7 Golden Tips to Manage Your Time for School

By Selena Nguyen
Biology Major, Honors College

person writing next to an alarm clock

College students are always busy. It’s a fact of life. Here are my seven golden tips to help you manage your time well while studying at Grand Canyon University:

1. Prioritize Your Tasks

Learn to weigh the importance of things. Remember, you are going to college for you! The priority should be your journey and your purpose. Things that distract you should be noted. My friends Tracy and Noemi say that “finding a way to reduce those distractions helps.” Perhaps keep a planner– you can easily find those online for free, or purchase one at Target, Wal-Mart, or Office Depot. You can also try to make one yourself!

When prioritizing your tasks remember that your job should not come before your education. In my senior year of high school, my government teacher asked us, “Would you rather be stuck making minimum wage for the rest of your life or go through a few years of education and receive a yearly salary of around $50,000.” Here in America, many of us are given the opportunity to go to college. Not everyone always gets that opportunity. So, try and find the reason why you chose higher education.

Also, recognize that if you have a job off-campus and allow your work to become the priority, some of your managers could cue in on this and take advantage of that knowledge. You might miss school once because of work; does that mean school isn’t important to you? That’s not true, but they might take it that way. Consider your education first but find a balance if you need the extra money to pay for your education.

Exercise Self Control

How about your friends? Maybe your dorm mates are watching the final match for FIFA but you have to study for your exam tomorrow. Some people have complete self-control. If they say they are only going to watch for 30 minutes, they commit to their words. As for others like me, it’s difficult because I lack that self-discipline and find myself swirling into a whirlwind. I’d get in too far and become too invested in the game. The final blares of the horns would set off and I’d be overwhelmed with flashes of excitement. Sitting on a popcorn glazed couch and cheering on my team would be fun. Maybe they had won! Then my eyes would drift to the clock. I’d realize that though my team had won, my exam score would now be at a loss.

You see, even though missing out on quality time with your friends and family may make you feel bad, as my friend Isaac has said, “your family and friends should support your path to success.” If they do not, then you should discuss with them about your goals, how you can get there and what you need to do. However, you also don’t always have to miss out. Just learn to study ahead of time or plan out your schedule and stick to that schedule. Don’t drop it! You will find yourself with room to do many things if you’re consistent and persistent.

It can also be important to learn how to wait to receive rewards. In a society that often gives you the ability to get what you want “on demand” it may make you feel frustrated if you do not see immediate results. Yet no matter how fast time is moving there are just some things that do not change, like getting a good grade. That does not happen spontaneously. It requires hard work and you know it!

2. Encourage Good Habits

Start by keeping a timer for breaks and homework time. Do not tell yourself that it is hard and you can’t do it. If you allow yourself to say that, then you are setting yourself up for failure! For instance, give yourself a 30-minute break, reducing the length of that for all following breaks and soon you will find yourself forgetting that you even needed to take a break because you are already in the workflow. Everything takes work, but that does not mean everything is hard.

3. Find Your Productive Space

This is the place that you do your homework. Not a place where you eat dinner, read your books, play video games, binge-watch Netflix, quilt, mediate, do yoga, practice archery, play basketball, sleep or any other interesting hobbies that a college student might have. Your body remembers these patterns and takes them in, so soon you will find yourself distracted and doing whatever you normally do in that workspace. A good environment for work is crucial to maintaining focus and managing your time. If it means you have to take a 10-minute drive to find that place, go for it!

4. Set Aside Time for Fun; Separate Time for Work

It doesn’t always have to be just work or just play. It’s like what my friend Isaac reminds me to do– find balance between the things that I’m involved in! As much as we want to do everything, there is a time and place for all that. We can’t do everything. Accept that and do what’s most important first.

5. Invest in a Career You Love, Don’t Settle

Some people will dive into something because it’s easy, but you don’t need to do that to yourself. As my friend Jeremiah suggests, “Find something that truly interests you!” If there are not many things that interest you, start by taking note of your strengths and use that to help you find your career! You will be surprised by the countless opportunities in this world. If you go to GCU’s Career Center you can find the Career Compass. It takes into consideration your values and skills and helps you decide on a career if you are unsure, or even just browsing.

6. Know Your Weaknesses and Try to Improve

It’s always good to know what areas you’re lacking in. Having that knowledge is a good start; always make room for changes! You never know what is going to come from life. Just when you think things are running smoothly, as my friend Madison describes, “God plays with your hair a little.” It’s always because He knows we are up for these challenges. Like Helmut Schmidt once said, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.” So, embrace the challenge and do your best.

7. Strive For Success But Learn From Your Mistakes

At the end of the day, remember that you were the one that accomplished your goal, not anyone else. Earn what you want and don’t forget your mistakes, because your mistakes make you the person that you are today. People can always learn from mishaps and slip-ups, so you didn’t really fail if you learned from it.

To learn more about how you can join our community of motivated and ambitious honors students visit the GCU Honors College website or click the Request More Information Button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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