It’s a super-busy point of the semester, and many of you have expressed that you are burnt out and having difficulty keeping up with all-the-things. I feel you. Time Management is, unfortunately, something that we all struggle with …
The reality is that we each have tons of responsibilities, seemingly endless to-dos, & competing priorities, and there are only so many hours in a day and so much energy, brainpower, & motivation at our disposal during those hours.
When we are under a deadline or feel the pressure of a time crunch, we tend to procrastinate (which ends up causing even more of a time crunch!). And whether we are consciously aware of it or not, procrastination is deeply connected to a whole range of emotions that start bubbling up: we feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, frustrated, angry, scared, hopeless, depressed. We become stretched too thin, more reactive, less able to productively meet our goals and to be the best versions of ourselves. Then we feel shame, guilt, regret, exhaustion. And all of these emotions can start to chip away at our physical health. Of course, if we get sick, we fall more behind, and the more we fall behind the more stressed we get, which makes us sicker … and round and round we go.
Just because time management is hard, though, doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. An important part of both student success & self-care is to learn how to effectively manage your time. That takes becoming more aware of your own patterns and habits in relation to time management, learning skills and techniques to improve your time management, and then mindfully and diligently working to make the progress.
If you know that you struggle at certain times and in certain circumstances, don’t beat yourself up for that — but do seek out the skills & support you need. This workshop will help!
Complete the Time Management Inventory, the Time Management Reflection Reflection, and then watch + annotated the Time Management and SMART Goals video. All of these links are from the UNC at Chapel Hill Learning Center’s Tips & Tools website, which has a whole range of amazing resources for student success. I strongly encourage you to check them out (especially the ones on procrastination!) and use them as resources going forward.
After you’ve read + annotated this workshop & the above texts, share your thoughts on time management. You can approach any way you’d like, but I encourage you to consider the following:
- What are some of the emotions that come up for you when you’re struggling with time management? What about when you more successfully manage your time?
- What are your default habits when you have a big deadline?
- What are some strategies you have used to manage your time? How effective are they?
- What new things did you learn from this workshop?
- Do some of your own research (it can just be googling around) on time management, & share what you’ve learned with the class (don’t forget to cite!).
- If you had to give your peers one piece of advice on time management, what would it be, & why?
Comments (& at least a few replies to others’ comments) are due by 12pm (noon) on Friday, 11/18. Looking forward to a great conversation here!
Time management is something I was not great at when I was younger, but have been working to get better at. A key part of managing your time is making a schedule and sticking to it. We use a lot of excuses to put things off. We come up with excuses like I don’t have the time to do this or I’ll do this later. These are all excuses. There is a TedTalk that I have linked here
One of the key messages the speaker makes clear is that when you say I don’t have time, it really means this is not a priority.
yes I agree that a key part of managing your time is making a schedule and sticking to it. This is something I like to do when I divide my work throughput the week or when I see I have free time I like to take advantage of it and do some work.
Yes, I agree with you too. Planning your activities and duties ahead of time will help a lot to accomplish your short-term goals and will lead you to finish your long-term goals as well. Making a schedule and sticking to it is the best way to organize your day or your week.
I can agree to it now and when I was younger also I would like to put things off to the side kind of like procrastinate and I watch the video and it really made sense on time management.
Thanks for sharing this video Jasper — I enjoyed watching it, and found the “time diary project” (and her use of other reflective techniques — such as the personal “performance review”) that she did fascinating!
Time management was a skill I adapted in high school. In high school I remember teachers would sometimes give so many assignments or the assignments of all my classes would pile up. I knew that I hated feeling stressed, so I began organizing myself. I try to be strict and follow the deadlines since I like to remind myself that after the deadline, I don’t have to worry about the assignment anymore which can be rewarding in a way. Depending on the assignment I will divide the work or sometimes I like to spend the whole day doing it. After my classes I like to check if I have any homework and once, I’m done I focus on the assignment with a deadline, I feel that this works for me. Something that I learned was that time management contributes to our success and it’s a form of self-care. One advice I would give my peers is that if you feel that you are procrastinating try putting a time for about 10 minutes and begin doing the task. Once those 10 minutes pass you might feel that since you are already in the mindset of the task that you will just want to continue that specific task until you feel you have done enough or until you’re done. This is something I like to use when I feel that I’m procrastinating.
Hey Lizbeth, I also adapted the skill of time management in high school. Teachers would bombard me with assignments and I had to organize my work with certain deadlines. Thanks for the advice I will try to incorporate it when I feel like I’m procrastinating.
This is good advice Lizbeth and you said it right we need to be organized, it is easier when the only thing we need to do is to go to school. I remember when I was at college back home, I didn’t have to work, my only job was to study, now that I am on my second degree I can see a big difference, and is not easy but not impossible. The key is to plan and be organized.
Thanks Lizbeth for sharing these thoughts and this video (friendly reminder: it’s important to introduce / explain why you’re sharing the video, just as you would integrate any other source into your writing, so readers understand your rationale for putting it there). Parkinson’s law is important / interesting (and what a powerful analogy in the video, about the deadline as a “fire”!).
I also really like your tip about just getting started and putting a timer on for 10 minutes. That’s solid advice. Someone once told me that you can do just about anything for 15 minutes (and that you often want to continue once you get started), and I’ve found that to be true in my own life!
When I’m struggling with time management I feel anxious. I get stuck in my head which leads me to get overwhelmed and I start to procrastinate. I know I should be doing the assignment but I get stuck, almost paralyzed with the what-ifs. What if I don’t do it right ? what if I fail? I sit there and think about all the negative outcomes and can’t get myself to do the assignment. Now how I would deal with this is to try to get my mind off the assignment. I listen to music it helps calm me down. Or watch a show. However, I limit myself I set a limit on how long can i listen or watch. Then after I get started, it clears my head and I can finally get into it. Once I’m into it I can’t stop, I’m the type of person that likes to finish what they start. Meaning after I start I don’t procrastinate anymore and I can finally turn in the assignment before the deadline. So my advice is it’s okay if you overthink just remember to string yourself back to something that helps you relax. Read an article, watch one episode of your favorite show, and play 5 songs. Do something that makes you feel good so that when you start the assignment your mind is set and clear. The article I found “15 practical ways to improve time management skills” was helpful. It first explains what time management is and ways to help you organize your time. It listed out a to-do list I never really thought I needed but after my first semester in college, I definitely think it will help me. Also goes with making myself a schedule not just for classes but for my day after class. I can organize my time way better. Make a new schedule every Sunday so that I already have some or most of the week planned out.
Ho, L. (2022, October 12). 15 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills. Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-ways-improve-your-time-management-skills.html
Jayleen, your comments here about anxiety are so important (I bet we can all relate! I know I can!) — appreciate your sharing your experiences, and also your advice for how to move through those uncomfortable emotions and still be productive / successful.
Thanks also for sharing that article — lots of great, actionable suggestions there. I have used the Pomodoro Method (#11) myself for years, and find it pretty helpful with chunking out tasks into smaller, more manageable components.
Time management is still something I am learning, especially now in college. The older I get the more I have to learn about it. Back in high school is were time management wasn’t taught to us students, this is because during the pandemic half of the school year was revoke, basically every student that was attending and doing work for the first half of the year was not getting credit for it, because the other half was not attending, so the principal decided to give them a fresh start including the hard working students too. This led me as a hard working student to dislike school all together, deadlines were not important in my school. Now that I’m in college, I realize how much harm my school was doing to us students. Now that I have real deadlines, I often get mixed emotions, sometimes I doubt myself, the thought of it makes me anxious and I overthink. These feelings make me waste more time and leave work to the last minute. I had a habit of making myself busy when I really didn’t want to do work, thankfully I managed to teach myself to stop doing that. I started loving the feeling of finishing an assignment, which motivated me to keep finishing more assignments. Although being an athlete did teach me how to manage time, being an athlete meant I Had to have good grades in order to play, it is a PSAL rule. Sports gave me the motivation to manage my time and be a good student so that I can be a good athlete. In my opinion having a motivation like a sport is going to be the best thing to help students to manage time. The article I found “Lessons from Sports: Time Management” gives the perfect explanation on the skills athletes have to learn. Having motivation means having to prioritize.
Chris Graziano(Aug 9,2020). Lessons from Sports: Time Management. Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lessons-from-sports-time-management-chris-graziano?trk=read_related_article-card_title
Doriani, love that you highlighted the motivating / satisfying feeling of accomplishment (checking things of that to-do list is SO gratifying!), and used insights gained from playing sports (both your own, and this article) — thanks for sharing!
By the way, what is “PSAL”? (as a writer, it’s important to spell out acronyms for your readers the first time you use them, as they may not be familiar with them)
Hi Doriani, I think in my case it was the opposite since classes where online I had to learn to turn in assignments on time and manage my time. I’m happy you were able to overcome this and yes I agree the feeling of finishing a task is very rewarding.
Each one of us always thinks that we don’t have time. I keep saying the same over and over but when I analyze what I am doing with my time I think that I had been doing pretty well, managing my work, my household, my health, and now school. I don’t even know how I have the strength to do all these things but everything is on time, my bills, I am the most productive worker at my job, I take care of my mother’s necessities, food, laundry, and personal care products never are missing in the house. How do I do it? I plan my day in my head and go in order, sometimes I write it down but most of the time is in my head. For example This week I am a little behind because of a family emergency but I am not too late because I did some work in advance last week. This morning I had to call my doctor, pay all my bills, call another doctor, finish my psychology homework, go to an appointment all that while I was working, and finally this homework. I did it in order and prioritized the homework that was due first. As the video said we need to plan and have smart choices and focus on what we need to do until completion. “Begin with the end in mind” Of course at the end of the day I am almost dying but I make sure that I go to sleep at the same time to recover myself and be ready for the next round.
Thanks for sharing Indira … it sounds like you have good plans & practices in place for an incredibly busy schedule. Planning ahead and building in enough time for recovery are both so key to success!
So some emotions that came up for me we’re struggling with time management is procrastination attentive procrastinate and do things last minute instead of trying to get things done ahead of time so that way I don’t have to focus on doing it these hours I’ll have more time to do the work. my default habits when having a big deadline is I tend to do a little bit of work ahead of time and then usually forget and finish it off before it’s due. some strategies I have to use my manage time that I found effective is to write it down on a posted on a post and board are used to have one but mines broke but when I used to put all the things that we do on a post it it would help me to remind myself when things are due. I learned how to schedule my time in this workshop. so there’s a link on how you can organize the posts on a Post-it board that I found on YouTube here’s a link to it if you like to watch the video.
How to give one piece of advice and time management to my peers it would be to try to organize when things are due ahead of time and set a day and time to do the work to fit into your schedule. that’s because I know I have a busy schedule so by doing that it helps me get a good time on when to do the work.
Hey Brianna, yes I agree being organized and setting a time is very beneficial. Managing time is a skill every student should adapt. I also write what I have to do in a post it and once I’m done with what I have to do I throw it out, I find it rewarding.
Thanks for sharing Brianna (though the video link didn’t come through — can you add it as a comment here?). While procrastination itself isn’t an emotion, it does bring up a lot of emotions when it is play (e.g., stress, anxiety). I like your advice to create visual reminders (like post-its) … as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind” … so you definitely want to keep the things you need to prioritize on your radar.
Thanks for these thoughts everyone — loving the reflections, advice, and links!
I’ll add a few pieces of advice here too:
-Forcing myself to just get started, even for a few minutes, on a task I’m dreading: When I was in grad school and feeling totally burnt out and overwhelmed by how much I had to get done and the tasks ahead (which seemed–are were!!-really daunting!), I used to say to one of my good friends, “but, how are I going to do it?” And she would reply: “By doing it.” At some point, you just have to get started doing the things. And trust me, it works (most of the time!).
-Keeping detailed / synced calendars: I tried for years to use a paper calendar, and love the idea of it, but found that it wasn’t as ideal for me, because I didn’t always have it with me (and I couldn’t update it as easily). So I switched to using digital calendars, and love that my Google & Apple Calendars sync not only on my phone but also across all my devices.
-Reminding myself of things with audio cues: I set alarms on my phone, too, for all of my important deadlines, meetings, and sometimes even daily tasks (like remembering to take medicine or call someone).
-Don’t leave things to the last minute, and build in buffer time: keep in mind “Murphy’s Law” … if anything can go wrong, it will.
I agree because I fall victim to putting stuff off and as i get older i realize when you keep doing that you get nowhere nor do you gain nothing from being lazy . I learned you have to fight off the laziness and go do what you have to do because life dont wait on nobody and school especially school ,