By: Tory Dockree
Welcome to Week two of the Academic Skills Prep Series! To start this week off, I wanted to get you thinking about how you will manage your time come September. University, and especially online classes, are going to test your time management skills, but with the right preparation, you can handle everything that the fall semester will bring. This week will focus on different aspects of time management and provide you with some advice on how to make sure that you stay on track.
Being goal oriented
I have found that focusing on goals has helped to make my university experience seem more purposeful and important, and has allowed me to have more motivation to work through hard times. By thinking about my degree not only as a meaningful experience in itself but as a move towards the goals that I hope to achieve later on in life, I am able to think of the importance of each assignment that I complete.
But, being goal oriented isn’t just about the distance future, it’s also about pushing yourself in the short term. For me, many of my short term goals have involved making connections outside of the classroom and exploring extracurricular opportunities. This has been important for me because it has allowed me to make a lot of friends that I may not have met otherwise, and explore different avenues that I may want to pursue in the future.
Ultimately, I know that like me, you are probably coming to university with many different hopes and dreams. I just want you to know that you can accomplish whatever you’d like, you just may have to make sure that you keep your eye on the prize!
I’ve definitely struggled with procrastination and still do sometimes. I have, however, gotten much better at managing my procrastination and I hope I can help you do the same.
I personally am very prone to convincing myself that I will be more prepared to start work at a later date, so I often put off even preliminary tasks like outlining a paper. At the core of these thoughts is the fear that starting an assignment is simply too overwhelming a task. For this reason, I’ve found it really helpful to acknowledge what is specifically worrying me about my work, and then addressing that particular aspect instead of ignoring the whole task.
This form of reflecting on procrastination can be a great way to overcome it. To learn more about how to engage in this type of reflection, as well as other strategies for overcoming procrastination, be sure to check out the academic skills webinar this Wednesday.
I like to think about scheduling from a 4-month calendar all the way down to a to-do list. This allows me to consider the big picture, as well as smaller details without getting overwhelmed. The reason that I find this so exciting is actually a bit self-serving; it is true that if you schedule effectively, you won’t be distracted by thoughts of looming deadlines and can instead enjoy the free time that you do have, guilt free!
I have found it extremely useful to see each week laid out visually. This practice has been the most transformative for me because it holds me accountable. For example, I know that if I get home from campus around 5:30, I will have a pretty long stretch of time in the evening. Previously, I would be more likely to not see the value in this time and instead leave work until the next day right before lecture. Planning out some of the following items has helped me see more of my time as valuable because I am more inclined to be productive if I can visually see the block of time that I have at my disposal.
If I haven’t sold you on scheduling yet, I think that I might still be able to make a case for to-do lists. These lists allow you to put on paper everything that you need to get done (in a time frame of your choosing) without forcing you to be rigid and unforgiving. If possible, think about to-do lists as an exercise to free up your short-term memory so that you don’t constantly feel like you have to think about tasks that you have to get done. For me, being able to cross items off of the list is also a huge incentive. It becomes a visual reminder of everything that I have accomplished and I feel more likely to complete a task knowing that it will propel me towards completing my lists.
Here are three tips to make your to-do lists work for you:
- Include all tasks (big and small)
- Prioritize important work to help you decide where to start on your list
- If it will take less than two minutes, do it right away
Remember that there are lots of ways that one can approach scheduling. Throughout my degree, I’ve changed up the way I went about scheduling. In first year, I really recommend playing around with different scheduling tools and trying different things. If one particular way isn’t working for you, move onto the next!
I know that it can be difficult to manage all of the demands that you will be feeling throughout your university experience, but it can be done. Finding balance is about figuring out how to make compromises with yourself so that you are living in a way that you find fulfilling.
During your academic journey, you will most likely be trying to strike a balance between your academics, your personal relationships and your extracurricular activities. It can be very difficult at times to balance all of these areas and I know that it’s quite easy to find yourself off track. However, know that finding a school-life balance that works for you is an attainable task. There are so many strategies that can help you strike the perfect balance. A great way to start is by tuning into the academic skills webinar this Wednesday, where we will give you some tips and tricks to find what works for you.
Ultimately, there are many different aspects to time management in university. Whether it’s setting goals for yourself, or creating a schedule, every step that you take can help make your academic journey easier. It’s all about finding what works for you, and tailoring your university experience in a way that you find fulfilling.
Don’t forget to check out our Webinar Wednesday and Feature Friday Webinar. Both go live at 5:30 p.m. (EST). Learn more about our webinars and contests by visiting the Academic Skills Prep Series page.
Tory is going into their fourth year of Arts & Science with a combination in Philosophy and currently works as a student staff in the Academic Skills area of the SSC.