This blog is written by Megan Goodell, the Campus Ambassador for Champlain College in Burlington, VT! She is studying social work and will graduate in May 2012 (it’s almost here)! You can follow her on Twitter here: @megan_goodell.
I consider myself to be pretty awesome at “time management.” How do I do it? By prioritizing everything every day. Lists help me to get everything down on paper, but prioritizing is the next step. Within my lists, I put things that are coming due at the top so that I (1) don’t waste time rereading my list to pick out what deadlines are coming first, and (2) can stay more motivated to keep working on the list so that I can cross things out and not have to think about them again! Less energy wasted is always a good idea in every situation!
For classwork, I tend to prioritize by when things are due, and then by how important the assignments are. If you have a 20 page paper that is half of your grade due in a class that is required for your major, I think most of us would prioritize that assignment over a small two page journal that is due each week for another course which is only say, 5% of your grade. It’s okay to let one thing slip in order to get a better handle on something else. Just don’t forget to actually finish up and turn in the other assignment you slacked on as soon as possible!
The second form of prioritizing is keeping yourself a priority in relation to your schoolwork, internship, regular work and all other commitments and responsibilities. It’s okay to have to take a mental health day to recharge your batteries, and to cross some of those #1, #2 and #3 items off your list! The key to this is to try to plan ahead as much as possible. Let your professors know that you really just need a day to recharge and take care of some things that have started to slide in other areas of your life. When skipping a class, try to make sure that you don’t have anything due that day (that just looks terrible for you, and is incredibly disrespectful to the professor), try to contact your professor ahead of time to ask what will be covered in class that day so you can stay caught up on your own, and make sure that you will be at the next class prepared and ready to go. It may be a good idea to get in touch with a classmate later to have them debrief you on the most important things covered in the class. Everyone just needs a day to his or herself at some point, just don’t take a day like that every single week.
I hope this helps you to have an easier semester in the future. Learning to prioritize and when to say ‘no’ is a very important skill that you many have a hard time learning. Once you learn to give yourself permission to let go of being ‘perfect’ all the time, taking a day for yourself will become a little less painful and you can really focus on other areas that are starting to slip. Just make sure you are doing something beneficial on that day instead of spending your time on things you probably shouldn’t.
Comment below on ways you prioritize throughout the semester to stay on top of everything!