Time management is possible with the right tools, routine, self-discipline

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives as college students, the question of time management always seems to come up. The main question is whether or not it’s possible. We make decisions on the fly as they relate to time management. Do I go to bed early to wake up early to finish the assignment, or power through it now? Do I have time to stop at Rags for lunch or should I get a muffin from Jo’s? While we usually make decisions in the moment, with proper planning, anyone can be good at time management. 

As high school students, we always seemed to be able to manage our time. We went to school from eight to three, did extracurriculars, went home to do homework and relied on four hours of sleep to get up the next day to do it all again. While some might not say this is good time management, we were able to go to class, have a social life and get some much-needed rest.  

As college students, it’s hard to transition. While we are still on a repeated weekly schedule, we plan our lives around our classes. The first part of good time management is knowing the type of person you are.

I prefer not to have morning classes so I can lounge around in the morning. The CDC even says that schools start too early, leading to poor performance. I work better in the afternoons and at night so I prefer to have later classes and stay up to finish assignments. Knowing this affects the way I pick my classes and set my schedule to have the most productive day possible. 

There are plenty of ways to plan your days. I prefer to plot my day on Google Calendar. It allows me to check on my calendar every day from my phone or computer and make adjustments on the spot.  There is no need to remember to write something down every week because I can set it to reoccurring. I also find that it’s one less thing to remember to carry. Also, if professors keep Canvas up to date, you can add your assignment calendar to your Google Calendar to stay up to date on when everything is due. 

There is no need to physically remember events or assignments because you can set your notifications to alert you. It also allows for the best visualization of your week. You can see your week and find the gaps to do homework, hang with friends, workout or have some me time. 

For those who prefer pen and paper, there is always getting a planner from the bookstore or online. They provide a much-needed way to not only plan your week, but journal and self-reflect.

In a time where stress is at an all-time high and hectic schedules dominate our lives, it may seem like we can never manage our time well. If we just sit down and find what type of schedule we like and which way to keep track of it, we can achieve what we thought to be impossible. Like everything else on Earth, time management takes effort. Next time you have a break in your busy schedule, use it to reflect on what will make you better at time management. 

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Time management is an outdated concept that marginalizes students

Professors and employers expect today’s students to know how to manage their time wisely in an effort to produce quality work. Time management tops the list of buzzwords that are often targeted towards today’s students. For example, students in certain professions are expected to work well under pressure, make time outside of office hours to work remotely and manage their time in an efficient way that is beneficial to the employer. Not only is the rhetoric that surrounds time management damaging to a generations worth of young adults, but for some the act is unattainable.  

I’ve always felt that when speaking in terms of higher education, not enough attention is directed towards the outside factors that contribute to a student’s inability to successfully manage their time. To loosely quote Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist who was made famous in the 1940’s, if a person’s basic needs aren’t being met then they can’t be expected to produce quality work. 

When we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs through an education standpoint we find that there are some things that are out of a student’s control. 

For example, an elementary school teacher probably shouldn’t be too upset at a fourth grader if they didn’t complete their homework, because what if that fourth grader doesn’t have access to paper and a pencil at home? What if the lights at the fourth grader’s house don’t stay on? What if the fourth grader’s only worry is where their next meal is coming from? 

Similarly, when we talk about college students I think the central idea from this train of thought should remain the same. There are socioeconomic factors that play into the discussion of time management, and failure to acknowledge such, only displays a level of privilege that isn’t extended to all students. Yes, I’m well aware that in the “real world,” students and young adults will be expected to manage their time wisely to survive in and out of the workplace. But to say that time management can be attainable if most of the burden is placed on the student is not only morally wrong, but inaccurate. 

Some students can only dedicate so much time to one thing. Some students have to work multiple jobs to support themselves outside of school. We often forget that the struggle for some students doesn’t end on campus. While I am aware of the helpful systems that are put in place here on campus and on most other college campuses, the time to get to these resources may require a student to miss their shift at a job, or skip an important lecture. Google calendars and other time managing tips and tricks do students no good when they have shifts to cover, bills to pay and essays to write. 

There’s no shame in agreeing that the times have changed and what used to be considered the norm is no longer the case. Even with the invention of time management  apps and other services, the average student doesn’t have the same workload as a student did 10, 20 or 30 years ago. It is well documented that our age group (in which some studies say Millenials and others say Gen Z) is the most overworked, overeducated and underpaid generation  in recent memory. So to continue the rhetoric of “every student should learn how to time manage,” is not only outdated, but hurtful to an entire generation of students.  

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