6 Tips to Improve Your Time Management Skills

By Philip J Reed - May 19th, 2016

B.S. in Communication student Rebecca Freimuth-Rivera shares her advice on how to manage your time effectively as a busy online student!

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Time. Doesn’t it seem that the older we get, the faster time seems to move? Although we are unable to stop time, we are able to manage it.

As adult learners we are balancing many priorities and are trying to cram so many things into our daily lives. If we can manage our time effectively it is definitely possible to make time for everything that matters- even time for fun and much-needed sleep!

Tip # 1: Not now, it can wait (unless its school-related!)
Learn these two simple words and apply them to your life. I cannot take credit for these magical words; rather, a big shout out to Professor Rebecca Daniels, my first professor at CSU-Global!

If you notice that the kitchen floor seriously needs to be mopped, but you have an assignment due for your English class, say to yourself, “Not now.” Try tacking on three additional words: “It can wait.” The world will not end if the floor remains dirty for another day—or two. The sky will not fall if the clean laundry stays in the basket for a few more hours. Planets will not collide if the dishes sit in the sink until tomorrow.

Tip #2: STOP PROCRASTINATING
I am the Queen, King, President, and Prime Minister of Procrastination-dom. It is quite horrible at times. That Sunday deadline seems miles in the distance when you look at the calendar thinking, “It’s only Monday! I have plenty of time!”

Listen to me, darling readers. Sunday is not miles away. This line of thinking provides a comforting illusion, but before you know it, the calendar reads ‘Friday’, and you have not started to locate sources for that 8-10-page paper due in two days. You may feel like an over-achieving nerd or a slave to academia, but you need to begin that 8-10 page-paper as soon as you read the assignment!

It is helpful to set daily mini-goals for yourself. For example, on Monday you read the assignment and write down your topic. Tuesday, locate your sources. Happy Hump Day! Now write your outline. Thursday arrives and I command yee to compose your first draft! Friday and Saturday, revise. Guess what? Sunday has arrived and you are DONE! Congratulations!

Tip #3: Create a schedule and stick to it
It may seem obvious, but making a schedule has helped me tremendously. Let’s face it. All of us are busy.  I juggle the care of my elderly parents, the management of a large household, the care of three cats and three dogs, cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc. At times it is difficult to get out of the house for some fun, let alone find time for my school!

The schedule I have created, however, allows me to accomplish most (if not all) tasks that I need to complete. Writing things down helps us put things into perspective, and is one more way to hold ourselves accountable for things that need to get done. I will admit feeling  weird drafting and adhering to such a schedule, but it maintains the little sanity I have left, so it is completely worth it.

Tip #4: Prioritize
Again, prioritize! Discussion Forum posts are due each Thursday, making them the first assignment due each week. However, the Interactive Lecture should come first, because the readings will aid in your Discussion Forum post/responses to colleagues.

Monday morning also means conjuring up the topic for your weekly Critical Thinking assignment. You see? Prioritizing assists with the time-management skill of creating a personal schedule in Tip #3!

Tip #5: Don’t.Panic.
Don’t panic if you feel that time has scurried away from you! Take a deep breath, look at the mission you are facing, and consider these tips to help you in this situation and to help you plan better for future assignments. Everything will get done even if it takes a little extra time.  Be sure to use Tip #4 to decide what is most important, and then execute from there.

Tip #6: Treat Yourself!
It is important to celebrate things, however small, when they get accomplished. Go out with your spouse or a friend to celebrate another week of assignments completed. Enjoy that TV show on Thursday night. Take your daily walks or runs. Take a bubble bath. You deserve it!

Professor Daniels once told me, “This will not last forever, so keep going and get it done!” She meant that college is difficult, but these crazy times are not permanent. Keep your eye on the prize, whether it is finishing your degree, gaining that promotion at work, or beginning a new career. You can do this!

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