Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Stop Procrastinating!

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

One of the big challenges facing students as they transition from high school to college is how to manage their time and structure their days – and how to avoid the peril of procrastination.

According to PsychCentral.com most everyone procrastinates at some point. As the website notes , “We put things off, especially things that are boring, lengthy, drudgery or might challenge us in some unexpected or unforeseen way.” Need some help adjusting to a challenging college workload? We selected a few of PsychCentral’s “10 Tips for Getting It Done Today.”

  1. Complete small tasks quickly rather than postponing them. The sense of accomplishment you get from successfully finishing the small assignment will help encourage you to take on larger and more complicated tasks.
  2. When you get to the larger, more complex tasks, break them down into smaller, more manageable parts. If you’re writing a lengthy paper, for example, compose just one section at a time. As PsychCentral points out, by breaking things into more digestible parts, you’re setting smaller, more realistic milestones. For example, writing a paper might have 5 or 6 milestones: selecting a topic; researching the topic; organizing notes into a paper outline; writing a rough draft; asking a friend to review what you’ve written; writing a final draft. Set a due date for each of these separate tasks to help stay on track and work backwards from your due date so that you’ll know where you stand each day and each week.
  3. Identify your best time of day to do your work– everyone has a “peak performance” time, whether it’s early morning, mid-day or later at night. Then start with the assignments that are the most boring and/or challenging. You’ll have more energy for the tougher tasks when you’re feeling refreshed.
  4. Treat school as if it were a job, and aim to accomplish your assignments and tasks within a set time frame, just as you would in the workplace.
  5. Stay organized. Keep all school-related materials organized and in one place and use some type of system for each class to keep track of the syllabus, class notes, handouts, etc. Locate a space in your home or room where you will keep all school-related items – notebooks, textbooks, research articles, equipment, etc. and create a way to keep track of all paper, whether it’s a 3-ring binder or file folders stored collectively in a single file box.

If you’re prone to procrastination, a daily to-do list, whether on paper or on an electronic device, can help you stay on track. At the start of every day, review the full day’s list of tasks, and also look at what lies ahead for the rest of the week. Be sure to keep your to-do list updated, crossing off the tasks that are completed and adding new things that need to be finished. Check out some of the many time management apps that are available, such as My Homework.

Remember, there’s no time like the present. “You will be no better motivated in the future than you are right now, at this very moment,” notes PsychCentral. Don’t wait to start an assignment until you’re “in the right mood – sometimes you have to do something even when you don’t feel like it, just to get it done.

Check out PsychCentral for more ideas to help you get organized and manage your time. And to learn about other apps that can make college life easier, check out these selections from the editors of Businessweek.com.