This material was written by Kaitlin Short, a Dallas College Licensed Professional Counselor. All views expressed in this piece are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dallas College.
Better time management can have almost endless rewards. By organizing and scheduling your activities, you can reduce stress and anxiety while improving things like sleep and learning.
Dallas College students (and most college students!) are balancing a lot. Activities such as school, work, home, family, finances and childcare are only a few of the many things our students manage on a daily basis. Balancing too many things can often feel overwhelming and create a lack of balance. These time management skills can both improve your learning and your overall quality of life.
Do a Time Study
Take a few days to examine how you’re spending your time. We want to be mindful of how much time classes, studying or specific assignments will require. Actually time your activities and write it down to see where you’re focusing your efforts. It’s important to be accurate and honest with yourself here. You may be surprised to find you spend hours watching TV, scrolling through social media, etc. This is an effective way to identify how much time you have available between daily tasks like rest, work, class, family and so on.
Create a Schedule
Identify a planner or calendar that works for you, your style, and feels natural to how you work. Create a weekly schedule that reflects the straightforward things, such as work, meals, rest and class. Once you’ve written in your non-negotiable things, lay out when you need to do homework and leisure activities. Then stick to it! Think of your schedule like having appointments with yourself that you want to keep in order to stay ahead of the game.
Manage Your Tech
Make sure your phone, tablet and computer are being used effectively, not as a distraction. While our devices can house to-do lists, calendars, and textbooks, be mindful of how distracting social apps, websites, or games can be. If you need help focusing, apps such as SelfControl or Focus temporarily block access to certain apps and websites to help you get your work done.
Block Your Time
We typically focus better when we make time for breaks and have a deadline. While some situations may certainly call for marathon study or work hours, try to structure your time with breaks. For example, instead of sitting down to study for your math test for an indefinite amount of time, plan to study for 50 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break, repeating that plan if needed.
Taking time to relax and do things we enjoy is essential. Make time to watch TV, scroll through social media and see friends or loved ones. Spend that time knowing that because you’ve managed your time and obligations like a pro, you can really relax without having to worry about all the other things that need to get done.
While this list is certainly not exhaustive, this is a great place to start. Here’s to a great semester and great time management.
This material is meant to be informational by nature. It is not intended to serve as a replacement for mental health treatment or as a therapeutic intervention. The information provided is not intended to assess, diagnose, or treat any mental health condition. Consumption of this information does not imply nor establish a therapist-client relationship.