Regional College Access Center

Time management

One of the key skills that anyone can possess to become more efficient and productive is to use the limited time given to them wisely. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, and seven days in a week. In order to maximize productivity in a minimal amount of time, weíve compiled a number of tips:

Create blocks of time to study and take short breaks

Ideally, study blocks are usually set at 50 minutes, although some material may be more difficult to get through, so adjust that time as needed. Once you set your time-block, however, stick to it! It would be helpful to set your alarm, so that you arenít glancing at the clock or phone every few minutes. Keep breaks short, about ten minutes or under. Use your break time to have a snack, stretch, or catch up on replying to your emails and text messages.

Have a space dedicated to studying

Find a space that is free from distractions that helps you focus. If you have a study space in your home, make sure that itís well-stocked with pencils, pens, paper, and other study items so that you wonít have to hunt those items down every time you settle in to study. If your ideal study space is in a public area, like the school library, it might be helpful to stock all of the study items you need in a bag that you can easily bring with you.

ďChunkĒ out your tasks

This way, you can focus on doing one chunk of homework or task each time you sit down to be productive. This makes the activity less intimidating, and it would be less difficult for you to actually get started. Plus, every time you complete one chunk, you would have completed one small goal. Reward yourself with a well-deserved break.

Prioritize your assignments

You will be more productive, and end up finishing more, if you do the hard stuff with deadlines first! Often, if you focus on the easiest tasks first, you become too tired to tackle the tough material in an effective manner. Thus, it makes more sense to do the tough tasks while youíre feeling fresh and energized, and push through the small things when youíre a bit more tired.

Minimize distractions

It might be a good idea to mute your cell phone or sign out of your email/social media accounts during the time youíre studying. That way you donít have to turn your focus away from studies to check them. We all know how hard it is to turn it back on right after doing things weíd prefer to do!

Use a To-Do List and a Planner

Document your tasks with a daily To-Do List and a Planner. Besides helping you prioritize assignments and tasks by importance and deadlines, these activities of writing down things you need to do prevent you from forgetting to do them! Itís useful to keep a small To-Do List (donít put too many items on the listóit would feel too intimidating and you wonít feel as accomplished), a weekly planner (so you can see upcoming deadlines), and a long-term planner where you can list important project deadlines and exam dates.

Know your abilities and limits

Itís important to understand how long it usually takes you to do various activities, and how much time you can work before youíre too tired to complete tasks effectively. With this knowledge you can plan on which tasks to devote more or less time to. For example, one person may be a fast reader, and thus can devote less time to reading the same material than someone who reads slightly slower. That same person may find it more difficult to finish math problems, and thus spends more time on them. Knowing your abilities helps you to plan your daily tasks accordingly. Itís important to know how long each task usually takes you, and to plan and allow enough time to do them.

Eat healthy and exercise

Donít forget your health while getting things done! Eat healthy (limit your intake of cheeseburgers and pizzas, eat veggies and fruits), and exercise (it helps a lot with stress, and increases productivity)!

Meet that deadline!

Tight deadlines can be very stressful. If you've been working on a project or studying for a test, you must be motivated and organized to complete your goal. Click on this link for an infographic from for tips and study ideas that will help you with your toughest deadline.