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ASC Success Strategies: Time Management

Time Management

All of us have 24 hours in a day. Your productivity and well-being during that time depends on how you use those hours – that is, on how you manage your time. By practicing a few strategies regularly, you can use your time more efficiently.  Better time management skills can lead to greater health, well-being, and productivity. 

Use the Academic Skills Center’s resources to build your time-management skills. Start practicing a few strategies every day (or so) to try managing your time more efficiently. 

Time Management Strategies

A few small changes in your daily habits can add up to great improvements in your time-management skills. Try one or more of these basic strategies each day or so this week.

  • Know your time to change your time. Where does your time go? Use WellCast’s (2012) RAC method as introduced in this video. Here you’ll find out how to record (R), analyze (A), and change (C) the way you spend your day – and find more time along the way. Print WellCast’s day planner as well: It will help you organize your workspace for efficient use, give priority to your most important tasks, and block time in your day to complete those important tasks. 
  • Organize your tasks. What do you need to do today? Keep track of your overwhelming to-do items by organizing them. This feature, How to Be Organized (Mind Tools Editorial Team, 2017), suggests some best practices, tools, and tips to help you use time, not waste it.
  • Use planners. To block the time you need for long assignments or projects, you need to think about your time weeks or months in advance. To plan ahead, you can try using Productive Flourishing’s set of free planners. These planners have different formats for your many projects and due dates. Check them out to see which planners best fit your needs. Tools like the Walden Writing Center’s weekly writing assignment planner and the University of Minnesota’s assignment calculator are also great for conceptualizing and planning for your due dates.

References

Mind Tools Editorial Team. (2017). How to be organized: Taking control of your day. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_76.htm

Walden University. (2017). 10 time management skills to make earning your online degree easier. Retrieved from https://www.waldenu.edu/programs/resource/ten-time-management-skills-to-make-your-online-degree-easier 

WellCast (Producer). (2012). Time management solutions [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUk6LXRZMMk&index=5&list=PLqldimk4xUglruIweUgdm3JWIQMDaJKTE

After practicing basic steps, try one or more of these intermediate strategies each day or so for the next week. You can use these tips to take your time-management skills to the next level. 

  • Disconnect and learn to say no. What (or who) is competing for your time? If you’re studying online, it is crucial to disconnect from distractions, like e-mail, new work projects – and yes, even from family. Giving yourself space will give yourself more time to do your academic work. Read tips for disconnecting, saying no, and other in Walden’s 10 Management Skills to Make Earning Your Online Degree Easier.
  • Start a routine. What’s the first thing you do at your desk each day? Whether you are beginning your work day in the morning or starting your studies in the evening, you need a quick routine to avoid distractions. Try the strategy described in this one-page Harvard Business Review feature, How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day (Friedman, 2014). It includes an exercise to help you identify your most important tasks. It also explains how to divide a task into small, actionable steps so you can get your work done.
  • Stay productive. Good news! Taking regular breaks and focusing one on project at a time (that is, not multitasking) can increase your productivity. Learn these details and tips for practicing discipline and goal setting in this 3-minute video, The Science of Productivity (Brown & Moffit, 2012). 

References

Brown, G., & Moffit, M. (Producers). (2012). The science of productivity [Video file]. Retrieved frop class="citation" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHfjvYzr-3g&feature=youtube_gdata
Friedman, R. (2014). How to spend the first ten minutes of your day. Retrieved from http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/how-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-day/
Walden University. (2017). 10 time management skills to make earning your online degree easier. Retrieved from https://www.waldenu.edu/programs/resource/ten-time-management-skills-to-make-your-online-degree-easier 

This video series by Dr. Walter McCollum, Dean of Walden’s Office of Student Affairs, includes guidance and tips for you to continue building your time management skills.

If you’ve been using some new tips to manage your time more efficiently, let us know! How has it been going? Have you found ways to be even a little (or a lot) more efficient in managing your time? 

If you have a favorite or most effective time management tip, let us know that, too. We’ll share it in the Academic Skills Center’s monthly Savvy Student newsletter so that more students can put it to good use. Write us at AcademicSkills@mail.waldenu.edu. We always enjoy staying in touch with Walden’s savvy students!

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