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NAU OneStop Resource Center

7 Tips

1.) Write everything down

You’re sitting in class and notice on one of the lesson plans that you have homework due in 3 days and an exam at the end of the week. 

How often has that happened to you, only for you to panic the night before your homework is due because you forgot? Save yourself the late-night scramble and write everything down as you hear it.

Go through the course schedules and syllabi at the beginning of the semester and write down all the important dates. Knowing what’s coming up will help you better prepare in advance, and hey, how about using one of those apps listed on the other page, a good alert is never a bad thing!

2. Use your phone for good

With millions of apps and games at your fingertips, your smartphone can seem more of a time waster than a time manager. However, with some self-discipline, you can turn your phone into one of your best assets when prioritizing and saving time.

Your phone can serve as an on-the-go calendar and scheduler. Setting reminders can help you remember due dates and other important commitments as you go through your day.

Look on the Time Management page; there are many great apps out there to help keep you in check and away from distractions.

3. Stick to a routine

Getting into a routine can reduce uncertainty about when and how you will fit homework and study time on top of school and work. Create a routine at the beginning of the semester so you can adjust early and see if you have leftover time for other engagements.

A current NAU student, John plans his day around work and school. “It’s not always fun; when I have a lot going on at work, I feel guilty if I need to shift my focus on school after 5 pm, and if I am focusing on school, I feel guilty about what is looming to get done at work. Sometimes I stay up late or miss out on social activities to get my homework done, but I am determined to graduate so I keep going and turn off the noise because it will be worth it in the end."

4. Be healthy

This may seem easy, and you have probably heard it over and over again, but it can actually play a huge role in successfully managing your time while in college.

Regular exercise can keep your energy levels up, resulting in a more engaged mind when doing schoolwork. Many also assert that getting adequate sleep at night can save college students time—this not only helps you avoid the time taken for afternoon naps, but it also can increase your alertness and decrease your stress levels.

5. Stay organized

Keeping your schoolwork organized can be a huge factor in saving you time throughout the week, especially if you’re taking more than one class. If you have separate binders, notebooks, and folders for each class, you’ll quickly be able to find that sheet of notes you’ll need for next week’s test or the printed article you planned to reference for your big research paper.

Avoiding clutter isn’t just important when organizing your notes and hand-outs. Always keep your computer desktop organized to allow you to locate the files you’ll need for each class.

Apps can also keep you organized. Figured out your biggest needs in staying organized, and then find the right solution that will help you.

6. Checklists are your friend

Printing or writing out checklists for each class or each day of the week can be a helpful way of remembering everything you need to get done. Try color-coordinating tasks by importance or subject (such as school or work) to help you better visualize what needs to get done.

Many apps will help you color-coordinate what needs to be done and when. Maybe it's blue for discussions and red for homework. Keep it fun and organized.

7. Find a balance

At times, it may seem as though your pile of work is insurmountable. Work encroaches on school, and who even has time for a social life?

It’s important to step back and take a deep breath in times like these. There is nothing wrong with asking your friends and family to support you, even talking to your boss about arranging your schedule so you have more time to do school work in the evenings, without all those late-night study sessions. Discuss family time with your spouse and children, and try to have a working fundamental schedule that everyone knows and agrees to; this will cause less stress and guilt for you.

It’s okay to be overwhelmed and ask for help. Maybe that means dropping an activity or reducing your credit load. Time management means nothing if you are physically, emotionally, and psychologically drained. Finding the perfect balance may take time, but it’s key to your happiness and success. Reach out to your Student Services Advisor for more help on managing your time or organizing your studies; they are here to discuss and help.


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