Strategies & Tips I Use to Manage My Time

Hey friends! It’s Brooke, here. Welcome to the Student Ambassador’s blog. We are in the process of getting some awesome posts together from our experiences… to support YOUR success!

This post is all about strategies and tips I use to manage my time. Everyone gets stressed about school and it doesn’t matter if you’re taking one class, three or –like me– six. We all have lives outside of school, too: family, friends, work, spouses, professional organizations and church, not to mention taking care of you (laundry, showering, exercising, eating, doing dishes, sleeping, and the list can go on). So how do we balance these things? And, how can we do them so that instead of just “passing the class” we actually learn and retain the information to apply it somewhere in the future?

I’ll be honest; I don’t actually know how to do it, yet. Some elements in my life suffer so that other things that are more temporary can be prioritized. I balance six classes, presidency of a student chapter of a professional organization, my role as a student ambassador, tutoring my classmates in software skills, five siblings, three parents and a boyfriend. I tried to have a job for about a week… camel, meet straw…


So here are some things I have learned along my journey.

    I can’t stress this enough! Last year, I was proud of myself when I would stay up all night to get my homework done. This year, I sleep a MINIMUM of five and a MAXIMUM of eight and a half hours every night. I have figured out the effects of staying up all night and it’s not just being tired the next day. When your body doesn’t have time to shut itself down and reboot, it will wear out faster; you won’t live as long! “In the “Whitehall II Study,” British researchers looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality of more than 10,000 British civil servants over two decades. The results, published in 2007, showed that those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes.” (1) Not to mention all of the effects on your memory and appearance. If you follow the rest of these tips, you will have time to sleep. 🙂
  2. Schedule everything.
    I use two planners, my phone and a written one. Everything gets written down (that way my mind has to think about it while writing) and then it goes into my phone calendar so that I know I will get a reminder about it. I also make a sketch on paper to figure out when I am going to do my homework.
  3. Keep track of how and when you get distracted I have a mini notebook with me at all times. When I am working on assignments, I might spend three hours sitting at my desk but when I record my time focused and my breaks in concentration, I realize that I only actually worked for about half of that time. Write it down and you will see what I’m talking about. Hold yourself accountable for your time.
  1. Print your syllabus.
    There is something about having all of my syllabi posted on my wall, next to my desk, makes things a world easier. I can see what the assigned reading is for the week, which assignments are due soon, how long until the tests, and the teacher’s office hours and location.
  2. Drink water
    H2O is your brain’s friend! Coffee drinkers like me tend to forget about that delicious stuff that should make up 40-60% of your body. Just because coffee has water in it, doesn’t mean it is water. (I used to try to talk myself into that idea… NO.)
  3. Schedule a break with someone you like being around
    Whether it is your brother or sister, mum or dad, boyfriend or girlfriend, best friend or your favorite fur person; you need a break, and unless they come to class with you, they probably miss you. I give myself a deadline, a focus and then I reward myself, i.e. 7:30pm –finish web assign for math, dinner and Netflix with Kevin, go to sleep at 10:00pm. Have lunch or dinner with your family or your best friend, but make sure you get all of your work done so you can relax and enjoy your time with them.
  4. Set due dates for yourself
    I know you’ve heard this before, but if you finish your assignment two days early, you will be GOLDEN. Often, teachers will be willing to give you some notes before the final due date, plus finishing and submitting early will help you avoid last minute, low quality work.
  5. Work both sides of your brain.
    There is a lot of evidence on the way the brain operates for different things on each side. Right is creative and left is logical, so when you have trouble in math, take a few moments and draw a doodle, it doesn’t have to be pretty, just sketch something that you see, or that you’re thinking about, use the other side of your brain and relax the side that is trying to figure out exponential functions. This will help you avoid being stressed out and frustrated.
  6. Wake up at the same time, all seven days of the week. This one goes hand in hand with number one, but it deserves its own number. If you sleep late on the weekends, it is much harder to get into your routine during the week. This is why the “Monday Blues” are a thing. Also, if you don’t have class until 1pm on Tuesday and Thursday, but Monday, Wednesday and Friday are 8am classes, do not use Tuesday and Thursday to sleep until noon. This makes the other days of the week HURT (shout out to my 8am trig class buddies).
  1. Use your most productive time wisely.
    About two hours after you wake up, you are at your most productive level for the day, for about two hours. I try to time my alarm two hours before my math class, because that is a difficult class for me, plus I don’t drive very far, so I spend about 45 minutes studying in the parking lot before class. This warms up my brain, lets my coffee take effect and puts me in the right mindset for class.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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