How to effectively manage your time

As a Cronkite School student, you will have a lot of things demanding your time. Learning how to juggle your time can be a challenge. Here are tips and strategies from time management expert Natalie McIntyre, a Career and Industry Specialist for the Career and Professional Development Services at ASU.

What is time management?

Time management is the ability to structure your time in a way that allows you to effectively accomplish your goals. You want to manage your time effectively so that the right time is allocated to the right activity. Ask yourself:

  • What is most important to you?

  • What is a priority going into college?

  • How can I set myself up for success to meet your goals?

Try it out: Write out a list of goals at the start of each semester, then rank them in order of most important to least. This will help you determine what your priorities are. Then, consider how much time each goal will take you to reach. Now you can start organizing your time to meet your goals.

Understanding time management is highly personal. What works for you may not work for others. Be open and flexible to trying out new tactics and strategies. Don't get discouraged if something isn't working quite right. Take some time to reflect and adjust.

Strategies that could work for you:

Get organized

  • Use checklists to keep your goals front of mind.

  • Write everything down in a planner or notebook.

  • Consider using technology, like calendars or task apps.

  • Class tip: Go through your syllabi at the beginning of the semester and write down all important due dates in a planner or calendar.

Create a routine

  • What time of the day do you work best? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Consider aligning your priority tasks with the times of day that you work best to help make the most of your time.

  • Where do you work best? Your environment can play a big role in your productivity and energy levels. Class tip: Find a study spot that is quiet, with not a lot of foot traffic to help you avoid distractions.

  • Develop a healthy and balanced lifestyle: Get good rest, eat nutritious meals and cut back on things that fall lower on your priority list when you're feeling run down.

Being strategic outside of the classroom

  • Use your down time wisely. Consider using time between classes as potential homework time or time to answer emails that way it doesn't feel like all of your work has piled up at the end of the day because you've been doing it in small increments.

  • Get involved, but be strategic. Be careful not to take on too much on your plate! What organizations are going to help you accomplish your academic and career goals? How much of a time commitment can you take on? Does this align with the needs of the club or activity?

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. College can be overwhelming. If you are in need of assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to ASU's Career Services team, Wellness@ASU or ASU's Counseling Services.

To learn more, stream the full interview with Natalie McIntyre here. This workshop was originally recorded during the Summer 2020 Launch Time series hosted by the Cronkite School.

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