When they head off to college, many students imagine an idyllic experience that consists of a heady mix of classes, learning, new friends, and social experiences that would have been impossible in their old life.
But it doesn’t always turn out that way. Faced with freedom and the absence of an orderly family routine, many experiences a form of chaos that feels both unnatural and hard to control, mostly due to their relative lack of time management skills.
It’s not always an easy situation to remedy, but it can be done. What follows is a rundown of some of the top time-management tips for college students by Omnipapers, along with some advice on how to implement them and the issues that may come up in the process.
Develop a Consistent Routine
This tip sounds incredibly basic, but it’s amazing how many college students never consider it, much less manage to pull it off.
The fundamentals are simple. The class schedule constitutes your foundation. Showing up is mandatory, along with taking notes, knowing the test schedule, and formulating a study plan.
That study plan constitutes the second level. Despite the fact that social opportunities abound, academics are the reason most people go to college, so taking care of attendance and grades are the first order of business when it comes to time management.
Social activities are the final layer, and this is where things get tricky. Family life often dictates social life before college, and for many students, it feels like the rug has been pulled out from beneath them when it’s gone.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. The simplest way to handle this part of the adjustment is to make a list of what you enjoyed most as a high school student—sports, parties, outdoor activities, whatever—and match it up to whatever’s available at the college level.
That will help you settle on a routine, but don’t forget to include some new experiences as you figure out your time management. College should also be about new experiences, so pick and choose carefully from the opportunities that are available.
Use Your Tech Wisely
The combination of academics and social activities can be overwhelming for some students, and it’s easy to just rely on smartphones to fill in the gaps. They provide a familiar fallback, but many college students over-rely on the use of tech to the point where they neglect their academics and struggle to develop social skills.
There are plenty of apps to help provide a structure to handle this, but use them wisely. Always remember that they’re tools; the object isn’t to meet the criteria of whatever apps you use, it’s for you to successfully create a time management system that allows you to succeed.
Deal with Distractions
The college experience can be overwhelming, and it comes with plenty of distractions. Parties, new activities, new people—the combination creates a juggling act that takes time to master, so keep that in mind.
As you do, remember that the college experience is constantly changing, and you need to keep your time management skills sharp to stay on top of those changes. What works during your first semester won’t necessarily work in your second, and the possible distractions will change from year to year.
To deal with this, go back to your fundamentals. Once you have some success with time management and setting up an effective schedule, go back and analyze what worked for you and what didn’t. Take what worked and carry it forward, and remember the lessons you learned from what didn’t work.
Get Help When Necessary
Sometimes even the best time management techniques fail, and this is especially true when life throws more at us than we can handle. The pandemic is a perfect example of this, but there are other ones as well—family emergencies, sudden illnesses, financial crises, and so on.
When these things happen, don’t hesitate—to get help. For some students, this will mean accessing college resources like advisors, trusted professors, and others who can help them understand and deal with their situation.
For some students, however, dealing with these kinds of things may be intensely personal, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Whether you turn to trusted friends, family members, or organizations, it’s essential to take the first step if you need help with your situation and you have to revamp your time management strategies.