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How do I improve my time management skills for college?

#time-management #college #help

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John’s Answer

Jessica, many universities offer time management techniques that can help college students succeed in their classes. These tips include eliminating procrastination, better organizing daily activities, reducing anxiety and increasing motivation and confidence. Dartmouth College and Pennsylvania State University have outlined several time management tips on their school websites.

TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS

To be more productive, the first thing you need to do is determine your time management style. This may seem annoying, but it is really useful. For one week (do this with a friend, to compare notes and make getting it done more likely) write down everything you do and how long it takes. How long do morning preparations take you? Note how long it takes to get to school, to classes, to have lunch, to study, and whatever else needs doing, for the entire day. I bet you find surprises by the time the week ends.

GET ORGANIZED – When developing time management techniques in college, it's important that students first understand their goals and then set out to develop and follow a routine schedule. Without these factors, it may be hard for students to get motivated to employ their time management strategies. Students may download or purchase a scheduler; a weekly, monthly and yearly planner; and worksheets pertaining to the distribution and organization of one's tasks. This will help them avoid waiting until the last minute and having to cram. Many universities recommend that students take the time to plan each school day. Making a daily list of tasks to accomplish can help students to concentrate on tasks one at a time. Individuals should be specific when setting goals. For example, a student might want to set the goal of reviewing his or her lecture notes each day after classes. It can also be helpful to schedule fixed blocks of time to study with clear start and stop times, as well as specified break periods. Students can start with more difficult subjects first and also work on assignments or tests that are due first.

STAY SHARP – Students should devise ways to build on their success, keeping their long-term goals in mind when pursuing better time management. Mental awareness can help with this. Individuals should try to be mindful of when they're falling into unproductive patterns and should identify specific triggers or distractions that lead to procrastination. Meditation and exercise might also help some people clear their heads and help them build confidence and focus when studying. One of the biggest factors interfering with a plan is fear. Really. You may be afraid you can’t write a paper, and so you put it off. It’s better to talk about matters making you anxious than to be paralyzed by the fear of them. This kind of fear can also relate to not being able to say no. Out of fear of being unpopular, you agree to go to a party you have no time for, chair a committee you have no time for, hang out when you know you should be studying or working. You can effectively say “no” by saying that you’re sorry but you have other plans, or are just swamped. You don’t have to explain more than that. You want to be the person with clear priorities, and that includes planning time for yourself. A nap means you are busy, as does the gym. And the time you lose because you got sick from lack of sleep or food or exercise is really time wasted.

Jessica look for advice from teachers, coaches, mentors or peers on better time management strategies. Individuals can also work with other classmates who are on top of their assignments and willing to provide reminders or encouragement. Make achieving your goals a communal activity. Let someone else know your short-term goals. If you’re determined to have your lab report done by Thursday so you can enjoy your weekend, tell a friend. If you have to get grad school applications in by November 1, tell your mentor or advisor. If you need to be up early to exercise, find an exercise buddy. Others can help you stay focused and resist tempting distractions.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done. Situations can interfere: illness, family needs, a new priority at work. A good plan allows some wiggle room. Planning allows you to slow down; it is healthier. Move an item to the next day if you can’t get to it. But if you have to keep moving items, it’s an indication of a problem, and you should stop to see what’s happening.

Hope this was Helpful Jessic
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Meagan’s Answer

1. Make a list of all things that you need to do. Estimate how much time each task/assignment will take you to do
2. Add those time frames and tasks to a calendar so that you can spread them out over a manageable amount of time
3. Identify the one thing that you really don't look forward to doing, and do that first. Get it out of the way!
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Jenna’s Answer

Hi Jessica. I use many tools to help me stay organized and on time. I use a to do list, one for my personal life and one for my school/work life. The to do list keeps me organized and keeps my list front of mind. I would advise to do two separate to make your life easier. Or maybe do not do a personal one if you don’t need one. Second I use my google calendar everyday all day along with notifications turned on. Google calendar will do my day hour by hour and I can see it live to ensure I am not double booking anything. These tools sound simple, try them out and see how it goes. They personally have helped me out. Best of luck.
Thank you comment icon This was a great answer ma'am, I'll be sure to try out these tips! Thank you for taking time to bestow such knowledge on the platform! Aun
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Steven’s Answer

1. Plan ahead. Understand what you want to get done and how long you want to set aside to do it.
2. Talk with your professor or TA if you have a question. Getting help at office hours or tutoring centers can help save a lot of time.
3. Create a study group. Make sure you stay productive and all contribute.
4. Take breaks. working yourself non stop will just lead you to be less productive in the long term, remember to enjoy your time too!
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sushma’s Answer

We always get carried away with the things that we forget to keep a track of time. So its always best to make a list and then you will have to train your brain so that you can complete your list. Everything else will fall in place.
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Sunitha’s Answer

Time Management Tips for New College Students

Most likely college will be the first time in your life you will have the flexibility and independence to set your own schedule. As much as you may be reveling in your new-found freedom, you will soon discover that managing your coveted free or unstructured time will be more difficult than you had planned. Up through high school your time was more than likely structured and organized, with clear reminders for what you had to do, and where you needed to be. And let’s not forget those pesky and often annoying parents, whose chanting about “don’t forget to do this and that” kept you oriented toward many tasks at hand.

As much as you will enjoy the freedom that college life can bring, you may very well hit the wall of freedom overload. In no time, your free time will get filled with competing demands, which will place even more stress on your attempts to adjust to your new educational environment. The following tips should help you both have fun, as well as adjust to college’s organizational challenges, while navigating yourself in the direction of college success.

BE RESILIENT

Resilience is the foundation upon which time management abilities rest. Resiliency goes beyond being smart or motivated to succeed. It means being strong enough to withstand difficult times while deciding to persevere while steadfastly holding onto your optimism about solving any given challenge, obstacle or problem. Resilient people don’t give up; they just figure out a way to get over the hump and solve the problem. Resilience isn’t something you have or don’t have; it is developed by the very act itself. Practicing optimism while staying in the mix of any given challenge will most definitely build your “resilience muscles!” Reach deep inside yourself and find your inner resilient person! As difficult as it is to quantify resilience, your commitment to developing it will help you past most of your most difficult college problems and seemingly insurmountable challenges.
USE YOUR TECHNOLOGY

Nothing helps a college student stay organized more than a good calendar! It becomes your memory so you don’t have to keep storing stuff in that already overloaded brain. It serves as an external reference which helps you keep on track and lower your anxiety levels. But it will only be the lifesaver it promises to be if you use it on a consistent basis.

If you are like the rest of the world, you already have several calendars and other organizational programs at your disposal, be it online or built in to your laptop, tablet, or phone. Your planner is a great way to input all the information and deadlines for the entire semester from your course syllabus. This way you can plan ahead for that big project or ensure enough time to study for that midterm.
Having a visual representation of your crazy college schedule will better help you juggle your competing academic demands and your great many new and exciting college adventures. Scheduling your day to day activities is the best “medicine” for feeling overwhelmed and disorganized.
THE “OLD SCHOOL” CALENDAR

If you are “old school,” take out a piece of paper and create an old-fashioned to do list. Or carry around a stack of Post-its®. Making a list and then crossing items off as they are completed, can be quite satisfying. Planners, calendars, lists and other organizational helpers will become your best friend - if you allow them to.
KEEP A REGULAR ROUTINE

In college there is virtually no one monitoring where you are and what you’re doing. Keeping to a regular routine and structure is very important in helping you avoid the pitfalls of procrastination and avoidance; which then leads to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Setting up recurring “appointments” in any of your calendars will go a long way in helping you develop new routines and habits. Become used to scheduling your “up” and “down” time, such as blocking off time in between classes for specific activities, such as reading, studying, running errands, and other important college-life activities. The more consistent you make your days, the more productive you’ll feel.
SELF-AWARENESS

The more you know about yourself, the better you will be at adapting to the challenges college life brings. Sometimes our needs and wants conflict so if you’re not a morning person do not schedule all 8 am classes as you’ll challenge your ability to be successful. Become aware of your energy levels throughout the day, as well as personal preferences as it relates to your ability to follow-through. Plan your day around this. Knowing when you’re most alert and able to focus will be key to scheduling your classes and homework time.
When you pay attention to your thoughts, emotions and the various manners in which you manage your educational responsibilities, you will become increasingly more competent and confident in the challenges that lie ahead for you. Plus, the more you know about yourself, the more you will be able to tweak and utilize any given time management strategies.
A JOURNAL

Keeping a journal increases awareness of what you do and how it impacts you; be it positively or negatively. Note your eating, sleeping and studying habits and you may find that you actually do better on the test you studied over 3 days for and slept well the night before versus pulling an all-nighter while loaded up on caffeine and junk food.
SEEK FEEDBACK

Seek feedback from trusted friends or family. Ask for candid, objective perspectives when you feel stuck. It will open your eyes to a new way to view the situation and allow you to make changes that will help you rather than perpetuate a negative cycle. If you don’t feel you have trusted people whom you respect, then seek out a qualified mental health professional to assist you as your “objective observer.” Formal feedback in counseling allows you to see your strengths and weaknesses and how best to use them to meet your goals.
MISTAKES ARE OUR FRIENDS

Use your mistakes as teaching opportunities. Our ‘failures’ can be our biggest tools for implementing change if we pay attention. Find out what went wrong, where and how and then you’ll know what to do differently next time.
ADDITIONAL TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS
Prioritize your “to do” list. Make sure you don’t put the most difficult tasks at the bottom.
Set realistic expectations. Organize your schedule according to logical completion time-frames.
Avoid procrastination. Set rewards/reinforcers to encourage task completion.
Avoid Multi-tasking, research proves it truly decreases productivity.
Achieve a healthy balance. Schedule in rest, relaxation and fun. It can’t be all work and no play.
Remove Distractions. Put that phone aside, shut your door, turn the tv off.
Nourish yourself. Eat throughout your day. Being hungry greatly impacts our resourcefulness.
Get enough sleep. The difference between a productive and a horribly disorganized day can be just an extra hour or two of sleep.
Reach out for help when it isn’t working. This is what school counselors, resource personnel and friends are for!
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Cade’s Answer

One of the best ways to manage time in college is to schedule out the things that you want to do outside of school. Knowing or looking forward to doing something (especially later in the week) will force you to finish your school work prior to that. Another time management skill that is often overlooked is setting aside time to relax. One of the best pieces of advice I can give is finishing school work on the first two days of the week (monday and tuesday) so that you have more days out of the week to relax and focus on yourself.
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Andrew’s Answer

When I first got to college I began to organize everything school related into an online calendar (looking at the class syllabus' and putting in readings, assignments, test dates, and important events for the class) and then also put in the times that I would be at the class. From here, I got a better understanding of how much free time I would have for other things I wanted to do in an average day (eating, sleeping, going to the gym) depending on how much homework I had that day. But in the beginning I would allocate more time than I thought I needed for school, because it is most important to stay on top of your studies. If you fall behind, it can be difficult to catch up. So my advice would be to make sure you know what you have due and coming up for each class, and make sure you are giving yourself enough time to do those things. Once you get into the swing of things and understand the workload and time you'll need to put in for school, you will have a much better understanding of your free time schedule to fit in fun activities you want to do. It is important to have fun, but also important to stay on top of school work. By the second month you will know your happy medium between these two!
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Kirby’s Answer

You can improve your time management skills for college by practicing getting organized and learning how to prioritize your homework, social life and activities. First things first I would recommend utilizing Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook depending on what your university utilizes. By using these calendars you can upload your class schedule and campus activities to ensure you know when you have time to do homework, hang out with friends, etc. Second I would recommend getting a planner to keep log of what homework and responsibilities you have. With this, I would prioritize homework based on when it is due and how long it will take. You can utilize a time system by estimating how long each activity will take to know what assignment to do first. Next, I would make sure to block off time for yourself to relax and hang out with your friends. I would also make a designated time to do homework and find a space for you to be most productive in. It is important to find a balance between social and school life at college.

I hope this helps!
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Kennedi’s Answer

One of the ways that helped me with time management for college is to create a to do list or agenda everyday. I try to do it a little before bed so I can wake up and not have to try and recall all the task that I need to get done. Another thing that I found useful is to use a planner or calendar. This will heIp you stay on track throughout the day. I prefer to use google calendar and then a paper planner to stay organized. Personally I like to write out or enter all my classes and events that I know are happening for the week. I also put in big deadlines or projects so that I don't forget. If I know that I have a big project due I try to break it up into sections and put ir in my calendar that I want part 1 of the project done by this date and so on throughout my planner. Bettering my time management took a lot of work and is a process. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a while to figure out works best for you. I hope this was helpful!
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Kennedi’s Answer

One of the ways that helped me with time management for college is to create a to do list or agenda everyday. I try to do it a little before bed so I can wake up and not have to try and recall all the task that I need to get done. Another thing that I found useful is to use a planner or calendar. This will heIp you stay on track throughout the day. I prefer to use google calendar and then a paper planner to stay organized. Personally I like to write out or enter all my classes and events that I know are happening for the week. I also put in big deadlines or projects so that I don't forget. If I know that I have a big project due I try to break it up into sections and put ir in my calendar that I want part 1 of the project done by this date and so on throughout my planner. Bettering my time management took a lot of work and is a process. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a while to figure out works best for you. I hope this was helpful!
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Madhu’s Answer

It's all about prioritizing and you'll learn this your first year real fast. There are so many things you could do in college, all types of activities and social events. You do NOT need to attend everything. The way I approached time management was by putting my education first and seeing how much time my homework and studying took. Based on that, with the left over time, I signed up for two to three extra curricular activities that I knew I could put my time into as well as rise up in so that I can stand out in my resume. Then I went to a couple social events to destress myself. But don't overload yourself. Make sure you can get 6-8 hours of sleep. Use a planner to map out your week in advance so you can see when you have free time and when you don't. Also allot around 3 hours a week to just spend for yourself whether it be watching Netflix, painting, writing, working out, etc.
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Vani’s Answer

Lists will definitely be your best friend! One thing that helps a lot is, if you have a task that seems tedious or way too big to tackle, break it down. That large task most likely consists of many smaller tasks. This can help you feel like you're moving ahead in your task as well since it's easy to get to a point where you feel stuck. Definitely prioritize, the easiest task may not be the most urgent task. Setting a deadline for yourself before the actual deadline for an assignment works wonders as well because it will give you extra time to complete assignments if needed rather than needing time but it be the day of the actual deadline. Don't forget that you need time for breaks and self-care. It is very important to set some time aside for yourself. You will be a lot more efficient if you are well rested, fed and had some time for hobbies and such rather than spending hours on a project while being burned out. I have ran into this myself and I noticed myself not being able to be as creative as I could have been if I had practiced self-care.

Use a planner even if it's just a printed out paper. Physical planners allow you to physically view everything at once rather digital calendars may not help you visualize everything to its entirety.

Good luck on your journey!
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Sowmya’s Answer

This is a great question! Personally I used to struggle a lot with time management and felt that I could only do so much in a day. However, I found some tools that helped me organize my days and weeks to my benefit and I found that I was able to do so much more. One thing I would highly recommend is to keep track of all the upcoming things in a calendar. I personally use Google Calendar, but anything works! I would suggest to add not only meetings and class times, but use it for yourself to block out specific times to work on homework, career development, exercise, and even times to relax. This ensures that you don't spend too much time on one thing, it also allows you to take a break from things you might be stuck on. This also makes sure that you start on things earlier in case you need help before the deadline. I would also suggest having a study group or someone that you can communicate with regarding questions about any classes. Personally, I found that I did a lot better in classes that had someone I could communicate with, because I was able to ask them for clarification questions, study with them for exams, and we were able to help each other through text, video calls, study sessions etc.

Along with Google calendar I use either the notes app on my laptop or a planner to write down upcoming deadlines. Every week I write down all the upcoming deadlines with the class, assignment, date, and day of the week that it is due. I have the deadlines with me everywhere I go, because they are on both my laptop and phone so I can plan ahead. This allowed me to figure out what days I would start a project and estimate a date that I would finish it by. I found that this helped me a lot because I wasn't as stressed when I got closer to deadlines.
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Madhu’s Answer

It's all about prioritizing and you'll learn this your first year real fast. There are so many things you could do in college, all types of activities and social events. You do NOT need to attend everything. The way I approached time management was by putting my education first and seeing how much time my homework and studying took. Based on that, with the left over time, I signed up for two to three extra curricular activities that I knew I could put my time into as well as rise up in so that I can stand out in my resume. Then I went to a couple social events to destress myself. But don't overload yourself. Make sure you can get 6-8 hours of sleep. Use a planner to map out your week in advance so you can see when you have free time and when you don't. Also allot around 3 hours a week to just spend for yourself whether it be watching Netflix, painting, writing, working out, etc.
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Blake’s Answer

Hey Jessica,

I think the best thing that you can do is begin a planner and plan out your time. For instance, try planning out one day on the weekend. Break out your entire day by each hour or two (get ready, eat breakfast, study, exercise, etc.) and see how well you can adhere to that schedule. In college, it's not about having "enough" time, because there's not going to be enough to do all that you want to do. However, you need to be able to plan what you're going to use your time doing and stick to that plan.

Blake
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Annielyn’s Answer

Firstly, dig to the source of what's causing poor time management. Is it an internal or external issue? For example, are there distractions, unrealistic expectations, escapism, over-commitment, doing more than you can handle, and etc.? Afterward, you'll gain better self-awareness and understand the reasons time management is an issue. Identify the issue first, then tackle it straight on.

Then I'd set up some accountability and guardrails to help me focus. I use an app called Freedom to help block distractions.
For scheduling, I work with time blocks so I'll dedicate x amount of hours to a specific task. I'll also make sure there's flexibility in my schedule if there are things that come up last minute.

Here are some of my favorite books regarding time management/focusing on task:

Annielyn recommends the following next steps:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Do More Better by Tim Challies
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Hamad’s Answer

Hi Jessica,

What has worked for me is planning out a list of todos each morning in a notepad, alongside keeping a schedule. I highly recommend Microsoft Outlook's calendar for keeping track of what tasks need to be done and when. I also keep a notepad on my desk to jot down anything that is important and I may need to remember. I do it this way because I found it to be easy and convenient.

There's definitely a lot to keep track of in college, so you are already on the right track to seek help regarding time management. I hope this helps you!


Best,
Hamad
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Sunitha’s Answer

Time Management Tips for New College Students

Most likely college will be the first time in your life you will have the flexibility and independence to set your own schedule. As much as you may be reveling in your new-found freedom, you will soon discover that managing your coveted free or unstructured time will be more difficult than you had planned. Up through high school your time was more than likely structured and organized, with clear reminders for what you had to do, and where you needed to be. And let’s not forget those pesky and often annoying parents, whose chanting about “don’t forget to do this and that” kept you oriented toward many tasks at hand.

As much as you will enjoy the freedom that college life can bring, you may very well hit the wall of freedom overload. In no time, your free time will get filled with competing demands, which will place even more stress on your attempts to adjust to your new educational environment. The following tips should help you both have fun, as well as adjust to college’s organizational challenges, while navigating yourself in the direction of college success.

BE RESILIENT

Resilience is the foundation upon which time management abilities rest. Resiliency goes beyond being smart or motivated to succeed. It means being strong enough to withstand difficult times while deciding to persevere while steadfastly holding onto your optimism about solving any given challenge, obstacle or problem. Resilient people don’t give up; they just figure out a way to get over the hump and solve the problem. Resilience isn’t something you have or don’t have; it is developed by the very act itself. Practicing optimism while staying in the mix of any given challenge will most definitely build your “resilience muscles!” Reach deep inside yourself and find your inner resilient person! As difficult as it is to quantify resilience, your commitment to developing it will help you past most of your most difficult college problems and seemingly insurmountable challenges.
USE YOUR TECHNOLOGY

Nothing helps a college student stay organized more than a good calendar! It becomes your memory so you don’t have to keep storing stuff in that already overloaded brain. It serves as an external reference which helps you keep on track and lower your anxiety levels. But it will only be the lifesaver it promises to be if you use it on a consistent basis.

If you are like the rest of the world, you already have several calendars and other organizational programs at your disposal, be it online or built in to your laptop, tablet, or phone. Your planner is a great way to input all the information and deadlines for the entire semester from your course syllabus. This way you can plan ahead for that big project or ensure enough time to study for that midterm.
Having a visual representation of your crazy college schedule will better help you juggle your competing academic demands and your great many new and exciting college adventures. Scheduling your day to day activities is the best “medicine” for feeling overwhelmed and disorganized.
THE “OLD SCHOOL” CALENDAR

If you are “old school,” take out a piece of paper and create an old-fashioned to do list. Or carry around a stack of Post-its®. Making a list and then crossing items off as they are completed, can be quite satisfying. Planners, calendars, lists and other organizational helpers will become your best friend - if you allow them to.
KEEP A REGULAR ROUTINE

In college there is virtually no one monitoring where you are and what you’re doing. Keeping to a regular routine and structure is very important in helping you avoid the pitfalls of procrastination and avoidance; which then leads to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Setting up recurring “appointments” in any of your calendars will go a long way in helping you develop new routines and habits. Become used to scheduling your “up” and “down” time, such as blocking off time in between classes for specific activities, such as reading, studying, running errands, and other important college-life activities. The more consistent you make your days, the more productive you’ll feel.
SELF-AWARENESS

The more you know about yourself, the better you will be at adapting to the challenges college life brings. Sometimes our needs and wants conflict so if you’re not a morning person do not schedule all 8 am classes as you’ll challenge your ability to be successful. Become aware of your energy levels throughout the day, as well as personal preferences as it relates to your ability to follow-through. Plan your day around this. Knowing when you’re most alert and able to focus will be key to scheduling your classes and homework time.
When you pay attention to your thoughts, emotions and the various manners in which you manage your educational responsibilities, you will become increasingly more competent and confident in the challenges that lie ahead for you. Plus, the more you know about yourself, the more you will be able to tweak and utilize any given time management strategies.
A JOURNAL

Keeping a journal increases awareness of what you do and how it impacts you; be it positively or negatively. Note your eating, sleeping and studying habits and you may find that you actually do better on the test you studied over 3 days for and slept well the night before versus pulling an all-nighter while loaded up on caffeine and junk food.
SEEK FEEDBACK

Seek feedback from trusted friends or family. Ask for candid, objective perspectives when you feel stuck. It will open your eyes to a new way to view the situation and allow you to make changes that will help you rather than perpetuate a negative cycle. If you don’t feel you have trusted people whom you respect, then seek out a qualified mental health professional to assist you as your “objective observer.” Formal feedback in counseling allows you to see your strengths and weaknesses and how best to use them to meet your goals.
MISTAKES ARE OUR FRIENDS

Use your mistakes as teaching opportunities. Our ‘failures’ can be our biggest tools for implementing change if we pay attention. Find out what went wrong, where and how and then you’ll know what to do differently next time.
ADDITIONAL TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS
Prioritize your “to do” list. Make sure you don’t put the most difficult tasks at the bottom.
Set realistic expectations. Organize your schedule according to logical completion time-frames.
Avoid procrastination. Set rewards/reinforcers to encourage task completion.
Avoid Multi-tasking, research proves it truly decreases productivity.
Achieve a healthy balance. Schedule in rest, relaxation and fun. It can’t be all work and no play.
Remove Distractions. Put that phone aside, shut your door, turn the tv off.
Nourish yourself. Eat throughout your day. Being hungry greatly impacts our resourcefulness.
Get enough sleep. The difference between a productive and a horribly disorganized day can be just an extra hour or two of sleep.
Reach out for help when it isn’t working. This is what school counselors, resource personnel and friends are for!
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