It's Your Time. Prioritize it!

Prioritize Time Management

Here’s the Real Talk - from UF freshmen to this year’s incoming students:

You’re in College… Now What?  It’s a couple of weeks into the semester and you may be having a “Dorothy” kind of moment realizing “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas… I mean high school anymore”.  So, how do you adjust to this new environment?  The GatorWell staff wanted to know what worked for students at UF so, in the Spring of 2013, we surveyed 135 UF Freshmen and Sophomores, as well as Faculty and Staff that work with Freshmen to get their advice.  A common theme arose: Time Management.  One respondent even told us “Time management will be the most important thing throughout your college career.”  Here are some of their tips:

1.    Create a schedule and stick to it.

  1. Write a to-do list, prioritize the tasks on the list, decide on deadlines for the tasks, and then create your schedule around those priorities.  Try preplanning by organizing your schedule for the day the night before, or for the week each Sunday.  There are a wide variety of tools that can be used to help with this including planners, online calendars, or phone apps.  Pick whatever works for you and your organization style.
  2. If procrastination is your challenge, try:
    1. Breaking large tasks up into smaller more manageable ones
    2. Doing your least favorite task first
    3. Creating routines
    4. Deciding on a reward that you can look forward to when you complete your task(s).  Celebrate by giving yourself this reward at the end of a productive day, week, or semester.

2.    Don’t take on too much at one time.

  • Evaluate what may be making you feel overwhelmed and see what activities you can start saying “no” to.
  • In the future, before you say yes to something new, ask yourself if it realistically fits in with your priorities and time.  If you do take on something new, think about cutting something else out of your schedule.
  • Living a balanced life is important to your overall wellbeing. Schedule in daily relaxation time and activities that you enjoy doing to take care of yourself and manage your stress. Try volunteering, hiking, dancing, going to sporting events, or spending time with friends. Self-care is important and only YOU can make it a priority.

3.    Find a productive study environment.

  • Find at least 2 exceptional places to study. This may be different for you than others, so think about your strengths, challenges, and study style.  The UF libraries offer a variety of study spaces to meet student’s needs.
  • Need a quiet environment?  Explore the quiet floors of the UF libraries or try using headphones or earplugs to block out excess noise.
  • Prefer to study with others?  Find a study buddy, pick a location that works well for you both, schedule times to study together, and then hold each other accountable.
  • When you are planning your study schedule, make sure that you allow time for breaks to help you mentally and physically recharge. Take 5-15      minute breaks after every 45 minutes that you study.

4.    Minimize distractions. 

  • Identify what your common distractors and time wasters are. Then, come up with a plan to minimize these where possible. This may mean studying in a different environment, turning off the TV, computer or wi-fi, or putting your phone on silent mode.

Resources:

Free Time Management Apps for iPhone and Android:

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