A key skill to learn for academic success is time management for college students. But that’s the thing, you have to learn time management skills to be good at them. Time management comes naturally only to a small percentage of college students. So, invest the time learning how to master your schedule and study wisely. It’s likely you're part of the large majority that needs help in this area. For example, did you know that just by having a checklist, it will positively reinforce you to complete a task? 

When you learn how to manage your time better, the overall college experience gets better. Here are just some of the benefits you’ll see from developing your time management skills:

  • Less time studying with better efficiency
  • Greater success on large projects and final exams
  • Feelings of confidence and stability while in school
  • Better balance with friends, family, work, and school
  • Avoid procrastination or feeling overwhelmed

As you’ll see, everyone has their own time management system. However, your system shouldn’t be based on chance. Instead, you can quickly develop the system that works best for you. Follow these tips to improve your chances of success in college.

At Lionel University, we’re committed to your academic success and professional fitness future. Contact us today for more information!

Do The Time Math

There are 168 hours in a week. Start with this number, then subtract how hours that are non-negotiable. For example, sleep, work, and eating are all important things to do. Then continue with other things you enjoy doing like working out, spending time with friends, or watching TV. This will help you arrive at a realistic number of hours you can spend studying.

Just by going through this exercise, you’ll realize just how much time you have available. It’s more than you think. So, if you use it wisely, yes, you can fit it all in.

Time Your Study Sessions At First

Once you know how much time you have available to study, you need to figure out how long everything takes. A common calculation is to assume you’ll spend two hours studying for every one hour in class (for an easy class) and up to four hours studying for every hour in a hard class. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. And, since your classes at Lionel all have the same structure, it’s easier for you to plan your study schedule.

But the first thing you need to do, especially for new college students or adult learners, is to time your different studying activities. Each week you’ll have a reading assignment, audio lecture, homework assignment, and quiz. The next step to developing great time management habits is to really know yourself. And this comes with knowing how long it takes you to do each of these assignments. You should time yourself doing them well. For example, you should be taking notes when you read. So, see exactly how long it takes you to go through one complete chapter. 

The same is true for listening to audio lectures, assignments, and quizzes. Time yourself going through each activity. This will help you block the right amount of time you need on your weekly and daily schedule. 

Identify Your PEW

This stands for your Personal Einstein Window. This is the time of day when you’re most productive, efficient, motivated, and have the most energy. Some are morning people, while others are night owls. Here’s a hint. It is usually the same as when you like to work out. You should always plan a difficult assignment or task during your PEW. You’ll be more efficient at it and more likely to complete it.

Create A Weekly Schedule And Stick With It 

Now that you know how many hours you have to study in a week, and how long each task should take you, it’s time to create a schedule. Your daily schedule should also include your PEW. Look at everything you have to do, including free time, family obligations, and more. Then, draft what you think each week should look like. If you have to drive to work, include this in your schedule. In fact, anything that takes over 15 minutes and is predictable, should go in your calendar. If you schedule it, you’ll be less likely to see time slip away. 

Use Your Phone For EVERYTHING

You bring your phone everywhere. Now that you have a weekly schedule, put it in your phone. This way, you can get alerts when it’s almost time to move to the next task. You should also use your phone for important reminders like when an assignment is due or other tips that you learn from your professor or colleague. Ideally, you’ll have a good organization system. But if not, that’s okay. You can start just by scheduling things in your phone and timing how long it all takes to make sure you’re on track. As you become more familiar with using your phone to plan your college life, you can use more features like checklists, reminders, and notes.

Prioritize What You Need To Do 

Know each day and week what the most essential tasks are for you. In fact, it’s helpful to look at your schedule and list the evening before and make sure the priorities are right. If you fall behind on your reading, and you’re about to start a new week, you might need to shift things around. Or, if you find that one class is much easier for you than another, prioritize the harder assignments first.

Break A Large, Challenging Task Into Smaller Ones

If you have to write a paper, break it up into all the steps you need to do first. As you’ll read later, having a checklist gives you positive reinforcement. So, you can assume, having a checklist with many small tasks can reinforce you more than one major task. Take the example of having to write a paper. Here are some things you can put on the list:

  • Read the paper assignment to make sure I don’t have any questions
  • Decide what I want to write my paper about
  • Put an outline together for what the paper should cover
  • Determine how much additional research I’ll need to do for the paper
  • Complete 50% of draft 1
  • Complete 100% of draft 1
  • Revise draft 1 to develop final draft
  • Submit paper

A checklist like this is great. You can do a few of the items while you workout or drive to work. In fact, some of the best students are the ones who are thinking and planning their school work while doing other, mundane tasks. 

Do The Small, Less Enjoyable Things First

One of the best ways to avoid procrastination is to do the things you don’t want to do first. As the day or week wears on, we get tired. Our decision-making quality gets poorer and poorer. Our productivity and efficiency isn’t as great. These are all the reasons why you should do a task that you don’t want to do first. 

Even better, saving a fun assignment or task for later will give you motivation to do the other work first. It will also be more enjoyable. You’re training yourself to be good at school and to enjoy the process. Finishing the hard or boring stuff right up front is a great habit builder.

Give Yourself A Goal

People like to achieve goals. And, most people in an exercise science degree program love fitness and competition. This means, they’re natural goal achievers. Give yourself a minimum goal and a stretch goal each day or week. For example, maybe your goal is to finish the first 50% of your paper today. Make finishing 75% of it your stretch goal. Not only does it give you something to aim for, it also makes your next day a little easier. 

Use A Checklist Format

Checklists aren’t just for the people who pride themselves on organization and detail. Instead, a checklist helps you with so many of the time management tips in this article. A checklist helps you break up large tasks, prioritize what’s more important, allows you to make realistic goals, and more. Even better, when you check something off your list, it gives you the feeling of completion. It’s like a reward. It’s like running an extra quarter of a mile before stopping or pushing out one more repetition. Furthermore, it offers a feeling of accomplishment. Even if you don’t think you’re a checklist type of person, give it a chance for four weeks.

Limit Distractions

Humans aren’t good at multitasking. As much as anyone would like to believe they are, they just might be better than someone else. Multitasking is extremely inefficient. It’s just like working out. Your body is great at going after one thing at a time. For example, it would be hard to training for a marathon at the same time while you’re trying to build muscle and hypertrophy.

So, when you’re studying, just study. When you’re spending time with family, just do that. You’ll be better at both. When you are doing school work, put your phone on sleep or do not disturb mode. Tell others you’ll be tied up. Even better, turn your phone off. If you’re on your computer, don’t keep multiple tabs open. Shut down social media and close your email. Keep yourself focused on the task at hand.

Realize High School Is Different From College

If you were great in high school, it doesn’t mean the same will be true in college. In college, there’s more autonomy, and you need to develop independence. The relationships you have with your professor will be different from what you had with your teacher. When you know this going into your degree program, you’ll realize it’s time to set some new habits.

When you get a degree in exercise science from Lionel University, you’ve got an entire team invested in the success of your academic studies and professional future. Therefore, we’re here to help! Regardless of what degree program you’re in (associate's degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree), time management is important and we can give you more tips and recommendations to increase your chances of success.