As a university student, there never seems to be enough time. Between assignments, events, and work, it’s no surprise that students find themselves spread thin, scrambling to keep up with their commitments. For that reason, having excellent time management skills is a must for students looking to get the most out of their university experience. Here are two of the most helpful time management tactics I’ve relied upon :
- Budget your time
I think of time management the same as planning a personal financial budget. Just like money, there is a limited amount of time. In order to maximize its value it must be budgeted. Personally, I take long and short term approaches to this. Long-term, I find it very helpful to gather all your course outlines, events, and important dates and add them to a calendar at the start of semester. That way you have a visual reminder of when things are coming up. In the short-term, I work on a week-to-week basis. At the start of each week, I make a list of my commitments, and the course deliverables that are due. Then I estimate how long each one will take and slot them into the week. With this approach, making organized to-do lists and schedules is crucial. During my time at SFU, I’ve used this technique to juggle a long list of activities. I balance four courses, work part-time in the federal government’s bankruptcy division, and volunteer at a cool museum in my hometown of Maple Ridge. It also helps make time for other fun stuff – travelling to late-night hockey games, organizing Movember events, and planning backcountry-hiking trips with my buddies.
- Practice prioritization
With so many things on the go, a schedule or list isn’t always enough. Prioritization is key. This takes some serious discipline. Recognizing what requires the most time, planning accordingly and learning to not overload my schedule are all part of this discipline. So is knowing when to skip hockey with the guys to study for midterms, or when it’s okay to put off starting an assignment to hang out with friends. You must determine what’s most important to you. Personally, I focused on school. For that reason, I tried to work only one day per week. This meant volunteering with sustainability clubs or getting out on the ice only when I had extra time. In the end, it’s up to you but always try and create a prioritization framework that works within your personal goals.
University is fast paced, and these tips will help you keep up. Of course, sometimes the workload can become overwhelming. But trust me, if you manage things right, there will always be time.
Nick Pochailo joined the Beedie School of Business in 2011 and is in his final year of studies. Nick is currently working towards a joint degree in sustainable business with the Faculty of Environment and is an annual recipient of the Dean’s and President’s Honour Roll awards. Throughout his degree at SFU, Nick has participated in three co-op terms and has volunteered with various clubs, including SFU 350 and Embark. After graduation, Nick hopes to pursue a career in environmental law. Outside of school, Nick enjoys spending time in the outdoors and playing competitive hockey. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nick via email, at email@example.com.