Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Time management tips for new semester

A new semester is a new opportunity to put your best foot forward. It’s a time to reflect on the previous semester and think about ways to improve practices or approaches to coursework. For me, time management is what makes the world go round; it’s the center of everything when it comes to having as successful and stress free a semester as possible. That being said, here are a few tips to consider as the Spring semester kicks off. 


Don’t Procrastinate

As far as I’m concerned, this is the most essential part of effective time management: giving yourself enough time to complete assignments comfortably and to the best of your ability. I’m a big believer in working on projects a bit at a time. I’ve found if I do something all at once, I’m more likely to cut corners or phone it in towards the end for the sake of getting it done. I try to make specific goals for what I’d like to complete in a given day. For example, if I’m working on an essay, I might do an outline one day, research another and one to two paragraphs each day after. Now it’s definitely important to acknowledge that some people find they work better when they save something until the last minute; it motivates them to churn out the whole project at once due to the impending due date. If that system works best for you, I say go for it, but still make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to work. Although this process is a bit more spontaneous in nature, it does still necessitate thoughtfulness towards the requirements of the project and how much time you personally feel like you need to meet them successfully. 


Create a timeline

Creating a reasonable, specific timeline is important for making sure assignments are completed by or before their due date. The best place to start is reviewing the assignment details in order to determine what exactly needs to be done, and estimate how long you think it will take to complete. From there, outline the steps, as well as when you’d like to have each one completed by. Writing down the steps either digitally or in a planner helps to retain accountability; you could also ask a friend for help reminding you or set up some kind of reward at the end of the task, such as “I’ll go out and get a coffee for myself after I finish this paragraph.” Even if you prefer completing work all at once, as opposed to spreading the workload over weeks or days, outlining the steps necessary to complete something is important. If you find waiting until closer to the due date is helpful in motivating you to complete an assignment, still consider establishing a timeline of steps beforehand in order to ensure you don’t run out of time or miss anything. 


Eat well

It can be easy to start neglecting personal care when you get wrapped up in an assignment or project. Eating well, which is to say nutritiously and consistently, is important not only for your physical health but also your mental health. Without doing so, you won’t have the energy necessary to complete your work to the very best of your ability. Listen to your body, take a break and get something to eat if you’re hungry. If you know you know you have back-to-back classes or are planning to hunker down and work on something for a longer period of time, consider preparing snacks to bring with you. In the same vein, make sure to drink plenty of water. I’ve gotten in the practice of taking a water bottle with me pretty much everywhere I go, and it has definitely had an impact on reminding me to stay hydrated. 


Get enough sleep

As much as I wish I could Edward Cullen it and work with all 24 hours of the day instead of 16 or 17, humans need to sleep – or so I’ve been told. In all seriousness, sleep  (and good sleep at that) is important; running on empty isn’t good for your health or the quality of the work you’re sacrificing rest to finish. Make an effort to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night, which is the doctor-recommended amount for most adults. A trick I learned that has helped me significantly is counting back from the time you want to get up in order to make sure you get enough hours. For example, if you want to wake up around nine, count back seven and a half hours from there. That time, in this case 1:30 AM, is when you should start getting to sleep, in order to give yourself enough time to fall asleep while still getting your full seven hours. 


Create a system that works to your strengths

As mentioned previously, there’s a plethora of different ways to go about time management; finding the right one for you is an important step in strengthening your time management skills. For example, I tend to multitask, choosing three or four tasks to move between in a given work period. I’ve found this system keeps me from feeling burned out on any one assignment. Alternatively, someone might prefer to sit down and go through one assignment before moving on to another. Any system is fine, as long as you feel like it’s comfortable for you and conducive to producing high-quality work. 


Take breaks 

Giving yourself time to unwind and step away from work is an important part of time management that is often overlooked; leaving time for yourself is essential to making sure you don’t get burned out or overwhelmed. Personally, I like placing small breaks throughout my work time, for things such as reading a page or two of a book, messaging a friend, scrolling on social media, etc. I find taking small breaks throughout my work helps keep me motivated. Others might opt to finish everything first and then take a larger break at the end, which is also an effective method. As long as you’re factoring in time for yourself somewhere, that’s all that matters.

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