Time Management Tips and Tricks

By Chelsey Burnside

Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

It’s the catch-22 of the modern-day student — you have to work to pay tuition, but the free time you have to work is next to nonexistent. And if you spend too much time waiting tables and not enough on your homework, you put future job prospects at risk. Don’t even mention eating properly and getting eight hours of sleep a night.

So, how are you supposed to balance it all? Squeezing in-class courses, online courses, internships and part-time jobs into one schedule is no cakewalk, but it can be mastered — with time to spare for a social life and the occasional Netflix binge.

For the procrastinator:

Take it from the queen of leaving things until the last minute: You’re probably not going to grow out of your procrastinating habit anytime soon (and your future employer may just end up praising your cool under tight deadlines). But if your calendar is jam-packed, procrastination can be seriously detrimental to your GPA, not to mention your mental health. Start by investing in an agenda. Lists are critical for the chronic procrastinator, and something as simple as checking things off a to-do list can help break daunting tasks into bite-sized pieces.

For the overly employed:

So you’ve held onto your part-time serving job, took on a TA position and are doing some peer tutoring on the side to pad your resume (and your wallet). All this on top of making the grade can be a daunting test in time management. If this sounds familiar, now is the time to start prioritizing. Number your commitments from essentials to extras and, if necessary, do some clutter-cutting from the bottom of the list. It’ll free up some time in your schedule and some space in your mind to help you excel at those things most important to you.

For the Yes-Man (or Woman):

We’ve all been there — the social calendar starts to spread through the scholastic calendar and you’re finding it harder to decline the invitations. Whether it’s friends, extra-curriculars or other activities that you’re finding difficult to turn down, there comes a time when everyone just has to say no. Take some time every Sunday to determine how many nights out you can afford to take that week, and stick to it.

For the constantly distracted:

Giving into tempting diversions can be the hardest part of online courses. Check in with yourself — are you the kind of person who can listen to a playlist while essay-writing without the quality of your work suffering? Do you have the hardest time focusing on an empty stomach? Figure out what puts you in a work mood and do it. Remember, sometimes the things that make homework more tolerable are the same things slowing the process down. If you think you can give an online lecture your full attention with Friends reruns playing in the background, chances are you’re fooling yourself.

For the all-nighter puller:

It’s a rare university student who hasn’t had to work through the night once or twice. In fact, some of us actually work better during the wee hours. But we don’t have to tell you that too many all-night cram sessions can take their toll and even be dangerous. That woozy adrenaline rush you get at 3 a.m.? Sleep deprivation can actually cause temporary euphoria (and no, that’s not a good thing). It’s also correlated to memory loss and lower grades. In the weeks leading up to a period chock-full of deadlines, try blocking out two hours a night to get a head start on assignments. Get the bulkier work, like research and readings, out of the way before crunch time. Lastly, tackle the most daunting assignments first and save the simpler ones for the days closer to the due date. Easier said than done, but your grades, health and overall wellbeing will thank you in the long run.