College and University Blog

Save Time By Making Time: A Student's Guide to Time Management

As college students hustle from one class to the next, eat, sleep, study, work on assignments, how they manage their time can become a very legitimate factor in academic performance and ultimately, in life. Any kind of poor planning in this regard can lead to very undesired results such as missed assignments, lower test scores, missed classes, little rest, and lots of stress. The importance of good time management habits in one’s daily routine should be key.

There are several aspects to consider: Managing time is a matter of determining a motivational emphasis for what one is doing, enacting an effective method of prioritizing, and addressing the bad habits, i.e., procrastination.

Finding a Motivational Emphasis

At college, a student’s ultimate goal is to be enlightened to greater knowledge, gain further understanding of the field they have chosen to pursue, and graduate with a degree. However, this goal is based on a more broad spectrum of time. In order to effectively manage time on a daily basis, having an achievable goal is important, but this goal must have a more specific focus based on what is happening now, a more finite spectrum of time.

Emphasizing specifically focused goals versus generally focused goals can be less overwhelming and seemingly more accomplishable to the busy student. It is also the first step in organizing time management affairs.

Prioritizing Using the POSEC Method

There are, surprisingly, many different scientific ways of prioritizing, methods that have been researched and have been put into practice among large businesses and other organizations wishing to create ways for effective time management. Each method is very different from the next, and it is important for the student to use a technique that they will be able to adhere to, and in researching the different techniques, the Posec Method seemed to be one that would fit the needs and understanding of a college student:

POSEC Method Defined

Prioritize by Organizing, Stream-lining, Economizing and Contributing is somewhat derived from Abraham Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. Steven Lam, author of “The Posec Method of Time Management,” explains in his writings that this method, like Maslow’s theory “gives the individual a realistic tool for setting priorities as they pertain to ones own unique needs and life goals.” He goes onto elaborate on each concept within the acronym:

1. Prioritizing : Lam explains that prioritizing is a “means to put first things first.” In other words, prioritizing, by definition, is the act of determining the order for dealing with a series of items or tasks, according to their relative importance.

2. Organizing : Organization is an efficient and orderly approach to conquering tasks. Lam describes organization per the Posec Method as the ability to “make a plan that will help the individual feel more stable and secure."

3. Stream-lining : There will always be “dirty-work” or things that one just does not want to do, i.e., chores, cleaning; however, the reality is those things need to be done and should have as much weight in the process of organizing and prioritizing as the other items.

4. Economizing : Just as one should wisely economize their money, they should also economize real time by the importance of each task. This is a very significant thing for the college student to consider. One should place each task at hand on a scale measured by deadlines. By that, they might be able to assess what is low on the priority scale and what should be moved towards the top.

5. Contributing : People often forget how important social contribution is especially within the college community. A student can get caught entirely in the net of duty and list-making and forget about making time for people. Deadlines for school, bills, commitments are crucial, however, meeting the needs of friends or people within the community or within the student body should not be trumped but prioritized appropriately.

Bad Time Management Habits: Procrastination

Bad time management habits such as procrastination can be hard to identify within oneself. One way to discern this is to understand it plainly:

Procrastination is delaying or postponing, putting off. It may seem somewhat harmless, but it can be detrimental in school performance. The more duties that are swept under the rug, the more they’ll seem to pile and become overwhelming. The impact that procrastination of one task has on all the others is worthy of attention.

Students should determine wisely how to go about making plans and adjustments in how they deal with time and tasks. Planning ahead and working through the mundane but mandatory time-consuming tasks can alleviate stress and allow for schedule flexibility in the future. A student can save time by making time!