By now college kids are back at school, settled in, and feeling the pressure of a hectic schedule. It can all be overwhelming. The advice I give to my kids (one a college grad, one in college, and one just entering high school) is based on the same techniques I use in my law practice every day to get things done. I am sure these time management techniques can be useful for any student. By the way, this is not my exhaustive list, but it is a good starting point for time management. Also, I pride myself on being very efficient.
I welcome any college student who reads this to have a free one hour workshop with me to see what I get done during the day, how I get it done, and how I plan for the next day, week, month and year. Just call my office and we’ll arrange it.
Planning is essential — but make sure you plan effectively. Read your class syllabus carefully and make note of all important due dates and in-class assignments. Buy a whiteboard, day planner, or anything within which you can clearly outline your obligations for a given day or week. It’s satisfying to cross off tasks from your to-do list. But it’s also crucial to do the most important things first. In my practice, I may not want to prepare a brief on a particular matter, but it may be the most effective way to move my client’s case forward, so it becomes a priority.
Ignore Your Gadgets
If you’re constantly stopping to write a text message, send an email, or check Facebook, then you are severely prolonging the task-at-hand. Make a promise to yourself that you will set the phone aside, if only for a short time, so that you can focus on your work.
Develop an Effective Study Routine
Designate time every day to studying or working on an important paper — and find a location to do this work. It may or may not be the library or coffee shop. If those locales are social centers at school, find another place to do your work. Coming up with a daily routine helps to make studying less arduous. Make it a habit. Also, think about completing tasks in pieces. If you have a huge project coming up, do a little bit every day, so the task becomes less daunting.
Allow for Downtime
You need time to decompress in order to be effective. I am a big fan of the book “Be Excellent At Anything: The Four Keys To Transforming The Way We Work And Live” by Tony Schwartz. Buy it and read it on your next break from school. He espouses plenty of downtime in the midst of hard work to maximize your effectiveness. There are plenty of other pointers in the book that I guarantee will make you more efficient student.