Taking multiple college courses at a time can help you save money and graduate sooner. But for students with family and work obligations, it can be a juggling act. Let’s learn about time management and how it can help you keep your life organized and lower your stress levels.
What is Time Management?
Time management is an essential skill for adult learners and new college students alike. It involves planning your days (and weeks) ahead of time so you get the most out of everything you do. Effective time management can help you succeed, stay on top of tasks, and reduce stress because you know exactly what’s expected of you at any given moment of the day.
Why is Time Management Important?
Time management can help you maximize efficiency, balance responsibilities, and accomplish goals. This is especially true for adult learners and college students who might be taking more than one course at a time. You can make sure you get the most out of each day rather than becoming overwhelmed by everything you need to do. By managing your time wisely, you’ll avoid missing deadlines or pulling all-nighters at the last minute. You’ll also learn how to free up some of your time so you can relax and enjoy yourself!
Tips to Stay on Top of Your Coursework & Be Successful
Here are some of our favorite, tried-and-true time management tips to help you crush that to-do list while keeping your sanity:
1. Stay Organized
Start by taking advantage of the many free apps available to help you stay organized. StraighterLine courses are self-paced, but it’s still a great idea to use a calendar or some other time management app to stay on track — we have a list of 7 recommended apps that we think will help our students. Personal assistant apps are also great ways to track your time and keep everything on schedule. Most are free, and some may have already been pre-installed on your phone. These apps remind you of appointments, due dates, and more.
2. Find the Tools That Work for You
Everyone has their preferences when it comes to time management and task tracking. If pen and paper works for you, use those. For others, one of the apps we linked above may be the best way to organize your time. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you can learn quickly and will actually use.
3. Set Your Priorities
Not all tasks are essential. Make a list of priorities, including what’s due and when. Some tasks can wait. Some can be delegated. And some may not even be necessary. Evaluating your priorities when managing multiple courses will help you stay on top of the more important tasks while feeling confident that you can push off the less important ones. Schedule the highest priority tasks when you do your best work. For instance, know whether you’re a morning person or a night owl and use that time to accomplish the tasks at the top of your priority list.
4. Utilize Any Available Support
You may come across all different types of support — family, friends, colleagues, and fellow students can offer moral support when you feel overwhelmed. And don’t hesitate to take advantage of your academic advisor’s and professor’s office hours to get advice and help with coursework. StraighterLine has a full student support team who are always ready – 7 days a week – to help our learners, if needed. No matter which courses you’re taking (or planning to take), we can help you stay on track. And if you need help writing a paper or doing a math problem, on-demand live tutoring is available 24/7 – and included with all StraighterLine courses.
5. Make Compromises or Sacrifices Where Necessary
One of the best things you can do to manage your time is to learn how to say “no” to things. Don’t overbook yourself – that’s a recipe for stressing yourself out. Time management is all about learning how to balance the needs of your classwork, your job (if you have one), and your family and friends. This may mean talking to your professor about a deadline extension so you can go to your child’s school performance, or skipping a night out so you can stay home and study.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Stress reduces your ability to perform well under pressure, as does lack of sleep. Set yourself up for good sleep habits so you can reset and recharge your mind and body. Exercise is a great way to clear your mind and get the creative juices flowing. Even a short stretch or brief walk can help. Make healthy choices when it comes to food. Fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can give your brain and body the fuel you need to tackle all your assignments.
7. Be Realistic & Flexible When Necessary
To maximize success, learners must embrace not only flexible schedules but also flexible mindsets. Building time into one's schedule to accommodate unforeseen obstacles and unexpected events is critical. Life can be unpredictable. Planning ahead and creating small pockets of free time throughout the day can help manage these situations. Factoring in free time will also allow you to take a break every once in a while so you can do something non-school-related.
8. Identify & Limit Distractions
Study time should be carved out and set up to help you succeed. That means minimizing distractions like your phone, online games, and interruptions by friends and family. Let your loved ones know when you need to study so you can focus on your work (and enforce those boundaries). Turn off your phone, if you need to. Go to the bathroom before you sit down to start working. Keep a snack handy, so you don’t have to get up.
9. Celebrate Wins & Milestones
Acknowledge a job well done, no matter how large or small. Give yourself and others permission to be proud of your hard work – and mark the progression towards your degree. Every step is an accomplishment toward your goal: be it turning in a paper, getting a good grade on an exam, or completing a course.
Take Classes with StraighterLine
StraighterLine offers over 60 courses that you can take for transferable credit. Work at your own pace and on your own time with 24/7 support from our knowledgeable and caring staff. At StraighterLine, your success is our top priority. Contact us today to speak with an enrollment counselor about how StraighterLine can help you on your path to college success.