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Time Management

TIME MANAGEMENT Much of what we talk about under "Time Management" involves using good, old-fashioned common sense, and you may already know or do a lot of what will be suggested here. But if you find yourself wondering how you will ever accomplish everything you have to do in a semester, consider using some of the approaches included in this handout. Remember - if you use your time wisely, you'll work smarter, not harder. That is a worthwhile goal for all of us. The key to managing your time wisely lies in recognizing the importance of these three areas: SCHEDULING, SELF-DISCIPLINE, and SETTING PRIORITIES. These three areas necessarily overlap to some degree, so what you are being asked to do is not as involved as you might think. And once you make a determined effort to set priorities and schedule to meet them, your life should become easier, not more complicated. You will be in control of your time. Guide to Managing Time Research has consistently demonstrated that efficient time management is an important factor in scholastic success. Time is most difficult to control because it is so very easy to waste in aimless, unproductive activity. If you are typical of the vast majority of students, you have at least one, if not all, of the following time-management problems. 1. First, you have difficulty settling down to work. You are always getting ready to study, but for one reason or another, a lot of time goes by before you actually tackle your assignments. 2. Second, once you begin studying, you waste a lot of time jumping from one thing to another, trying to study too many different things within a brief period of time. Thus your studying is so disorganized that you do not stay with one thing long enough to get very much accomplished. 3. Finally, you don't get as much studying done as you should - not that you don't go through the motions of studying, but somehow you don't manage to do as much real studying as you know you should. All three difficulties are slightly different aspects of the same basic problem. When you study, you fail to use your time wisely and to concentrate effectively so that you really accomplish something. Fortunately, these study faults may be corrected. The first step is to set up a schedule for studying. A well-planned study schedule permits more effective use of time. It keeps you from vacillating about what you are going to do next so you aren't as disorganized about your studying. It assigns time where time is needed, prevents you studying a subject more than is required, and generally insures that you are doing the right thing at the right time. With your time thus organized, there will be more time to devote to your most difficult subjects and also more time for activities other than study. A well-planned study schedule minimizes wasted time by scheduling study activities to fit individual needs. Finally, a properly managed study schedule helps insure that you have the required materials for study on hand when they are needed.
Penn State University Center for Academic Achievement 200 University Drive; Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 (570) 385-6140 Location: Ciletti Memorial Library (Lower Level) Website: www.sl.psu.edu/caa Hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m./Evenings: M-F, as scheduled W:\services\www\dept\iit\sl\caa\Study Guide's\Time Management.doc rev. 09/09/03 ray

To insure that you are planning for long-term as well as short-term goals, keep three schedules. 1. a semester schedule, 2. weekly schedule, 3. daily schedule. Keeping a Semester Schedule 1. Keep a big calendar for your semester schedule, preferably one that shows several months at a glance.

2. At the beginning of the semester, write in dates for mid-terms and finals, deadlines for papers and projects, as well as any other fixed dates. Do this for all classes. 3. Create mini-deadlines for these long-term projects. Break down big assignments into manageable ones. For example, if a term paper is due in a month, fill in weekly projects: week one, pick a topic; week two, schedule research time, etc. Be sure to list these miniprojects on your weekly schedule as well. 4. Use different-colored markers for each class to easily distinguish them. 5. You should now have an overview of each course's work load and be able to estimate time requirements for each class. 6. Now you can plan ahead for long-term projects because you have a constant reminder of what is expected of you over the next few weeks. Next, plan a weekly schedule. Keeping a Weekly Schedule 1. Fill in with ink all times that are fixed, such as class times, meal times, and working hours. These time periods are usually determined in advance. Other activities are scheduled around them. Be realistic about the time you need for these functions. Highlight deadlines for that week. List all courses and assignments to be completed that week. Schedule the open times in pencil for independent study and change according to daily need. Schedule time for recreation and things you enjoy. Remember to account for other activities, such as running errands that can take more time than you realize. Set realistic goals. Avoid setting yourself up for failure by telling yourself you can do a four-hour job in two hours. Allow for flexibility. Remember that unexpected things will happen. Reward yourself by doing something you like when you stick to your schedule. Focus on what you have accomplished.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Penn State University Center for Academic Achievement 200 University Drive; Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 (570) 385-6140 Location: Ciletti Memorial Library (Lower Level) Website: www.sl.psu.edu/caa Hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m./Evenings: M-F, as scheduled W:\services\www\dept\iit\sl\caa\Study Guide's\Time Management.doc rev. 09/09/03 ray

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Do your most difficult tasks first to avoid fatigue.

10. Schedule your study time at about one-hour intervals. Take 5-10 minute breaks to reward yourself with a soft drink, a short walk, or a look out a window. Avoid studying for several hours without taking a break. You are only capable of listening and concentrating up to a certain point of time. Beyond this time, you lose your concentration. 11. Keep your schedule in a place convenient to you, so you can easily refer to it. Finally, it is important to keep a daily schedule, or, if you prefer, a daily "to do" list. Keeping A Daily Schedule 1. Use a pocket calendar or small notebook - something that is convenient and handy. Keep it with you, so you don't forget what you have already planned to do that day. You dont want to unintentionally overextend yourself. 2. List what you want to accomplish that day. Be reasonable in your expectations. 3. After listing what you want to do, prioritize the list. Put an "A" (most important); "B" (should be done); or "C" (can wait) in front of each item. 4. Do your "A" and "B" lists first. 5. Cross off each item as you complete it. This will give you a sense of accomplishment. Again, focus on what you have done. 6. If you don't finish everything on your list for that day, relax. Put it on the next day's list. However, if you find yourself carrying a "C" list item for a period of time, maybe it's not really that important. Drop it from your list. Evaluate Your Time Management 1. What things, if any, were not on your schedule that should have been included? 2. Were there any things on your schedule that you did not do? If so, what were they, and why didn't you do them? 3. What activities on your schedule required more time than you allowed? 4. What activities on your schedule required less time than you allowed? 5. Is there anything else on your schedule that should be changed? Other Helpful Hints 1. Give yourself sufficient time to study each subject. Plan on spending at least two hours of outside work per week per credit. Depending on your particular needs, you may have to allow for more time. Study your most difficult subjects first. 2. Study at a regular time. Avoid generalizations in your schedule such as "study". Commit yourself more definitely to "study history" or "study chemistry" at certain hours.

Penn State University Center for Academic Achievement 200 University Drive; Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 (570) 385-6140 Location: Ciletti Memorial Library (Lower Level) Website: www.sl.psu.edu/caa Hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m./Evenings: M-F, as scheduled W:\services\www\dept\iit\sl\caa\Study Guide's\Time Management.doc rev. 09/09/03 ray

3. Study in a regular place. Time management can include where you study. Have a specific place that is organized for your study time. You won't waste time gathering needed materials, and your body will also be attuned to studying in that location. Try studying in the library whenever possible. 4. Study as soon as possible after class. Review your notes while they are still fresh in your mind. Begin assignments while your memory of that assignment is still accurate. An hour of study immediately after class is probably better than two hours of study a few days later. 5. Use odd hours productively. Don't waste the scattered one or two hours between classes. Even 15 or 20 minutes can be utilized. Make a habit of carrying index cards with certain assignments (e.g. vocabulary words for a language class, memory passages for a literature class, formulas or symbols for math or science classes). Work on them during those brief periods of time that are often wasted. 6. Break long periods of study with short relaxation periods. A good rule is to take a 5 to 10 minute break after each hour of concentrated study. 7. When something unexpected comes up, decide immediately how you will adjust your schedule to fit in the previously planned study time. 8. Determine how and when you function best. Then plan accordingly. If you are a morning person, arrange your schedule to accommodate study time in the early hours of the day. If you concentrate best in the evening, use that time for your most important work. Always do your most difficult assignments when you are at your best. 9. If you have children, combine study time with their time or make a deal with them. For example, if they give you one hour of uninterrupted time to study, you will spend the next hour with them. Use your creativity to handle the situation. One possibility: make a game out of memory work, and let them be your audience. 10. Eliminate interrupters such as television or the telephone. Listening to music while studying is a judgment call. For some people, soft background music is helpful. 11. Plan to study at some point over the weekend. This is a particularly good time to work on special projects, especially those requiring the use of library materials. Schedule a special study session for Sunday evening. But remember to give yourself time for recreation also. 12. It is important that you achieve the proper balance between sleeping, eating, studying, working, and recreation. Experiment until you find the proper balance for you and then stick to it. 13. If you live in a dorm, have an agreement on study times from the beginning of the semester. Develop a system or signal (e.g. hanging a "Do Not Disturb" sign) for when you are studying. Learn to respect each other's needs. 14. Notice when you waste time. Make note of when, where, or how it happens, so you can avoid that problem in the future.

Penn State University Center for Academic Achievement 200 University Drive; Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 (570) 385-6140 Location: Ciletti Memorial Library (Lower Level) Website: www.sl.psu.edu/caa Hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m./Evenings: M-F, as scheduled W:\services\www\dept\iit\sl\caa\Study Guide's\Time Management.doc rev. 09/09/03 ray

15. Learn to say "No" when others make demands on your time. Don't set yourself up for failure by trying to schedule what isn't possible. 16. School is your job. It may be easier to plan time for studying and learning if you remember that fact. Finally... Learning to manage your time is essential to scholastic success. It requires much practice and self-discipline, but pays off pleasant dividends in terms of better grades. Better work habits that you develop now will surely influence your future success in executive and professional life.

Penn State University Center for Academic Achievement 200 University Drive; Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 (570) 385-6140 Location: Ciletti Memorial Library (Lower Level) Website: www.sl.psu.edu/caa Hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m./Evenings: M-F, as scheduled W:\services\www\dept\iit\sl\caa\Study Guide's\Time Management.doc rev. 09/09/03 ray

Time Management: A Reflective Survey Answer the questions as honestly as possible. Fill in the blanks or check the answer that best describes your behavior. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. I spend I spend I spend I spend I spend hours per week studying outside of class. hours per week sleeping. hours per week relaxing, recreating, and participating in social events. hours per week in extracurricular activities. hours per week at a wage paying job. hours studying outside of class on an average. times per week.

For every hour in class, I spend When I am late, I feel . I have been late to an exam in the last year. courses because

I am late to a meeting, to class, to work, or to an appointment

Yes

No .

10. I spend more time on

courses than

11. I use short periods of down time (between classes, before meals, etc.) to do simple academic tasks like review notes or write flash card. Yes No 12. I use short periods of down time (between classes, before meals, etc.) to do simple nonacademic tasks like paying bills or cleaning. Yes No 13. I have a semester planner. 14. I have a monthly planner. 15. I have a weekly planner. 16. I work better under pressure. Everyday Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Twice a week Yes No Every two weeks

17. I check my schedule or syllabi for upcoming assignments: Once a week 18. I would describe myself as a procrastinator.

19. I have done poorly on assignments (papers, tests, speeches, etc.) in the past because I did not start them early enough. Yes No 20. I have done poorly on assignments (papers, tests, speeches, etc.) in the past because I did not spend enough time on them. Yes No 21. The most time consuming courses this term will be because 22. 23. 24. class is going to require class is going to require class is going to require . hours of work each week. hours of work each week. hours of work each week.

Penn State University Center for Academic Achievement 200 University Drive; Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 (570) 385-6140 Location: Ciletti Memorial Library (Lower Level) Website: www.sl.psu.edu/caa Hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m./Evenings: M-F, as scheduled W:\services\www\dept\iit\sl\caa\Study Guide's\Time Management.doc rev. 09/09/03 ray

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25. Some ways I can use short periods of down time are:

26. I am going to make a semester, monthly, or weekly planner for the term.

Yes

No

Now examine your answers to these questions. What does it tell you about yourself? Are there aspects of time management you hadnt thoughts of before? Are there aspects of your time management habits that need to be improved?

Penn State University Center for Academic Achievement 200 University Drive; Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 (570) 385-6140 Location: Ciletti Memorial Library (Lower Level) Website: www.sl.psu.edu/caa Hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m./Evenings: M-F, as scheduled W:\services\www\dept\iit\sl\caa\Study Guide's\Time Management.doc rev. 09/09/03 ray

Time Management: A Quantitative Survey Indicate how often the following statements describe your behavior by writing the appropriate number. Never 1 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Occasionally 2 Often 3 Always 4

I feel I have to cram before an exam. My homework is usually turned in on time. I think I usually get enough sleep. I pull all-nights before mid-terms and finals. I plan to go out with friends a couple of nights a week and usually spend the amount of time with them that I originally planned. When Im working on a paper, I put off writing until a few days before its due. I often cancel social activities because I feel I dont have enough time. I generally get my papers in on time. I find myself making a lot of excuses to my instructors about why my work isnt done. I feel comfortable about how I use time now. I always feel that something is hanging over my hear, that Ill never have enough time to do the work assigned. I often feel tired.

Score A: Add up the numbers for questions 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12. Score B: Add up the numbers for questions 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 12. If score A is greater than score B, you are probably a procrastinator. If score A is less than score B, you manage your time well. If the scores are equal, you may procrastinate at times, but procrastination is not a habit.

Penn State University Center for Academic Achievement 200 University Drive; Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 (570) 385-6140 Location: Ciletti Memorial Library (Lower Level) Website: www.sl.psu.edu/caa Hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m./Evenings: M-F, as scheduled W:\services\www\dept\iit\sl\caa\Study Guide's\Time Management.doc rev. 09/09/03 ray