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Student Tookit: Time Management Skills for the Busy Student

If the collegiate workload isn't downright challenging it can be time consuming, so time-management skills are critical to higher educational success. In college or grad school, students no longer have their parents or teachers constantly reminding them of their assignments, and, particularly with online degree programs, students enjoy a high degree of flexibility in their curriculum that can either be helpful or just an added opportunity for excessive procrastination. For many students, struggling with procrastination and other time-management issues can make a tough degree program even tougher, so follow these simple time-management tips to help eliminate undue stress and get the most out of your degree experience.

First, get organized. Keep a calendar, or two, or three, to help you keep track of your daily, weekly, and monthly obligations. Today, many rely on an online calendar which can be linked to your computer or phone, but don't be afraid to keep a physical calendar as well for an added failsafe. Keep to-do lists everyday to keep in mind what you have to do during the day and make a game of crossing items off the list. It's also important to keep your living space clean and organized, as well as your work space or even your computer files. The more organized you are, the more efficiently you will use your time when work needs to get done.

In keeping your calendar, plan ahead several months in advance to ensure that you never miss an important meeting or date. However, also bear in mind that no matter how much you plan, you may not be able to do everything you'd hoped. In this case, be sure to effectively prioritize your obligations and other desired activities. Focus on eliminating your most difficult or pressing tasks from your to-do list first so you'll be less frazzled when it comes time to handle your less urgent task items. Also, be mindful of the distractions that tend to get in the way of getting items crossed off your list and do what you can to avoid them.

Don't forget to also put some time aside in your schedule to relax. Take into consideration your limitations and give yourself room in your schedule to breath and recollect yourself.

When you must work, try to work as efficiently as possible to avoid unnecessarily wasting time. For example, many students waste inordinate amounts of time studying ineffectively or cramming all of their work into one work binge. Avoid procrastination as much as possible, and break down your large assignments into more manageable chunks that you can complete bit by bit until they are finally due (learn more about effective studying here: http://www.onlinedegreenavigator.org/the-college-blog/student-toolkit-how-to-study-effectively/).

Finally, the most finely-tuned time-management skills are useless if you don't stay rested and healthy. Sickness is often a completely unanticipated wrench in the cogs of your schedule, but it can be mitigated if not avoided if you take the time to take care of yourself. In your routine, plan for three meals a day, exercise when possible, and try to keep a consistent sleep schedule.

If you follow the above tips you should greatly improve in your time-management, but the key is to stay consistent. Get into a routine and stick with it, and you might be surprised how much more you can get done every day.