StudentsTime management for students should refer to most of us since most of us never stop being a student. Learning is a lifelong process. At least 20% to 30% of what we have learned and understood to date is now obsolete. So we must continue with our education just to keep up to date as well as to keep our brain healthy.

The important thing about formal education is that it teaches us how to learn. The brain’s ability to build new connections doesn’t diminish with age. When you learn new things you create new dendrites and new connections to other parts of the brain. You increase your intelligence. But if you stop the process – if you stop challenging your brain after your formal education is over – you will lose dendritic mass and connections, and actually lose intelligence.

Psychologist B.F. Skinner hit the nail on the head when he said. “Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” The world is changing so rapidly that we are preparing students for jobs and careers that don’t even exist yet.

As far as time management is concerned, it applies to everyone whether we consider ourselves students or not. But it is particularly important for full-time students; because the school portion consumes such a large part of our time – and time management involves the effective and efficient use of time.

In order to juggle work, home, social life and school we need planning. Planning prevents crises by foreseeing problem areas and providing a course of action that will avoid them. Next to your textbook, notes and class materials, a planning calendar is your most important time management tool.

By a planner, I don’t mean those sheets of paper the school issues with little blocks indicating the room number and title of the course. That’s a time table. And I don’t mean a smartphone or other electronic device. They are telephones, calculators, cameras, cell phones, texters, alarm clocks, timers, emailers, Internet surfers, calendars, etc. all combined into one product. I mean a simple hard copy planner that basically does one thing and does it well. It plans. Planning is a key ingredient of time management. It forces you to think ahead and bring that future into the present where you are able to do something about it. It also keeps a permanent, easily-accessible record of important school-related information

I recommend that you choose a week-at-a-glance planner that breaks the day into increments of time from morning through evening, including Saturday and Sunday. If you can’t find one that suits you, draw up your own week-at-a-glance form, photocopy it and keep the individual weeks in a three-ring binder.

Harold Taylor Time Consultants Ltd. sells one for business people that runs from December 1st through the next calendar year and to the end of February the following year. It covers 15 months. It is not a school calendar. It is actually a 15-month planner. Students would have to start the Fall term on the current year’s planner and change to the new planner several months later. There are school-year planners on the market but it’s a case of getting one that has all 7 days broken down into half-hour increments or smaller, including evenings and weekends.

This planner should be used not only for school activities, but for personal and work activities, as well. Don’t have more than one planner and don’t keep separate lists of things to do. If someone asks you to do something, jot it down under the “things to do” column in your planner so you don’t lose track of it. It’s a lot harder to lose a planner than a scrap of paper. And remember, lists of things to do provide little commitment to get them done. People tend to put off doing things on lists, but most people keep appointments. So schedule those “must do” items directly into the
planner at specific time as appointments with yourself to get things done.

For instance, a class assignment should never remain on a “to do” list. Block out the time needed in your planner, let’s say between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., and treat it as though it were a meeting with a doctor, lawyer or client. Allow a little extra time for those unavoidable interruptions that are bound to occur. If you schedule several of these meetings with yourself during the week, you will accomplish those priority tasks and assignments, and increase your effectiveness. I look upon a “To do” list as your intentions, but scheduled blocks of time in your planner as your commitments.

Most people use their planning calendar for meetings and appointments — everything involving people — but fail to schedule any tasks into it. Consequently, those important tasks (usually relegated to “to do” lists) never seem to get done. “To do” lists are fine for
Shopping lists; but if you want to succeed in life as well as in school, scheduled commitments are a must.

Be sure to set deadlines on all important assignments. You work more effectively if you have a deadline to work towards. Don’t delay a task until the actual due date — schedule it well in advance. Then, if you do encounter an emergency and have to reschedule the task, you are still not under the pressure of unrealistic deadlines.

If you are enrolled in a full-time program, block off your class times throughout the week as well as any part-time job commitments, study times, project times and so on. Merge your school schedule with your life schedule. It is important that you budget your time.

So when you’re planning, you schedule all classes in your planning calendar, along with assignment dates and exam dates. Schedule the times you plan to study. You should never have to look in more than one place to see what classes you take that day, what assignments you have, when they are do and so on.

When scheduling time to work on assignments, do so in such a way that you will have them completed before the instructor’s deadline. Never hand in an assignment late. It takes no longer to hand it in early — you just start sooner. In a way, planning is simply looking at what should be happening in the future, and bringing it into the present where you can do something about it.