A freshman's guide to time management

Jun 16, 2010 at 11:22 p.m. ET

Going to classes, studying, socializing, participating in clubs and maybe even working a part- or full-time job makes it difficult to find time for family and friends or even down time for a college freshman. So how can you make it work? These simple time management tips can help you stay grounded and balanced.

College Freshman studying


Organize your tasks, assignments, appointments and social time so that you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done each day, week and month. Stay on task and focus on the things that need to be done first. To help you prioritize, number the items for each day starting with the most important. Pick an organization system, whether it's your PDA, smartphone, day planner, etc., and stick to only that one. Don't try to use more than one or you open yourself up to missing something.

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Cross things off your to-do list as you complete them. The physical act of eliminating things from your list will psychologically keep you motivated.

Don't procrastinate

Did you catch the part in the last paragraph about staying on task? Procrastination is the main stumbling block to time management mastery. Stick to your schedule and heed these words of wisdom (in case you haven't heard them before): Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

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Set goals

Figure you what you want to accomplish in day, week, month and year intervals. If you have never made a vision board, spend some time picturing yourself and where you want to be to help you stay on track to reach those goals. Think about more than academic goals, but other, more personal ones as well, such as participating in community events and saving money for the future.

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Know when you're productive

Everyone has a time each day when she is most productive. Some people work best in the very early morning, some mid-day and others in the evening and late night. Use your most productive time to accomplish the most demanding tasks (such as schoolwork) and then use the other times for things that require less energy, such as errands.

Everyone has wished for more hours in the day at some point, but since that is virtually impossible, make use of the time that you do have. Practice time management for skills that will benefit the life and career ahead of you?.

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