Time management is one of the most important skills students can learn to be successful, according to Carolyn Esky, professor of human development.
“Time management is pivotal to success,” Esky said. “When you add more things like school, you have to either give up something, or learn to utilize time more effectively.”
An important part of time management is scheduling, according to Esky.
“For students, I suggest mapping out a whole plan for the entire term, then also a weekly schedule,” Esky said. “Schedule your plan at the beginning of the week.”
To be effective, schedules have to be specific and include everything you spend your time on, Esky explained.
“The more specific someone is in their scheduling,” Esky said, “the better chance they will have at effectively using their time.”
Sara Henson, program coordinator of human development, agrees that scheduling is an important part of time management.
Students should allow extra time for every task, according to Henson.
“There is often a planning fallacy, where students underestimate the amount of time something takes,” Henson said. “When planning, plan on everything taking longer because it is always easy to find ways to use up that free time if you have any left.”
Students may try to resort to to-do lists which can be helpful, according to Esky, but only if they use them in the right way.
“I’ve heard from my students that [to-do lists] are often overwhelming,” Esky said. “They can be helpful, but in reality it depends on what is doable for that specific person.”
Time management is driven by motivation and can be a learned skill, Henson explained. For students who are entering their final term at COCC, it can often be easy to lose motivation because they have almost met their goal.
“What drives time management and the desire to manage time is motivation,” Henson said. “[I see] some students losing motivation because they can see themselves finishing, and often trade what is fun now for what is more important longer term, creating time management problems.”
To avoid losing motivation in their final terms at COCC, Henson explained, students should focus on the “bigger picture” and rewards along the way.
“[The] biggest key to motivation is to focus on what’s the value,” Henson said. “Economically you’ll have a great career, but there are also the intrinsic rewards you get from achieving a goal such as making your family proud, being proud of yourself.”
Having clear deadlines is also important in managing your time, explained Henson.
“Set deadlines for yourself, even if the instructor isn’t setting them,” Henson said. “Set internal deadlines and clear goals that are spaced far enough apart.”
Time management is really about intention and attention, according to Henson
“Intention to allocate a limited resource: your time,” Henson said, “and also attention to go into depth in time planning.”