Tag Archives: time management

Tips & Tricks: Time Management

21 Nov

As college students, we’re busy. Today, I have work, two club meetings, three classes, a review session, and an exam tomorrow. We’re juggling jobs, family, clubs, social life, classes, paying bills… The list could go on forever. Having a strong set of time management skills is a large factor in being successful in college. Whether you think you’re a pro at time management or you’re riding the time management struggle bus, we all have room for improvement.

I went around the office and asked your peer mentors to share some tips and tricks for what they do to keep themselves on track during their busy lives. Hopefully, you’ll learn some new techniques that you can use in your life!

Google Calendar:

Jasmine – In order to manage my time, I put all of my time commitments into my Google calendar. This helps me because I am able to see when I have free time and what time would be best to study or do homework. Also,I can see if I’m free to attend study sessions with just a quick glance. Without my Google calendar I would be lost as a student.

Briana – My favorite part about using Google calendar is that I’m able to color code my schedule. My classes are blue, club meetings are purple, and work is red. I’m able to see quickly, just based off of the colors, a general overview of what my day will entail. Also, I set up reminders before each event and receive a notification on my phone. I never forget events! Here’s a screen shot of my Google calendar:

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To-Do Lists:

Erica – I like to make to-do lists on sticky notes, and cross things off as I accomplish them! My planner is also my biggest life saver and time management tool!

Planning Ahead:

Kaelyn – The best tool for my time management is ThinkTank’s “Semester on a Page”.  I am able to write down all of my exam dates, essay due dates, club meetings, and events for the entire semester.  It helps me see when my busy weeks are, and when my down weeks are so I can plan social events around them.  My life also revolves around sticky notes.  I stick them everywhere, from my binder to my bathroom mirror to my phone.  Sticky notes help keep me on track for what I need to accomplish that day. I would be lost without them.

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Maddie – I manage my time with my handy planner and a large wall calendar. After completing each task, I cross it off and move on to the next one. I like having a large calendar on my wall to use as a quick reference when I want to know the date or the time and place of an event. Like Kaelyn, I also use sticky notes. Those can be a bit pricey sometimes, so when the wallet’s tight, I just cut out pieces of paper.

Christine – As soon as I get my syllabi for my classes, I go through my large wall calendar and write my assignments, my exam dates, readings that are due, and days that I know I have off. I then color code them so at a glance I can see 3 orange marks which means I have a lot of reading to do tomorrow. Seeing this helps me prioritize my assignments. Also, when I get home every day I take ten minutes to clean my room and relax. After that, I do my homework until I am done otherwise I will get distracted.

Briana – You can also trying making an “assignment list”. Similar to Christine, I take my syllabi at the beginning of the semester and type every assignment, exam, discussion, etc. that is due. Every Sunday or Monday, I take a quick glance at my sheet to see what assignments are due that week, because nothing is worse than walking into class, seeing people turn in papers, and thinking, “WE HAVE SOMETHING DUE TODAY?!”

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Find out how to make this assignment sheet here.

Other Tips:

Leylah – Set small goals for yourself! When you have a big goal that is going to take a long time to complete, it can be really discouraging. It may seem like it will never be accomplished because of the length of time it would take. Instead, try setting small goals that will eventually lead you to your big goal!

Briana – I’m usually a very busy person. When I think of all the things to complete on my to-do list, I get very overwhelmed, which makes me less productive. To fight this, every morning I wake up and ask “What are my top three priorities today?” It doesn’t mean that those will be the only three things that will get done that day, but it means that I can focus on something specific, which relieves a lot of my stress.

Trying to master my time management skills has definitely been a journey throughout my time in college. Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll join me in my journey to becoming a time management ninja. Remember, you have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce. You can do it!

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-Briana

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ASA How-to: Avoiding Procrastination

2 Oct

Never-put-off-till-tomorrow-what-you-can-do-todaySo your professor reminds you that your first exam is next week. It’s cool– you don’t sweat it. It’s eons away, and you’ll get to studying eventually. Besides, you have so many more important things to do, like hanging out with friends, going out to dinner, and shopping for you know, um, stuff.

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Fast-forward to the night before the exam. You had all week to prepare, and you’re sweating bullets now. You curse yourself: “Why didn’t I study some of this earlier? I’m going to have to stay up all night to get all this material down…I’m going to get absolutely no rest! I don’t have time for any of this!”

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This is what happens when you procrastinate. You stall, you get distracted, and you happen to have something better to do than the one thing that you should actually be doing. You top it all off by panicking and getting the necessary task done at the last possible minute.

Perhaps bringing in these bad time-management habits in from high school wasn’t such a good idea. This rough routine gets tiring real fast– especially now that you’re at the University level. But what to do?

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That’s where I come in! See the below steps on how to avoid or break the habit!


 

STEP #1:

RECOGNIZE AND IDENTIFY!

That’s right! The first step is a simple as that. Recognize your time-management patterns and identify when you’re procrastinating. Know when you are getting off-task and are looking for a distraction!

ALERT! You are procrastinating when:

  • You spend your day doing all of your unimportant tasks before the most important.
  • You begin to write a document and then open another window to check social media.
  • You check your mobile phone and text while you have a task in front of you (such as reading or writing a paper).
  • You wait for the “right mood” or “right time.”

STEP #2:

ASK YOURSELF:”WHY?”

The second step isn’t too hard, but it could take some good self reflecting to answer. Why is it exactly that are you procrastinating? Is the task really difficult for you? Is the task out of your comfort zone? Considering the root of the problem is a good way to avoid procrastination in general.

Common causes of procrastination include:

  • Laziness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Outside of comfort zone
  • Rebellion
  • Fatigue
  • Fear of failure
  • Perfectionism
  • Not a clear understanding of task

STEP #3:

BUILD GOOD HABITS

Get organized → Keep a planner with weekly goals or write out a daily to-do list; just stick to whatever you are most comfortable with to keep you on track with your goals in mind!

Motivate yourself → There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little reward at the end of the completion of a difficult task. It gives you something to look forward to!

Give yourself a brief break → This is crucial to avoid procrastination. Release your sidetracked energy on a quick nap, texting etc. and then get back to work! Don’t get carried away here though, you should give yourself only a certain amount of time (10-20 minutes max) to relax.

Remove what’s distracting you → Whether it’s your smartphone, Facebook, or the TV, shut it off and put it away! I know we’re all tempted to be constantly connected to the Twitterverse, but trust me, nothing major is going to happen in the next few hours! Give yourself a break from your social media distractions and you’ll surely focus better!

STEP #4:

GET A GRIP! JUST DO IT.

In the end, it all boils down to taking action. No matter how structured your plan is, or how good your strategy seems, nothing is going to happen if you don’t take the initiative!

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Cheers,

Leylah

5 Steps To a Focused Finish

28 Mar

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Okay, so we all know we need some time to “recover” from our week of relaxing on spring break (#studentproblems, am I right?). I don’t know about you, but I have a few piles of neglected laundry to do and I probably should have gotten a head start on some assignments. Procrastination happens, but now that we’ve had a week to get back into the groove of things, let’s talk staying focused these last 7 weeks and finishing STRONG.

Because I will be graduating in May, this is my final semester here at the UA (hey, that rhymed!). That being said, my mind is constantly wandering elsewhere which means my immediate academic concerns keep taking a backseat. So if you’re feeling a little distracted, I feel ya, but have no fear! I have devised a strategic plan for us to get through this semester together and it even comes in list form (for those who respond best to information presented in the “BuzzFeed” format.)

Five Steps to a Focused Finish

 

1. Look it up. Write it down.

Remember that planner you got at the beginning of the year? Or…you know, maybe forgot to get? Now is the time to blow off the dust and put it to use. Also, while you’re digging around in your long-forgotten papers, find those syllabi!

It’s good practice to write down each and every deadline you receive at the beginning of the year, but now that we only have seven weeks left, getting those last assignment deadlines down is not only a good way to remind yourself about what you have coming up, but it also gives you a nice foreseeable timeline (with light at the end of the tunnel!).

Other ways to organize your dates and deadlines:

  •          Schedule it on your phone (with reminder notifications)
  •          Use Google Calendar
  •          Use sticky notes
  •          Make weekly to-do lists (and make sure to cross them off as you go! It’s sooo satisfying.)
  •          Use a whiteboard.
  •          Use your MIRROR (it’s hard to ignore things when they are literally staring you in the face…)

2. Prioritize

Okay, so now that you have all your to-do’s, dates, deadlines, and impending freak-outs (just kidding—you’ll do great), now it’s time to prioritize your tasks based on how much time they will require to do properly and how much time you actually have to finish them. Sounds like quite the process, but really it’s just about being realistic and disciplined with yourself.

  • First, identify which tasks are more “sit-down-til-you’re-done” types of assignments (i.e. math homework, quizzes, discussion prompts, etc.) and which are more like projects (group assignments, papers, presentations, etc.).
  • Second, consider all the outside factors that go into completing them:
    • are group members involved?
    • do you need to visit an instructors’s office hours?
    • will you need someone to look over your work?
  • Finally, consider all your personal factors:
    • do you know you work best in the morning? or in the evening?
    • how many editing days will you feel comfortable with?
  • And, moving on to Step #3….

3. Break down your time.

 Now, let’s get down to business. The key to an effective “master plan” is details, details, details. Now that you generally know when you need to be working on certain tasks, let’s break down each week, each day, and each hour. 

What’s that? You think that’s a little overboard? You bet your butt it is. And that is how we stay focused, team. Over-preparation. 

Thanks to Step #1 and #2, you now have your wonderful list of dates and deadlines, so let’s commit to a schedule!

  • First, map out a relative timeline for yourself. As you outline your “master plan,”  consider those external and personal factors that might affect your timing, determine which week and specific day(s) you plan to work on each individual assignment and how much time you foresee needing to complete them.
  • Second, write it down.
    • commit to periods of time that:
      • specify which tasks you are completing
      • when you will start and stop
      • how much you plan to have completed by the stop-time
    • Make it visual! There are many ways to organize your timeline, but here are just a few:

4.  Set Goals

Setting goals every step of the way not only automatically structures your time, it also keeps you from getting too overwhelmed!

For example, let’s say you have a paper, a bunch of little assignments, and an exam in the same week (ugh…you poor thing). Instead of cramming for the test, slapping together the essay, and frantically trying to complete the assignments all at the same time, setting specific time periods for each assignment has a built-in stress reliever (you get to stop once the time period is done, feel like you have accomplished what you set out to do, and move on to something else).

Tips:

  • make them specific
  • make them task and time based
  • completion shouldn’t be your only goal. Make sure your “progress checks” (i.e. finishing an outline, completing three math assignments, synthesizing data into a chart, etc.) are taken into account and celebrated, too!

5. Reward Thyself.

Don’t wait until you have finished an assignment completely to reward yourself! The beauty of your “master plan” is that you have little accomplishments sprinkled throughout each week. Obviously you shouldn’t go out for ice cream after you have picked out the theme for your PowerPoint slides. Let’s be judicious with our celebrations here. But keep in mind those mini “lights at the end of the tunnel” and use them to motivate you through these last couple of months.

 

So, yes. In the end it turns out organization and forethought are the keys to a focused semester. Not mind blowing, I know, but effective nonetheless. Take the time in between midterms and finals to get organized for this last push to the end. You will thank yourself later and yes….you get a reward at the end!

 

–Franny

 

Five Strategies, Five Weeks

11 Nov

Sit back. Breathe in. Breathe out. Let’s take a break from our busy, stress-filled lives and focus our energy on finishing this semester. With only five more weeks of school, where should your energy go? What’s your plan of action?

Let’s make a plan together for these next five weeks. We’ll go week by week, and I’ll give you some of my ideas as to what should be done. Think of me like your personal trainer. I’m Mickey and you are Rocky. Except, instead of a ring, it’s a classroom. I’ve had my fair share of rough semesters, but here are some ways I have been able to still come out on top!

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I may not know how to train you to go toe-to-toe with Clubber Lang, but if the goal is to be successful in your semester, then call me Apollo! I’m your guy!

1. What Do I Have? – First thing we need to do; let’s look through everything we have. Go through each one of your classes and pull out any exams, papers or homework you have gotten back. While you’re gathering any papers you may have, start to organize them. Put them in order and start taking note of any questions you have about your work. Is it all here? Did you miss any assignments? Were you unsure about the grading on some assignments? Take note and WRITE IT DOWN. This will help us for next week where we’ll get our questions answered at…

2. Office Hours! – Going in to office hours is much like going to see your doctor. You may notice something is wrong with your body. Maybe your knee has been getting really sore lately, or maybe your eyesight is getting a little blurry. But you are tough, you don’t need a doctor! Next thing you know you need a knee replacement and corrective eye surgery. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! Take the upper hand and be proactive if you notice something is not quite right. If you don’t understand a particular subject in a class, ignoring it won’t make it go away. This is why we took notes on all our assignments and organized them neatly last week. We have taken notice of what needs to be brought to our attention and now we can just go through the list with the Professor or TA in office hours. Maybe you should start making lists for the doctor’s office? Hypochondriac? Nahhh.

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3. The (still probably not very) calm before the storm! – What we need to do is plan out our final assignments and exams. Do you have a paper coming up? Now is the time to gather resources and start the initial process of getting that paper together (I recommend the Assignment Scheduler on the UA Libraries Web site). You may also have an exam coming up as well. Use this time to STUDY. You’ve already gone to office hours though, so you should know what needs to be studied.

4. What DON’T I know? — Alright, we know what’s coming up and we know what we need. I guess now we just need to know what we need to know! Let’s find the help we need! Who can help? (of course your professor can, but we’ve talked about them enough). Your fellow students! I thoroughly enjoy putting together study groups. It’s a great way to be productive in a positive, or at least collective, atmosphere and to make friends along the way! And smart friends at that! 😉 Now, if group environments aren’t your forte, individual tutoring is ALWAYS an option for ANYONE. The ThinkTank is a free resource to get individualized attention and help. With both drop-in hours and appointments available, the ThinkTank is sure to have what you need. Also, be sure to remember ALL the ThinkTank locations. You may be surprised by the number they have and where they are.

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No one is more willing to help than your friends!

5. Okay, Everyone. The time has come. Finals week. — What do we need to do? RELAX. Were you reading the rest of this blog? We just had a hell of a past couple weeks, and with all the work we put in, we deserve a break! We should still do some light studying on any subjects we may still not be 100% confident about, and complete any small assignments we still need to turn in. If you do your work like we’ve been talking about, you should be more than ready going in to finals week. So, go with your head held high. You’ve done a lot of work to get to this point. Be proud of it! And be ready to show them what you’re made of!

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YOU, after finishing your final!

Before I go, I want to leave you with ONE more piece of advice, rather, a request. No, a demand. I want you to take ONE day out of each week and devote it to yourself. DO THE BASICS. Eat, Exercise, do laundry! Clean your house, take out the trash, whatever you need to do to keep yourself happy and healthy, do it. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves these next couple weeks; it’s really easy to get lost in the madness of it all.

-Andy Gonzalez

Wish I Knew: Time Management

10 Jun

One of the things I struggled with the most when I came to college was definitely Time management.

During my freshmen year of college, I didn’t have many responsibilities outside of school. I didn’t work. I wasn’t in any clubs. I basically came to school for my classes, and then I went home. Let’s just say that that was the time in my life when I was the least productive. Having so much time on my hands, however, resulted in an “I’ll do it later” mentality. This led to…

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Going into my sophomore year, I knew that I had to change some tendencies that I had developed during my first year in college. First, I got a job that didn’t offer a lot of hours; this was okay because I didn’t want to dive into anything that I couldn’t handle. I also joined the Arizona Assurance Scholars Club and Cubs to Wildcats. I was definitely busier, but I still found myself with a substantial amount of free time on may hands.

This led me to believe that I could still handle so much more. During my junior year, my schedule looked something like this:

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My thoughts on this schedule:

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And my thoughts on the schedule were …As you can see, I had a lot of overlapping responsibilities, but, because I hadn’t taken on that much since high school, I thought I could do it. Halfway through the semester, however, my nights consisted of countless hours of homework plus take-home responsibilities from the clubs I was involved in. You may be asking yourself, “What about sleep, Veronica?” Well,

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I obviously had surpassed my limit, and I had to let go of some things that I really enjoyed doing. I took a step back in one of my clubs, and I had to give up my Research Assistant position.

Now, as I am preparing for my senior year, planning the perfect schedule is extremely important for me. I still have multiple responsibilities, but I have found that if it weren’t for all of these extra-curricular activities, I wouldn’t be doing so well in school. In regards to my schedule, I have also learned that it is important to consider how times for classes, clubs, and work may increase or shift during a semester, and I have to leave wiggle room for that.

I know a lot of people don’t like planning for things ahead of time, but it is honestly one of the most rewarding feelings when your schedule works for you. It’s also important to consider that these extra-curricular activities will help us become a more well rounded students which will make us stronger candidates for jobs in the future.

Not the Time Managing Type? Let Technology Do the Hard Work for You!

22 Jan

For some people, time management comes naturally. Others have to work at it, which makes big research projects seem daunting. If you’re used to sitting down to write a paper and just getting it done in one chunk of a few hours, breaking up a monstrous task like a research project can seem impossible.

Luckily, if you use the Assignment Scheduler on the library website, you don’t have to worry your pretty little brain about where you should be and by when. Plug in the day you want to start, the day your assignment is due, and the subject and the program tells you exactly when you should be doing what!Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 3.44.45 PM

More than that, this amazing online resource includes countless links to other resources that you can use while doing your work. Then, all you need to do is make sure you stay on top of your end of the bargain! Keep to the schedule, and what once seemed impossible now seems easy!