By Diana Gebbia
For most college students, time management is a concept that is hard to understand. Although it can be frightening at first, it is an essential skill to have in any area of business you’re looking to get into. Having a co-op while still taking classes and being heavily involved on campus has helped me in my quest to master time management. Here are some tips that will help you learn to manage your time.
In one of my past blogs, I had explained what a co-op is, and described how it differs from an internship. To refresh your memory, a co-op is more challenging than an internship. A co-op requires a fair amount of hours to be completed weekly, and can be compared to a full time job. An internship requires less hours to be completed, and is more of a part time job. There is more of an opportunity to get a paid position with a co-op, rather than an internship. As you can see, a lot of time and effort goes into a co-op alone.
My No. 1 secret to managing my time is investing in a planner. I prefer one with a lot of writing space so I have room to write down any meetings, appointments or assignments I must complete. I live by my planner, and have it with me at all times. There are a few people who can remember everything they have to do without writing it down, but I am definitely not one of those people. I find it very useful to see my appointments written in front of me. I view my planner almost as a blueprint of my week, and it definitely has made my life a lot easier.
Another time management tip I have is to set alarms or reminders in your phone for important dates and deadlines you need to remember. This is a very useful habit to practice, as long as you avoid the alarm going off in a place where it should be quiet. Most smartphones have reminder apps that will let you know when you should be at a specific event, at what place, and at what time. Take advantage of this technology.
Managing your time also requires that you don’t overbook yourself. I’ve learned this the hard way. It’s okay to say no to people sometimes. Learn to prioritize what tasks and events are important, and what can wait. This is definitely a challenge at first, but it gets easier over time. College is the perfect time to learn how to do this, especially since you wouldn’t want to risk double booking yourself and letting people down in a future job scenario.
My final tip for mastering time management is to schedule things as early as you can. Sometimes agreeing to things on a whim will go over OK, but most times it ends up in disaster. If you give yourself enough time to see what your schedule is like before agreeing to do it–you are doing yourself a favor. Believe it or not, if you schedule events early enough, it will allow you to see when you do have free time and will give you more of a chance to be able to have some time off to spend with friends or just relaxing.
Hopefully time management won’t seem so unrealistic after you read this. I understand my methods to managing my time may not work for everyone, and I encourage all students to try and tailor my advice to their own life. Whatever you decide, I hope it pays off for you in the end.