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Skidmore College
Counseling Center

Time Management

Learning how to successfully manage your time is essential to being productive on a daily basis. Time management is a learned skill and it takes time and practice to really master it.  Here are some tips that may help.

  • Make a "To do" list - Write down everything that you have to do, sometimes just having it out of your head and down on paper can minimize your stress. Then prioritize, decide what you have to do now, what can wait until later, and what you can hand off to another person.
  • Buy a Planner and use it - Write down you appointments, classes, meetings and assignments. Then you can check to see what is ahead for the day/week/month so that you can be prepared. This will also prevent you from over booking your time.
  • Develop blocks of study time - Determine how long you can personally focus (30 minutes, 50 minutes?) and make sure you plan in the breaks that you need. Planned breaks can allow you to be more productive with your time. Remember that more difficult material may also require more frequent breaks.
  • Do the hardest stuff first - If you start with the task that will be the hardest you will not be trying to tackle it when you are already tired from doing all your other work. When you are done you will feel better and be able to do the rest of your assignments with ease.
  • Learn where you can study the best - find the place that has the fewest distractions for you so that you can maximize your concentration.
  • Use spare minutes wisely - hit mute and study during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show or bring a book to lunch when you know you will be eating alone.
  • Remember that it is okay to say "No" - If your boss asks you to pick up some extra hours and you have a large paper to write, realize that it is ok to say no.
  • Sleep - If you are not getting enough sleep all the tasks that you need to do will seem more difficult. Make time to sleep and you will be able to be more productive in your waking hours. 
  • Keep things in perspective - Setting goals that are not realistic will only make you feel bad and limit your productivity in the long run. Remember that you cannot do everything and that if something slips it is not the end of the world.

Use these tips if they help you, but you need to set priorities that fit your lifestyle so that you can achieve your goals.