Dear Barb—Studying Procrastination

Dear Barb:

Hi, I recently completed first year university and I did alright, but I must learn to manage my time better.  I felt very scattered and barely completed my assignments in time.  I ended up feeling stressed all the time. 

It is not that I was partying a lot, I just couldn’t seem to organize my time.  Do you have some hints that would help me with that aspect of university life? I will watch your column for your response. 

Thanks Jeremy.

Hi Jeremy:

Time management is a vital aspect of everyday life.  If we want to accomplish anything we need to be able to prioritize.  Simply stated, to prioritize means to organize tasks in order of importance.  Decide which items you need to complete first.  Do not leave things to the last minute.  Too many people tell themselves they have lot of time to do something and the next thing you know the due date has arrived.

Learn to say no.  It is great to get involved in extracurricular activities, but you need to spend time on your studies before anything else.  So, set a time for doing each activity.  For example, study psychology Monday nights, or work on essays Tuesdays.  Look at your schedule and see when you can fit in the things you have to do.  Also allow free time for reading or hobbies.  It is important to have this time to unwind.

Consider writing a to-do list for each day, either before you go to bed at night, or first thing in the morning.  This way you will know what must be done in order of importance.  In the planning process take into consideration that things may go wrong or the unexpected may arise.  For example, make sure you plan for your essay to be completed a few days early, so you can accommodate these unexpected events.  You know those difficult tasks that you like to avoid, plan to do them first.  That will prevent the anxiety caused by procrastinating.

Study when you are most productive.  Most people have a certain time of day whether it is the morning or later in the afternoon when they are more alert.  Schedule your study time during these periods of the day.  Frantic studying the night before an exam is not productive or efficient.  Allow so many hours a week for each course for review, and make sure you have a good understanding of what you need to know.  If you do not have a thorough understanding, seek further help from your professor.  These are easy and necessary skills to implement and follow.  It is all a matter of discipline.  Remember “you got this.”

Thanks for writing in Jeremy.

[The Dear Barb column has been a steady feature of The Voice Magazine for years, with compilations of it being published in stand-alone books.  A Best of The Voice edition would be incomplete without one.  This one came from issue 3029 at the end of July, and I know is relevant to a lot of students out there, myself included.]
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