Hello again, Bears! I am happy to be back for another blog post. This week, I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about something that I have struggled with throughout my college career: time management. Have you ever found yourself at 10 o’clock at night asking yourself “Where did the day go?” If so, we are a lot alike. There are many ways that you can conquer time management, and you might already have your set strategy. However, if after midterms or at this point in the semester you are second-guessing yourself or find that you need a new time management plan, you might benefit from my personal time management strategy. Here is what I like to do if I find myself at the end of day asking where the day has gone.
Knowing My Commitments
Whenever I reach a particular moment where I feel like I’ve lost touch with my time, the first thing that I do is make sure that I know how much of my time I need to devote to all of my commitments. This usually looks like making a list of everything that I have or want to do, like class, work, studying, or hobbies and self-care. I am a visual person, so it helps me to have everything physically written out on a piece of paper. At that point, I usually write out any time that absolutely has to be given to something. For example, I’ll write down when I have class or work, as well as how much time each day I know I need to spend doing homework. Even if I don’t end up making a strict schedule or routine for myself, I find that being conscious of how much time I am spending doing certain things still helps me manage my time much better.
Deciding My Priorities
When I figure out how much time I have outside of specific commitments, I’m left with an amount of time that I can delegate to whatever I want. This is when deciding what my priorities are comes into play. What I consider a priority can change depending on what I’m doing or what I’m involved in at any given time, but regardless of what they are, I make sure to set aside amounts of time left over from the previous step to be dedicated to those priorities. Lately, my priorities have been self-care, studying, writing, and spending time with my new cat! However, if I have a set of exams coming up, my priorities may change, and I might decide to spend more time studying than writing. The opposite also applies—if I find that I’ve been stressed out lately, I’ll tend to prioritize self-care over studying if I know that I’m in a good place academically. Either way, consistently reflecting on my priorities also aids me with managing my time, even if I don’t follow through with the next step.
Making a Routine
Once I rediscover my current commitments and priorities, I like to sit down and make a routine for myself. It isn’t usually super structured, mostly because I don’t like it to be that way, but even the loosest of structures helps me. Even if you’re like me and don’t like to have things strictly scheduled, a light routine might still benefit you, because it takes away the mental task of deciding what to do at a given time. For example, I like to schedule my time in blocks. In my current routine, I give myself an hour each night for homework or writing. If I come home from school or work that day and I know I have a lot of homework that day or coming up soon, I’ll typically use that time to do homework, but there are also days where I don’t and I choose to write instead. After that, I take a break from schoolwork or writing, and I give myself two hours of free time. I can essentially do whatever I would like, whether that be reading, watching TV, spending time with my cat, or sometimes I continue to do homework or write if I feel inclined to do so. The nice thing about creating your own routine is that you decide what it looks like, and you can also change it at any time if you’re having a hard time sticking with it or you’re unsatisfied with the amount of time that you’re dedicating to a specific thing.
Even if you already have your time management plan set in stone, I hope you enjoyed learning more about mine. I think that it can be beneficial to learn about how other peers conquer the challenges that college brings, and if you’re wanting to learn more about my strategies or the strategies of the other amazing Peer Mentors and Success Coaches, come visit us in the CAST office! We are now offering drop-in hours on Tuesdays from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., so don’t hesitate to come see us if you are struggling or if you just want to talk. You can also request a Success Coach or Peer Mentor by filling out our Request Form. I hope that you continue to have a successful semester, and I will see you again soon in a future post!
(Bio: I am a junior out-of-state student studying Creative Writing with a minor in Philosophy.)