Establishing good time management skills in college is perhaps one of the hardest things to do. Not many students want to micromanage their lives down to the last minute, and it really is impossible to do. Even when students do map out their days, they eventually fail to follow them. It is inevitable that at one point in time, a student’s time management skills will suck. Ask any college student and they will tell you that at some point they fell off the time management wagon, and some may even admit that they never got back on.
The main reason students fail at time management is because of all the distractions they face daily. The most common perpetrators are at their fingertips 24/7, and these distractions can be hard to ignore. Even the best intentions to get things done ahead of time can go awry by a single text message or when an interesting TV show draws your focus. However, if students can acknowledge what distracts them and find ways to avoid those distractions, it can help them immensely.
The first and perhaps the most deadly culprit is Netflix. Netflix has been destroying college students’ GPAs pretty much since it was created. Netflix is like a black hole, and once a person gets sucked in, they can never get out. Students should never start a new TV series at any point of a semester, especially in the middle of one, if they want to pass their classes. One episode leads to another and suddenly it’s five a.m. and you have a paper due in five hours. Who really wants to go to the gym or study for a test when they can watch all seven seasons of True Blood? It may be an extreme measure, but if Netflix is a serious problem for a student, they may want to cancel their subscription until winter break. At the very least, have someone change their account password until study time is over.
The smartphone cycle
The next big time management killer is the smartphone. Everyone has one, and they distract us constantly throughout the day. Texts, calls, apps, games, social media, and websites are all available by simply unlocking our phones. The simple sound of a student’s text tone going off can lead to an endless outpour of distractions. Facebook, Twitter, BuzzFeed, Youtube, Vine, Tumbler, Pinterest and Instagram are just some of the biggest offenders. One distraction leads to another and the cycle continue.
When students need to get some serious study time in, it might help to turn their phone off to block calls and texts, and stop them from using the Internet. Of course students can always just turn it back on, so for more drastic measures they could give their phone to a friend and have them lock the phone with a combination that only they know. However, be sure to choose this friend wisely; they could refuse to give you the combination after study time is over. This tactic can also be used with students’ computers as well, by turning off their Wi-Fi connection. The issue with this is preventing a potentially needed study resource.
Of course, friends and significant others can complicate the time management struggle as well. Who would want to write an eight-page paper when they could be out with friends or snuggled up next to their partner for the evening? Balancing a social life and good grades while in college is hard. But students don’t have to miss out on all the fun or a date if they want to get a good grade if they manage their time well. If students allow themselves enough time to get their stuff done before they go out and avoid other distractions, they can have a fun evening out while keeping up with their workload.
Time management isn’t impossible to achieve. Students know what their biggest distractions are and if they take the time to avoid giving into them they can have an easier load. A great way for students to manage their time is to make it into a weekly routine. Figure out what assignments are due in the upcoming week, and what the workweek looks like, and plan accordingly. Get things done on time, with time to spare, and enjoy a fun evening without stressing over what still needs to be done.
If students can create good time management skills, and keep them, they should have no problem succeeding in college and in their adult lives.