Kierstan Taylor is a Human Services and Legal Studies Major at Ivy Tech Community College.
Whether taking classes on campus, online or hybrid, study habits and time management skills can make or break student success. Many college students are trying to balance chaotic schedules that involve classes, social and extracurricular activities, work and family. Since COVID I’ve had to change many habits. Once I learned these study tips and time management strategies, clarity and connection began to sink in. Feel free to share my personal time management and college studying strategies with your students to help them get organized and prioritize their time.
While it may be one of the most basic time management tools, using a planner will help your students set up, implement, and carry out tasks. Filling out a planner may seem like a daunting task to them initially, but it will help them complete tasks on time despite their hectic schedules and daily distractions.
Writing down all exams, projects, assignment due dates and other fixed commitments in one planner gives a student a great visual depiction of which days or weeks will require more study time. It can also help to color code the planner with highlighters. Your students should make sure to block out some free time when they can. On heavy days it’s important to block out short rest periods in between assignments to help keep focus and prevent the desire to procrastinate.
Study Space and Time
For me to manage my time effectively, I need to be clear and realistic about my preferences and habits. I tend to study best at night, so I try not to schedule all my work to be done during the day. Tasks that need the most concentration for me, I assign in the evening. I schedule myself “busy work” and easier tasks for mornings when my mind isn’t quite as sharp. Having this clear sense of what activities or distractions I tend to gravitate towards when I’m not in the mood to work helped me develop my time management skills.
Learning to manage time effectively takes practice. When one method doesn’t work, we keep trying. I learned over time how to keep myself motivated and productive. Here are a few tips that may help your students in this journey.
Create the Plan
- Get organized and decide what needs to be accomplished
- Create a “master to-do list”
- Separate that list into long-term and short-term goal lists
- Prioritize list items
- Decide on a course of action
Act on the Plan
- Create contingencies and determine how to stay motivated
- Guard planned time
- WORK THE PLAN, PRACTICE AND BE INTENTIONAL
Getting started is the hardest part, but students have to start somewhere. When they don’t know where that start is, they should start with a pen and paper. The plan will come. Overcoming the tendency to be complacent and procrastinate can simply be a mind game. Encourage them to try these techniques or invent their own.
Want more college study tips you can share with your students? Check out our list of the top ten data-proven study tips for college students.