Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Dr. Pat Ponto
Director of Counseling
Making everything fit at K can be a big job. The better manager of time you become, the more likely you’ll feel that your work is finished, that you have free time to relax and socialize and that that your life is your own.
The first step in improving time management is to find out how you actually spend your time now. You can use the time log on the Counseling Center website. Most students who record their activities are surprised at the difference between how much time they think about studying and the time they actually spend studying.
Another benefit of the time log is to help you determine the times of day/night when you have the energy to do productive academic work. Once you know your high energy times, it’s important to schedule your most difficult work during those periods.
The second major step in effective time management is to set up a calendar for the quarter (also found on our website) with all your exams and major assignments. The calendar gives you an overview of the quarter and an idea of which weeks will be particularly intense, which weeks you can assign to your long-term projects and when you can afford to take a break.
Long-term projects are often the most difficult tasks to manage time-wise. There are two important guidelines — be as realistic as possible in estimating the time needed and make sure you divide the big projects into smaller, manageable tasks. Start these projects at least a week before they are due.
Once your calendar is completed and you have a clear picture of your work for the quarter, it often helps to make lists of projects by week and even for the day. Students report enjoying crossing off the work that they have completed.
A final time management tip is to study hard when you’re scheduled to study and to avoid thinking about your work when you are taking a break or socializing. It’s easy to get caught in thinking about work all the time and never really relaxing. Relaxation breaks and socializing are very important to your lives, too!