Millions of students struggle with effective time management. Sometimes, it happens because staying focused on one task at a time is difficult. Other times, it’s due to chronic procrastination. Still, other students are such perfectionists that they are too anxious to turn their work in on time. Whatever the reason you might struggle with this common issue, you can build effective time management skills with the right guidance and the right time management strategies. Here are a few simple time management tips to try:
To-do lists are a useful time management tool that you shouldn’t overlook. Making a list of school work you need to get done can help you start planning what to do first. Lists can also help “declutter” your brain as you jot down different tasks. However, be sure you aren’t spending your time making a list instead of getting the work done. The list should be a jumping-off point rather than a perfect outline of your plans.
One of the most effective ways to manage your time is to break tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Not only is this a useful tactic for staying focused, but it can also help you have a better idea of how long it will really take you to work on that essay, math worksheet, or science project.
If an assignment feels easy, it can be tempting to multitask and start working on another assignment at the same time. However, switching back and forth before you finish one task will decrease the quality of your work for both assignments. You will also undermine your ability to focus. In the long run, you could even take longer to finish the assignments than you would have if you did them one at a time. So don’t multitask when it comes to your homework. Stay on track until you finish what you sat down to do.
Another form of multitasking to avoid is doing other activities during homework time. Checking social media, playing video games, or having a conversation with a friend or sibling may be fun, but it will make your study sessions take longer as you struggle to maintain focus. Put away distractions before you start, and you may find that your time management skills improve significantly.
To succeed in the classroom, it’s essential to set both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals might look like “complete worksheet,” “study for test,” or “outline science report.” Long-term goals might look like “finish essay,” “complete semester project,” or even “get a B+ or higher in (class).” As you set goals, make sure they’re realistic yet still challenging.
Keep track of those looming due dates with a calendar — whether it’s digital, paper, dry-erase, or anything else. Each type of calendar has its pros and cons, but one consistent tip to keep in mind for all calendars is to look at the month or semester view occasionally to get an idea of what’s coming up next. If you receive an assignment or project schedule ahead of time, put the dates in your calendar as soon as you get them. That way, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to actually work on the project.
The Pomodoro technique involves breaking work up into chunks. These chunks of time usually last 25 minutes, with 5-minute breaks between them. It has been proven to help improve time management skills for many different people, including students. To effectively use this method, don’t forget to set timers to keep an eye on when your break is over and when it’s time to get back to work.
Don’t be discouraged if you still can’t seem to master time management. Keep trying until you find something that works for you! There are many different strategies and techniques that students can use to improve their time management, whether they’re in advanced senior math classes or first grade. We offer tutoring in individual subjects, study skill development, and even public speaking classes in Boston! Get in touch with us today to discover how students can master the art of time management.