In my life, I sometimes suffer from a conditioncalled the “Dropped Sock Syndrome”. Imagine thatyou’ve just pulled a fresh load of laundry from thedryer. You pile it all in your arms and try to carry itto your room like that. Half way there, you drop asock. As you bend over to pick it up, another falls tothe ground. And another. And then another.
In the area of Time Management, the “laundry baskets” at your disposal areyour CALENDAR, and ORGANIZATION!
•Write down EVERYTHING! While yourcalendar may be YOUR best friend, yourcourse syllabi are your calendar’s! •Write down important ALL dates at the beginning of each semester: •Homework, reading assignments. •Quizzes, Exams, Papers, and Projects. •Count backward from due dates to set yourself a timeline for each project or paper (there will be an example of this later).
• Don’t forget to factor in breaks, vacations, special events, and other major life commitments that may alter or affect your planning.• Use an academic calendar instead of an annual calendar. Because it goes from August to July, your entire academic year will be held in one place, instead of two.• It’s a good idea to choose a calendar with several different “views”: Annual, Monthly, Weekly, Daily for both long-term planning, as well as adequate space for daily appointments.• Ideally, the calendar in your cell phone should not be your calendar of choice. While it does give you an auditory reminder, it is difficult to plan ahead for an entire semester.
Now that you’re using your academic calendar, make it work for you!Color coding can help you visualize your commitments more effectively. One trick is to highlight different types of assignments in different colors: yellow for tests/quizzes, pink for papers/projects. Organization is also an effective tool, and you can use color to help as well. Coordinate binders and folders so that course materials stay together. Colored sticky-tabs are great tools to keeping important pages clearly indicated!
Setting the environment for focusing and productivity is extremely important. ◦ If you find the residence halls to be distracting, go to the library for some peace and quiet. ◦ If you prefer to study in your room, create a space conducive to studying. Limit distractions: Music, TV, texting, and (ahem) Facebook! Make sure your study space is tidy and free of constrictions to your work. Before you start, make sure you have the supplies you need: laptop (and power supply), printer, pens, paper, textbook, research articles, etc. Grab a snack! Nothing is more distracting than an empty stomach! Discuss your study needs with your roommate to ensure you’re on the same page regarding quiet study time and socializing time. Talk with your RA if this is an issue. ◦ Study with a buddy if that helps you (and him/her). Sometimes it’s easier to maintain a committed schedule with a friend.
Setting a timeline for projects is simple and easy! Just start backward from the date the project is due: Paper on Westward Expansion in Pre-Civil War America (15-20 pages) due on December 15, 2012. ◦ Final draft should be ready for printing no later than December 13, 2012. (Factor in time for “emergencies”!) ◦ Final edits should then be completed by December 12, 2012. ◦ Estimating that it will take you two weeks of writing (working on 1-2 pages per day, and taking off one evening per week and factoring in Thanksgiving) writing should begin no later than November 26, 2012. This means all research is complete, compiled, and analyzed and an outline has been created. ◦ Primary research should be completed by November 22, 2012 and outline created by November 23, 2012. ◦ Allowing at least six weeks to compile all relevant documents and reading, research on this topic should begin no later than the week of October 8, 2012. Timelines should be tailored to YOUR study styles, project requirements, and competing assignments. ◦ If you ALSO have a portfolio due in your art class on December 15 and a final exam in Spanish, you will need to adjust your paper deadline accordingly! Schedule in time to relax, socialize, and reward yourself!!!
Procrastination is the act of deferring a task, typically one that is difficult or unfavorable, and usually in favor of something of lower priority.Procrastination will cause you to start dropping your socks again! Prioritize your work/life/school commitments and stick to those priorities!If procrastination is a persistent problem for you, it’s important to examine why. Are you feeling overwhelmed with your workload? What are your options of making some changes and feeling more in control? Seek the advice of your academic advisor to help identify problem areas.Don’t let large tasks overwhelm you. Break each assignment into smaller tasks that can be managed easily.Beginning with less favorable tasks (i.e. delaying gratification) will allow you to end on a high note, focusing on the easier and more enjoyable tasks!
Factor in time for “emergencies”! ◦ A hurricane in September, ◦ A freak snow storm on Halloween, ◦ Power outages, ◦ Lost flash drive, ◦ No ink in your printer, ◦ No paper for your printer, ◦ Your dog eats your homework, ◦ Your roommate has an emotional breakdown and you can’t get any studying done, ◦ A family emergency that causes you to go home for the weekend, ◦ Despite your intention of writing your paper “while home for Thanksgiving” you don’t get any actual work done and have to cram it all in once you return to campus, ◦ Your source material has to special ordered through inter-library loan and gets delayed, ◦ You get the flu, ◦ Not all emergencies are “emergency”. It’s important to allow for the flexibility required of Life. Birthdays, unexpected road trips, surprise concert tickets, etc.
The Center for Student Success is here to help! We provide academic coaches and resources to help you develop the skills you need to be successful here at Mount Saint Mary (and beyond)! Those skills include Time Management as well as the following: Goal setting and how to reach those goals Study skills Individualized Academic Plans Guidance and support services Tutoring Writing supportThese services are available to you, free of charge. Our staff is excited to assist you! Whether you need to brush up on some skills or require one-on-one coaching, your academic success is our first priority. Find us in Aquinas Hall!