Five Strategies for Mastering Time Management this School Year

By Amanda Landry, LMHC, NCC, CAP

School is starting and high schoolers across the nation will be starting college this Fall.  Going to college can be an exciting and daunting experience.  For 13 years, you’ve pretty much been told when to go to school, when to eat lunch, when to do extra-curricular activities, when you can work, when you have to come home, when you have to study, and the list can go on and on.  For those of you going to away to college next year, everything is going to change.  You are going to be much more in control of your calendar and schedule.  Yes the school is going to give you times for your classes but you are going to have a variety of options.  Yes your new job will give you hours, however you won’t have the constraints of early morning school hours or limited weekend hours.  Does this sound like an exciting prospect to you?  Having good time management is one of the keys to being successful in college.  How are your time management skills now?  Here are some strategies to putting good time management skills into place when you get to school.

1.         Make a list of your priorities and make sure you put enough time in your schedule for these items

•           Figure out what your priorities are for the year. This would include things like school, work, extra-curricular activities, sorority life, socializing, etc. Make sure to allot enough time to be sure you are successful in each of these areas. Classes and schoolwork are probably going to get the most time so be sure to put enough time in your life for them .

2.         Get a scheduler or use your calendar on your phone in order to put things down that are a priority in your life

•           Some colleges still pass out free planners at the beginning of the year. This may be a thing of the past with COVID but you can get a planner at your local Target.  Some people like using their phone. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you have an avenue to keep track of your life in an organized manner. Update it every day and whenever needed. Taking a look at the week ahead is also a good idea.

3.         Give yourself enough free but not too much

•           You are going to have much more free time on your hands. There are going to be blocks of time between classes or work where you can study, have lunch, meet up with friends, etc. Be sure to include downtime in your schedule. You want to make sure you have balance in your life and that includes balance in your schedule.

4.         Use to-do lists and do your best to keep on top of them

•           To-do lists are a must to any successful person. Create a to-do list every day and work on completing the items on your list. You can also create long-term to-do lists for things that can’t be done that day. To-do lists are key in good time management.

5.         Put time every week to taking a look at where you spent your time

•           Take time each week to look at your previous week. What did you accomplish? Where were your strong points and where were your weak points in terms of time management? From there, figure out how you can do things differently in the next week in order to be more effective. If you put these strategies into place, the likelihood that you will do well your first year will greatly increase. And be sure to schedule in fun things, like going to sorority events, socializing with friends and anything else your college has to offer. Good luck with your time management this year!