Time Management Strategies Essential to Work/Study Balance

Developing time management skills, like any other worthwhile endeavor, requires planning and then lots of practice. But the benefits of mastering your own schedule can be felt in all areas of your life; personal and professional.
The overall point of focusing on time management is to become more aware of how you use your time and break your days up between work, study, family, social activities and sleep.clock
Follow me past the jump for some ideas on how to begin the process and practice of better time management.


The strategy for deriving better time management skills is courtesy of  Study Guides and Strategies’ Joe Landsberger.
First:  try this exercise in time management:  How do you spend your time each day?
Strategies on using time:
These applications of time management have proven to be effective as good study habits.  As we go through each strategy,  jot down an idea of what each will look like for you:

Blocks of study time and breaks
As your school term begins and your course schedule is set, develop and plan for, blocks of study time in a typical week.  Blocks ideally are around 50 minutes, but perhaps you become restless after only 30 minutes? Some difficult material may require more frequent breaks. Shorten your study blocks if necessary—but don’t forget to return to the task at hand!  What you do during your break should give you an opportunity to have a snack, relax, or otherwise refresh or re-energize yourself. For example, place blocks of time when you are most productive:  are you a morning person or a night owl?
Jot down one best time block you can study.  How long is it?  What makes for a good break for you?  Can you control the activity and return to your studies?

Dedicated study spaces
Determine a place free from distraction (no cell phone or text messaging!) where you can maximize your concentration and be free of the distractions that friends or hobbies can bring!  You should also have a back-up space that you can escape to, like the library,  departmental study center, even a coffee shop where you can be anonymous.  A change of venue may also bring extra resources.  What is the best study space you can think of?  What is another?

Weekly reviews
Weekly reviews and updates are also an important strategy.  Each week, like a Sunday night, review your assignments, your notes, your calendar. Be mindful that as deadlines and exams approach, your weekly routine must adapt to them!  What is the best time in a week you can review?

Prioritize your assignments
When studying, get in the habit of beginning with the most difficult subject or task.  You’ll be fresh, and have more energy to take them on when you are at your best.  For more difficult courses of study, try to be flexible:  for example, build in “reaction time” when you can get feedback on assignments before they are due.   What subject has always caused you problems?

Achieve “stage one”–get something done!
The Chinese adage of the longest journey starting with a single step has a couple of meanings:  First, you launch the project!  Second, by starting, you may realize that there are some things you have not planned for in your process. Details of an assignment are not always evident until you begin the assignment.  Another adage is that “perfection is the enemy of good”, especially when it prevents you from starting! Given that you build in review, roughly draft your idea and get  going!  You will have time to edit and develop later.  What is a first step you can identify for an assignment to get yourself started?

Postpone unnecessary activities until the work is done!
Postpone tasks or routines that can be put off until your school work is finished!  This can be the most difficult challenge of time management.  As learners we always meet unexpected opportunities that look appealing, then result in poor performance on a test, on a paper, or in preparation for a task. Distracting activities will be more enjoyable later without the pressure of the test, assignment, etc. hanging over your head.  Think in terms of pride of accomplishment. Instead of saying “no” learn to say “later”. What is one distraction that causes you to stop studying?

Identify resources to help you
Are there tutors?  An “expert friend”? Have you tried a keyword search on the Internet to get better explanations?  Are there specialists in the library that can point you to resources?  What about professionals and professional organizations.  Using outside resources can save you time and energy, and solve problems. Write down three examples for that difficult subject above?
Be as specific as possible.

Use your free time wisely
Think of times when you can study “bits” as when walking, riding the bus, etc.  Perhaps you’ve got music to listen to for your course in music appreciation, or drills in language learning?  If you are walking or biking to school, when best to listen? Perhaps you are in a line waiting?  Perfect for routine tasks like flash cards, or if you can concentrate, to read or review a chapter.  The bottom line is to put your time to good use. What is one example of applying free time to your studies?

Review notes and readings just before class
This may prompt a question or two about something you don’t quite understand, to ask about in class, or after.  It also demonstrates to your  teacher that you are interested and have prepared.
How would you make time to review? Is there free time you can use?

Review lecture notes just after class
Then review lecture material immediately after class.
The first 24 hours are critical.  Forgetting is greatest within 24 hours without review! How would you do this?
Is there free time you can use?

Review your ten applications above.
Select one, and develop a new study habit.
Try something you have a good chance of following through and accomplishing.  Nothing succeeds like a first successful try!

21 Responses to “Time Management Strategies Essential to Work/Study Balance”

  1. Any successful Time management training program begins with setting up a workable timetable that you and your employees can work with. It comes in a very comprehensive package that allows both manager and employee to meet halfway.

    Any company that undergoes training will have the capacity to teach employees how to manage time. This means that unnecessary distractions can be avoided. These efforts extend far beyond ensuring a thriving business but also considers one of the most important aspect in any venture, and that is your health.

  2. Jacqueline Lopez

    This is a great article, as I began my journey with Allen School Online, I definately had to learn time management strategies and how to effectively create a schedule that will implement all my daily tasks plus my new online life.

    Allen School has taught me to timeline my hours to the minutes on my priorities and school life as online schooling is a self taught practice that requires dedication.

    This blog definately pinpoints all areas needed to help answer all the
    questions you need to answer in order to achieve success.

  3. Subrina Chowtie

    I have my own special way of managing my time which works well for me. I save reminders in my cell phone which sets off the alarm at a certain time ti remind me what i should be doing at that exact moment.
    For examples:
    6am-2pm I should be at work at 6am and out of work by 2pm.
    2pm-3pm I should be walking home from work, by 3pm i should be home.

    3pm-4pm this when i take an hour for myself to relax.
    4pm-11pm this would be my time to catch up on my studies.

    On my days off from work, i would have a different schedule planned.

    It’s a great idea to set up your own schedule, plan ahead of time, that way you won’t be stressed out as much and you will have your time, studies, work and personal life under control.

  4. Billie Mitchell

    I am old school. I use a calendar and pad of paper to help with my planning.
    At home we keep a large calendar with birthdays and appointments for everyone on.
    I also make list of what I need to accomplish for the day, and then list by importance. Do not usually get everything accomplished.

  5. Karen Coy-Clay

    The article on time management is very informative. When I do not follow my study plan, I end up wasting an entire day. The strategy of studying in blocks is a great way to ensure that study time is quality time; our bodies are not stresed from long hours of absent-mindedly sitting in one position, and our minds are able to retain more information. When I find myself reading the same sentence over and over again or losing my focus very often, I realize that my body is telling me that it is time to take a break. Studying in blocks is also a great way to recharge in-between study time.

  6. Personal time management skills are essential skills for effective people. People who use these techniques routinely are the highest achievers in all walks of life, from business to sport to public service. If you use these skills well, then you will be able to function exceptionally well, even under intense pressure. What’s more, as you master these skills, you’ll find that you take control of your workload, and say goodbye to the often intense stress of work overload. At the heart of time management is an important shift in focus.

    Finding out how you really spend your time and identify each.

    -How long do you spend each day on unimportant thing? Things that don’t really contribute to your success at work or to your studies. Do you know how much time you’ve spent reading e-mail, talking to colleagues, eating and other personal things? With this it is very important to monitor our time. Write down what time you started your day and your daily activities in every hour and evaluate your time to each activity.

    Decide your personal priorities

    -Goal setting is a powerful process of thinking about ideal future and motivating yourself to turn this vision of the future into reality. If you set your goal it helps you to choose where you want to go in life. Yes, you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your effort and time to put into action to achieve your goal.

    Effective scheduling- you have looked at your priorities and your goals these define what you aspire to do with your time. Proper scheduling is where these aspirations meet reality.

    Time management is very important to balance your studies and workload. I am a full time caregiver. I started my day at 5:30 am to prepare myself. My shift started at 6:30 am to 8:00 pm or sometimes I work 24 hours. Whenever I have the chance and have free time I open and read my book, get online and make sure that at the end of the day I accomplish something. Small little things could be bigger and help me a lot in order to achieve my goals in life. I work with so much stress and pressure because the facility that I work with handle special case of patient like with dementia, combative, agitated and had Alzheimer’s. I almost giving up but with the determination and time management I was able to succeed. We have to determine what we want in life! Do you want to achieve your goal? Then you have to do something! Persevere and you will be rewarded!

  7. These are all great methods of time management… Another great technique is taught by success coach Brian Tracy in his book titled, “Eat That Frog” In this book his explains that you should start with the biggest task each day that will bring you the greatest benefit. We tend to avoid getting started on these projects. But it is similar to if we would start the day by eating a frog, then we know that we wouldn’t have to do anthing worse for the rest of that day… And we become more productive and get the most important projects completed, not the smaller but urgent items that someone else can do…

  8. When I was a student I scheduled all my homework time ahead of time, so that I knew when I’d be working on which subject. This particularly worked when I discovered that I couldn’t pull all-nighters — they wiped me out for two days!

    Scheduling at this level takes some practice, and unfortunately the tools that we have to work with aren’t that good and are in need of major improvement (e.g. Outlook). I discuss some of these improvements over at my blog, and also have put together a hierarchical list of scheduling skills that might be useful.

  9. All of this is good in theory but it’s about breaking habbits. Time management is habbitual. If you are not prepared to note everything down and keep everything in your head, then you’ll fail.

  10. Entering college is usually an exciting time of life for most individuals. You get to make new friends and enjoy the freedom and fun associated with the college way of life. It is important, however, to keep a balanced perspective on all areas associated with college life. It is easy to get caught up in the party lifestyle and to loose perspective on what is important; your studies.

  11. Time management is a huge issue in any workplace. How does an employer keep his/her employees occupied to get the most out of the employee as an investment. As a manager myself, the manager and employee must meet halfway so they feel like they have enough time to recover from a daily strenuous work schedule.

  12. Great article with some very useful information.

    At the end of everyday I establish my To Do list for the following day, so when I come in and sit at my desk there right in front of me is my To Do list ready for me to start work on. I don’t waste time organising what I am doing for that day.

    This truly is a good habit to get into and one that really finishes my day off knowing what I have to do the next day.

    Regards
    Damien Clarke

  13. During my time, there were fewer distractions, but now it’s totally different. Kids now are expose to tons and tons of “entertainment” themes, games and recreation, and tend to get their attention and place them to an addiction level. Thus results in poor time management because they are so hooked into it that they lost track of time. Parents should take part in controlling their access to such distractions and direct them to a more productive live.

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