Manage Your Learning Time

Time management has three components:

  • How are you spending your time now?
  • Are you meeting your goals and happy with your life?
  • How can you make improvements in how you spend your time?

Let’s look at each of these points in more detail.

How are you spending your time now?

Take a moment and think about how much time you spend in each of these categories during the week.

  • Work
  • Reading
  • Video games
  • Watching TV
  • Socializing
  • Family time
  • Studying
  • Attending class
  • Extracurricular — such as clubs, sports, volunteer
  • Sleeping

What other ways do you spend your time?

How does the amount of time you spend relate to your values? For instance, if you put education and learning as a priority, does the amount of time you spend in a week correlate with that value? Do you spend the most amount of time on education and learning?

Let’s return to Stephen Covey. Recall his philosophy that you should know what is most important to you, what matters most and make sure you have enough time for them. Some of these things may be family, job, education, career, faith, hobby, etc. What is most important to you is very personal. What is most important to you may be insignificant to someone else. But, you need to know what you value most, and make sure your time is well spent — spent according to those values.

Are you meeting your goals and happy with your life?

Let’s look at how your schedule represents your values. How do you feel about how you are spending your time? How do you feel about your life? Are you on top of things? Are you balancing the things which are important to you? Are you balancing everything you need to do? Have you done as well as wish on exams and papers or projects? Are you overwhelmed with life and all you need to do?

As you think about these questions recall Covey’s Quadrants.

Quadrant 1: Necessities: What has to be done, such as attending meetings or classes.

Quadrant 2: The Achiever Quadrant. You want to spend most of your time in this quadrant. This quadrant contains the tasks which propel your personal growth and goal achievement.

Quadrant 3: Fire. Stay away from this quadrant! This is the quadrant where tasks go because they were not properly planned!

Quadrant 4: Wasters. You never want anything to fall into this category.

How can you make improvements?

Let’s look at how you can develop a time management plan which will be based on your priorities, obligations and even preferences.

As a college student, we’ll assume that attending class is a priority. We’ll also assume that studying is a priority.

First, you want to be sure to plug in all your classes into your schedule, followed by your work schedule and anything that is a mandated appointment with a time that cannot be altered.

Second, plan your study time. For each credit hour in which you enroll, you will spend approximately two to three hours outside of class studying. For instance, if you enroll in a philosophy class worth three credits, this means you should be meeting three times a week. Using the two hours policy, you should be studying for six hours a week. Learning and college education is your full-time job.

The goal of higher education is not so much about careers, education or a career. Rather the greatest goals are to:

  1. Help transitive you from being a dependent learner to being an independent learner.
  2. Realize your learning potential.

What is a dependent learner?

A dependent learner is instructed as to what to study, how to teach and the classroom instruction is assumed to be the majority of the learning process. Teachers are responsible for the educational process. Students are required to show up and pay attention. This is the pattern used in most high schools.

An independent learner is personally responsible for discovering the content they need or want to learn. They are responsible for teaching themselves and possible others. They are self-motivated.

College is a more challenging environment. There is stiffer competition, more challenging courses and a faster instructional pace.

Third, add your flexible events.

Some good time management tips for students include:

  • Use time effectively between classes.
  • Spent time organizing your time. Do this weekly and then again nightly before bedtime. Be sure to schedule time with yourself to complete this vital component of time management.
  • Review a little each day.
  • Include reflection time.
  • Use your best times for studying and attention span.
  • Take care of yourself: sleep, eat, exercise.
  • Start studying at least one week prior to an exam.
  • Find a good place to study.
  • Be realistic in what you can complete.
  • Plan leisure time.

Recognize some of your barriers to time management:

  • Not knowing what is important to you.
  • Watching television.
  • Gaming.
  • Internet.
  • Spending too much time with a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Sleeping too much or during the most effective study times.
  • Getting over-involved in campus activities.
  • Having too much activity in your home, dorm, etc.
  • Procrastination.

What if you cannot possibly put everything into one week?

Simple answer? Something simply has to go. Look at your priorities. What is really important to you? Get rid of what does not align with the priorities.

For freshmen, it is especially easy to overschedule and take on too many activities. If you are overwhelmed, immediately meet with your academic advisor. See about opportunities to drop a class; Get feedback on your schedule.

Remember that your mental and physical health are essential to your success in college as well as all other areas in life.