OPINION: Tips for time management


Time and time again we hear from professors, university faculty and staff, and our parents that we must work on using our time better. I’m here to tell you that, even as a senior, I don’t have this down.

Is it possible that our ever evolving pandemic state and the strange balance between ‘normal’ and ‘new normal’ is creating some challenges with planning— absolutely. Is it possible that I might have a touch of the non-existent senioritis, also yes.

Rather than rehashing tips that you may have heard consistently throughout middle school, high school, and freshman orientation, I’ve chosen a few tips that take a different approach to the topic of time management and accomplishing what we need or want to get done.

The first tip is less of a ‘tip’ per say but two different mindsets suggested by Arts and Entertainment Magazine. They suggest these mindsets lean towards action and avoid the black holes.

To lean towards action is exactly what it sounds like: To do rather than to over-think. We can get lost in analysis and the decision fatigue we face on a daily basis. While this is designed to get creative thinkers out of the planning stage and into the making stage. If a non-creative person wanted to use this mindset, it might look like getting started with the to-do list after making it rather than making the to-do list, agonizing over and procrastinating until it’s almost too late, and then executing the list.

Avoiding the black holes shouldn’t only be for creative people, as nearly every human being can benefit from this mindset. This mindset is designed to hold the person accountable for how they are using their time. How did you spend the last hour of your time? Was it spent surfing social media, or were you looking for information for that research project that is due in three weeks? In this mindset, technology is both a blessing and a curse.

The second tip is to opt for physical over digital when practical or possible. While I understand that the age of iPad’s and digital everything makes bringing all of the necessary materials to classes much easier, consider utilizing paper and pencil once in a while.

For example, one may want to type notes in a class or while doing a reading assignment, but one may want to consider having a physical textbook so that there is a physical component to studying.

Or, rather than scheduling everything in Google Calendar or a similar software, consider using a paper planner. Yes, there is the risk that a paper planner will get left somewhere, or inevitably have a drink spilled on it. There are also benefits to having a planner that doesn’t require you to look at a screen to put something in, especially if you might forget to go add it into the digital calendar.

For the third tip, it comes directly from Central Michigan University, and they suggest adding a study related task during downtime. Although, I might add that one may not want to always do this, as it may lead to a toxic productivity mindset.

This tip suggests using the last ten minutes of a lunch break to read a chapter, or a long line to review a to-do list or flash cards. In and of itself, this is a great idea, until the brain takes it too far.

While the toxic productivity mindset is a topic for further discussion, it essentially blames the person with the mindset for not doing enough work, or having down time at all. Down time is important, but sometimes there is an urge to fill an uncomfortable down time with something productive.

I advise using this tip with caution.

All three of these tips can be used to help with time management and make the most of your college career.