Top 5 Time Management Considerations for Today's Adult Student
By Craig Lamb, director of academic support, Center for Distance Learning
March 12, 2013
The typical Empire State College student is likely to hear the phrase "time management" more times than they can count. Effective time management techniques are stressed to new students as part of his or her orientation. It is then brought up in numerous mentor meetings, in conversations with faculty and staff members, and with the many individuals that students are likely to connect with during his or her time at the college (e.g., learning coaches, tutors, librarians, classmates). While many agree that there is no "right way" to manage time, all adult students should take into account some basic considerations as they refine and further develop their personal time management strategies.
- Time management is based on your values – How you allocate your time is based on how you prioritize the important aspects of your life. School is important to every student, but how do your educational goals stack up against your social calendar? Are your priorities in the right order to be a successful student? Do you have to adjust your priorities to create more “student time” in your life?
- Always do something, no matter how small – Experts agree that the more often you engage in an activity related to a goal, the more likely you are to reach that goal. Waiting for your “Saturday homework day” to roll around might not be the best strategy for success. Consider dedicating a little time every day toward your studies and see how fast you can avoid the pileup of work.
- Not time management, life management – Often, a time management strategy is applied to parts of a student’s life rather than his or her entire life. Ask yourself: do you block out time in your life for work, leisure, hobbies, family, community/volunteer work, etc. in the same way that you block out time to study? Do you schedule time for all activities or just a few?
- Work smarter, not harder – Finding ways to streamline your habits or clustering your activities can free up considerable time each week. For example, could you do all of your grocery shopping in one trip per week? Could that trip be planned at a time when the store is not usually busy (e.g., middle of the week, early morning on the weekend)? Could that grocery trip be combined with filling your gas tank or running to the post office?
- Know where all your time is spent – So many students say that they don’t know where their time goes. There are 168 hours in a week. Try to record every event and activity in your life for one week and see exactly how your time is allocated. You might be surprised with what you see.
Be sure to contact your local Office of Academic Support if you are interested in learning more about time management strategies and approaches. Time spent now often reduces time spent later!
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