- Published on Tuesday, 06 August 2002 20:26
- Written by Christian Mignot
As the lazy summer months near their end, students returning to school will once again need to plan out their busy schedules to balance their academic studies with part-time working hours, club meetings and athletics practice.
When there are so many meetings to attend and tasks to complete, it can be very difficult to make time for studying, relaxing or even sleeping. Having good time-management skills is the surest way to combat such problems.
Adina Glickman, assistant director for peer and academic support at Stanford University, runs a course that teaches study skills and learning strategies to students, with a heavy focus on developing time-management skills.
At such a prestigious and high-level institution as Stanford, the heavy workload can often cause problems for students.
"Stanford runs on the quarter system, with each term being 10 weeks," Glickman said. "Students are given enormous amounts of work at a very rapid pace, and often this forces them to reduce their sleeping hours."
According to Glickman, the keys to effective time management are good organization and prioritizing tasks.
"It is most important to have a written organizational system, whether it be an electronic planner like a Palm Pilot or simply a small paper daily planner with space to write," she said. "Students have to unload millions of details from their heads, to create space in their brains."
Heather Guidice, regional director for Sylvan Learning Center in Mountain View, suggested students write down tasks on a daily action list and cross them out as they complete them. She emphasized setting achievable daily goals, so that a sense of accomplishment can be retained at the end of the day.
Additionally, Guidice said, students should make efforts to understand precisely what it is that teachers expect of them for certain assignments, as a clear understanding saves time down the line.
"Having neat, well-organized notes can also reduce the amount of time needed to get started on study," she said. "Also, having an organized study area, knowing where you keep everything, saves having to waste time looking for things."
Some strategies can be used to make time for other activities.
"Developing routines can be an effective way of managing time, because habits don't require much thought and can free up concentration in your head," Glickman said. "And use small bits of time: Going over notes for class when standing in line for the ATM can save time."
Glickman also said a minimum of six hours' sleep allows for better concentration and time use during the day. Taking a "power nap" in the middle of the day can compensate for a night spent stuck in textbooks.
During the busiest of weeks, bouts of exercise provide a good way to alleviate stress.
"Often when people feel stressed, they take a nap - but really this doesn't solve their problem," Glickman said. "It's better to go for a run, to expend some energy. This allows for their heads to clear."
If students employ some of these strategies, it is likely they will feel less stressed, more satisfied with the work they are doing, and more in control of their life.