Time management makes the difference between the successful student and the unsuccessful student. Successful students are excellent time managers. Unsuccessful students are poor time managers. Learning how to manage your time wisely is the key to academic and career success!
The successful student has 24 hours and the unsuccessful student also has 24 hours. But it’s the way they both spend their 24 hours that determines their outcomes during graduation. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook said, “You get what you spend your time on!”
School is good! But, school doesn’t train students to manage their time wisely. In fact, most teachers are horrible at time management. Time management skills and disciplines are not learnt at school and this goes on to affect the career life of students when they graduate.
Here are 7 time-management tips that can help you organize yourself and academic activities prudently. The best part is: this time management tips will make you a successful student and make your career life successful!
1. Set academic goals and prioritize them for the term, semester or the final grade at graduation
“Success is goals. All else is commentary,” said Brian Tracy. The very step toward managing your time is to set goals for the term or semester or final grade at graduation.
Your goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Time Bound). If you will achieve any goal in this semester/term what will it be? What result do you want to get at each subject you’re studying? What do you want as your final result?
Evaluate your previous performance and set your academic goals for the time. Your goals should also be personal and be in the present tense!
You should then prioritize your goals based on their level of importance to you. Name the most important once as “A” tasks, the less important as “B” tasks and the important once as “C” tasks!
· I get 6A’s in this term/semester (A1)
· I read 5 story books in this term/semester (B)
· I learn 100 new vocabularies in this term/semester (C)
· I get the first position in Math this term/semester (A2)
· I get the first position in English this term/semester (A3)
Action Exercise: Set 10 goals you would like to achieve by the end of the term or semester.
2. Make a “to do” list monthly, weekly and daily based on your long term academic goals
It’s not enough to have goals. Goals must be backed by objectives and consistent actions to become a reality. So you must set sub-goals called objectives and work on them daily to achieve the long term-goals.
To manage your 24 hours wisely, you must plan your day daily. This is best done in the evening before the next day. Plan your monthly activities from your academic goals for the term/semester. Plan your weekly activities from your monthly goals. Plan your daily activities from your weekly goals.
|Source: Bulldog Academic Resource Collection-Slideshare|
Action Exercise: Sit down and write your “to do” list for the month, week and finally your day.
3. Prioritize your list according to their level of importance and urgency
Put the most important tasks you have to do in your list at the top. Prioritize your monthly, weekly and daily academic goals. Organize your list according to their level of importance. Make sure you include your errands, routines and study schedules!
· “A” Tasks: Most Important Tasks ( your highest value tasks)
· “B” Tasks: Less Important Tasks ( your high value tasks)
· “C” Tasks: Important Tasks ( your valuable tasks that also needs to be done)
· “D” Tasks: Delegated Tasks (tasks you should delegate for others to do)
· “E” Tasks: Eliminated Tasks (things you should stop doing)
Use numbers to further prioritize “A” tasks into A1, A2, and A3 etc. Do the same for your “B” tasks and your “C” tasks!
Action Exercise: Prioritize and organize your “to do” list according to their level of importance and urgency to you!
4. Focus on high value tasks and discipline yourself to complete them.
If you evaluate your list well, you'll see that you must focus on only A, B and C tasks only. You see, your priorities determine your level of focus. So focus on high value tasks, the most important things that must be done for you to achieve your academic goals.
It’s not about working hard. It’s about working smart! And working smart requires you to focus and work on high value tasks that will generate the most results and bring you closer to your goals.
Action Exercise: Focus on A, B and C tasks on your daily to do list and complete them.
5. Discipline yourself to focus on one task, complete it and get to another on your list.
Discipline is the key to success! It requires you to do what must be done whether you feel like doing it or not! Once you have planned your daily activities, the next step is to work on them one-by-one, from the most important to the delegated ones.
Action Exercise: Develop the habit of self-discipline and focus by working on your goals and lists according to their importance and complete them.
6. Motivate yourself to accomplish the tasks by setting rewards for accomplishment
Procrastination is not your best friend. It’s your enemy! As a student, you must learn to motivate yourself and get things done at the right time.
One of the best ways to overcome procrastination is to set deadlines for your tasks and award yourself when it’s completed.
Companies reward workers with pay raises and bonuses to motivate them to do their best and complete tasks at the right time! You’re the CEO of your academic life, so reward yourself as well.
Action Exercise: Set rewards down for accomplishing your weekly, monthly and terminal academic goals.
7. Set time in the evening to evaluate progress, meditate and plan the next day
Evaluation is as good as execution because it’s when we evaluate that we measure our progress and find better ways of reaching our goals. So spend time to evaluate your progress towards your daily, weekly, monthly and seminar/terminal goals!
Spend at least 30 minutes in the evening to evaluate and measure your progress. Mediate or listen to something inspirational and motivational. Then plan for the next day based on your weekly goals. Post tasks that have not been performed on the next day’s schedule!
Action Exercise: Spend time in the evening daily to evaluate progress, meditate and plan for the next day.
Success is habits! As you work on and apply these 7 time management tips for students, in at least 30 days, you will begin to form the time management skills crucial for your academic and career success!