How do you keep track of your daily to-do list? Do you have a system? You probably should. The life of a college student is filled with responsibilities and activities, and keeping track of it all can be quite a process. If you’re still trying to keep track of important events and deadlines in your head, consider these tips for developing a time management strategy that works for you.
Know Your Style
First, take into consideration your personal style of organization. Do you prefer to write things down in a planner or would you rather use electronic methods like a computer or your Blackberry to keep track of your daily agenda?
Use what you feel most comfortable with and what you think you’re most likely to stick with. Developing a recorded time-management habit will take some time; you may as well use the tools that are most comfortable for you.
Know Your ABC’s
Once you’ve chosen your time management tool, pick a time each day to write out your to-do list. You may want to do this at night if you like to plan ahead for the following day. I look at my list each morning while I’m having coffee, and this works for me.
Next, assign each task on your list a letter, according to priority. Things that absolutely must get done that day should be marked with an “A”, while tasks that are not as critical can receive the letter “B”. Mark things you’d like to do, but that aren’t necessary that day, with a “C”. This system will help you to best decide which items to tackle each day, as well as the can’t-miss events that you must schedule around.
You’ll find an article on the ABC’s of time management at CampusHealth.org.
Effective time management requires planning. You’ll need to look ahead each week, month, and semester for important projects, assignments, tests, work schedules and more and make note of them in your agenda system. For example, if you have a part-time job, be sure to input your work schedule into your planner. You’ll want to make work an “A” priority.
Use your course syllabi to look ahead at major projects, quizzes, and exams and include them in your planner as well. You can break it down even further by scheduling time for various tasks relating to these larger deadlines. If you have a large research paper due at the end of the semester, it’s a good idea to put library time, writing time, and editing time in your agenda.
Don’t worry if this all seems very overwhelming now. Once you find a system that you like and put it into practice, managing your time, commitments, and activities will get easier.