1st and 2nd Tools of Time Management
There are three basic tools that students find helpful in managing their time:
a reminder tool, a prioritization tool and a planning tool.
We are going to cover the first two of those tools in this video.
Since there is usually so much to be done in a week a student needs some kind of external
tool to keep track of it. Trying to keep tract of
it in their head usually just leads to problems.
Of course the simplest tool to use is a “to do” list.
To use a “to do” list, simply write down the things you need to do as you think of
them. As you do them, cross them off. If you change
your mind and decide not to do something on the list,
cross it off immediately. You do not want your list to get cluttered.
Similarly if after a certain amount of time has passed and you haven't done the item on
the list, cross it off. It probably wasn't that important.
It's often helpful to treat these lists as if they have an expiration date and every
once in while you just throw out the list and start new.
You might want to be cautious of using sticky notes instead of a list.
After awhile you start to ignore those sticky notes and forget to do things.
Most students find a paper list in their notebook is a much better tool.
It is also a lot more portable than the sticky note.
A “to do” list can be a very effective system. Even better though would be to put
some kind of time line on it. A simple way to do this of course is with
When using a calendar, it is often helpful to have all of the four months visible at
That way you can see your entire term.
Even better would be to break down your tasks into categories.
The Term Tool divides your time into whole weeks rather than specific days.
The week is a good unit of time because it follows your class schedule.
These tasks can be further broken down by course and extracurricular activity.
The advantage of this tool is that you can add tasks and you don't have to specify which
day you are going to do those tasks on.
For example, with chapter readings, you can't tell in advance which day of the week you
were going to do them but you know that somewhere in
that week you are going to need to read that chapter.
This tool also helps visualize your entire term and look at your workload and maybe spread
things out a little bit.
It also helps monitor your progress.
The second major time management tool is prioritization. This is some way to decide between the more
important tasks and the less important tasks. Without the tool to do this, it's really easy
to fall in the trap of doing the things that are easy,
the things that you enjoy, the things that are short, or the things that are urgent.
And sometimes, those aren't the important things which are usually hard, difficult,
boring, and are not due for two weeks.
One of the simplest prioritization methods is called “dump and sift”.
This is where you take a blank piece of paper and you write down everything you think
you should, could, want, have, must do for the next 2 weeks onto that piece of paper.
Now there are probably too many items on that sheet of paper to actually get done in the
two weeks so you want to narrow it down. One way to do that is to select which items
you think are most essential, most fundamental for you to do this week.
Notice that I am going from a two week view down to a one week view.
This is often very helpful in focusing you on what are truly the most important things
to do. After you have identified what you think are
most important to do this week, I encourage you to write it on a separate
list. You can then check those items off as you
do them. You can also take those items and put them
into your weekly planner which will be covered in the next video.
Please keep in mind that these are only a selection of tools that you can use to remind
yourself and prioritize. There are many others and you may find that
improvisation will help you as well.