playing one or two nights of softball. This is what is called making trade-offs. You must choose which of your goals is more important to you right now. Then take some of the time you had planned to spend on a less important goal and give it to your more important goal. After all, you have a set number of hours in your day. You can t magically produce more hours, but you can improve your use of the hours that you have. 3

4 T I P S & T O O L S F O R time MANAGEMENT Using a Master Calendar Use a master calendar for each semester or quarter and include items like the following: test dates, assignment due dates, and dates for all of your classes plans with friends, plans for no-class, or vacation days special family events (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, reunions) due dates for rent, credit cards, phone, tuition, housing fees Using a To-Do List Have you ever come to the end of a day and realized you had forgotten to meet with your study group, run an errand, or pick something up at the bookstore? This happens to all of us. There are so many tasks you have to remember in college that it is easier if you just list them. This list can be checked periodically during the day to help you arrive where you need to be and to do what you have to do. Create a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish each day. You may also want to try estimating how much time each activity will require and write this time next to the item. Then you can mark the items off as you do them. You may even find that it feels great to mark off even the smallest activities (e.g., walking your dog or picking up some. G E N E R A L I D E A S F O R time MANAGEMENT Here are some other general ideas about ways to manage your time: It is OK to say, No. Most people want to be helpful to others. But it is also okay to refuse the requests of others. If you don t do this, you can easily become so overwhelmed helping others that you have no time or energy left to work on your own goals. Are other people using up your time? Are there certain people who consistently interrupt your time? Often, people don t realize that they are interfering. You need to let them know that they are disrupting your concentration or study times. 4 Learn how to share responsibilities. Instead of doing every task yourself, find others to help you. Delegate and share responsibilities (e.g., grocery shopping) with others (e.g., roommates) so that you have more time for achieving your goals.

5 Getting ready starts the night before. If you finish a few tasks before you go to bed, you can start the day much faster. Anything that you can do in an evening (e.g., packing your lunch, organizing your books for class) will help you feel more organized and prepared for the next day s demands on your time. Decide if the activity is really necessary. It is easy to think that we don t have enough time for all we need to do. But if the activity is important to us, we can usually find the time. Could you find four more hours this week to study? Could you find this time if someone offered you $10,000? Scheduling Your Time Prioritize assignments according to due dates and their importance. Not all assignments are equally important. You need to be strategic and put your best efforts into the activities that really matter to you and your college success. Tackle your most difficult or most boring subjects first. Leave the subjects you enjoy for the last. This is effective because when you are more interested and motivated you are less likely to avoid it... Alternate activities during study sessions (e.g., read, write, read). Doing the same activity for long periods of time can decrease our concentration and information processing skills. 1. Establishing a Routine Make friends and family aware of your study times. You need to protect the times you set aside for studying so that you can keep to your study plans. If people know this is not a time to call or bother you, it can help you focus on what you need to be doing. 2. Studying On the Run We have many opportunities to study while we are doing other activities (e.g., waiting for class to start, commuting to school, in line at a store), and we can use these times to study. Any time we can add to our schedules will help us be more efficient in using our study time and personal time. 3. Studying For Exams It is difficult to know exactly how much time is enough to study for an exam, but here are some general guidelines: Reserve one hour for each chapter covered. Add one hour for homework review. Study for some part of every day. Save some insurance time for extra studying in case you encounter problems. 5

6 4. Analyzing Your Outside Activities Don t spread yourself too thin. Be careful of overcommitting and limit your activities accordingly. Run errands, relax, do laundry, etc., during your slack times. Work on school tasks when you are most alert and wide awake. 5. Reinforcement Reward yourself for getting a job done especially if it is something you have been avoiding. If you finish a major assignment, give yourself a night free from homework. After you take an exam, allow yourself some time for relaxation take a nap, go to a movie or work out in the gym. 6. Reminders Keep a written (or electronic) schedule. Use to-do lists. Write notes to yourself. Make a list every day of the enabling goals that you have set for yourself for that day. Use sticky notes on your computer, phone, wall, etc., to remind yourself of tasks to be accomplished that day. 7. Bits and Pieces Break large assignments into small ones. Do a little bit at a time. 6

7 8. Five-Minute Plan Use this to overcome your procrastination about starting a project. Plan to work on it for just five minutes. If everything is going well, keep working. If not, stop after five minutes and return to it later. If you have a big project to do, make yourself just get the information out and start looking through it. You may get interested and start really working on it. If you have an exam in one week, just get out the syllabus and look over the topics to be covered on the exam. Maybe you can organize your notes and your homework by the topics covered in class. Suggestions for Improving Your Time Management Realize that you are in control of your time management. Maximize the time you spend on your more important goals, and minimize the time you spend on your less important goals. Keep your schedule realistic. Do not over commit yourself and learn to tell others No. Know yourself (e.g., your best and worst times of day, which subjects are easier or harder for you) and use this information to plan your schedule. Give yourself breaks and rewards as you complete certain tasks. Congratulations! You have completed this module on Time Management. You now have information needed to improve your ability to manage your time. 7

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