Time Management: Plan to change your plan

Choose a method for managing your time, but expect to improve the systems as you go throughout the semester. Or try a new one.

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Choose a method for managing your time, but expect to improve the systems as you go throughout the semester. Or try a new one.

When preparing for an experience you’ve never had before, it’s impossible to know exactly what to expect. This can be uncomfortable, especially when it comes to preparing for rigorous coursework.

The good news is, planning ahead can help. Yet the kind of planning we suggest may surprise you.

Our suggestion?

Plan to change your plan.

Let’s consider time management, for example. There are more than a few approaches to managing your time and ordering your responsibilities. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Google calendar. Cited by many King’s students as their preferred time management tool, Google calendar enables you to allot time within the day to each of your to-do’s–therefore helping you make a more realistic plan.
  2. Traditional planner. Writing your assignments and obligations/activities in a notebook may be the way to go for you, but keep in mind you’ll need to have it with you consistently in order for it to be useful for real time decision-making.
  3. Lists. Maybe you prefer to rely primarily on a running list of to-do’s. That’s okay too. Just be sure you associate those to-do’s with a deadline so you can prioritize as you go throughout your day.
  4. Deadline calendar. Some students prefer to have a calendar of the whole semester hanging above their desks with deadlines for all their classes. If you try this, be sure to update it regularly as deadlines potentially shift throughout the semester.

You may already know which you want to try first, or maybe you have a system that worked well prior to King’s. Go for it. But also know you may need to adjust your plan as you run into nuances you couldn’t have expected.

For example, maybe you’ll forget to check your Google calendar before joining a friend for lunch only to realize that you meant to study for a quiz. That’s okay. Now you know to turn on notifications for calendar reminders on your phone. It’s a simple change to what is already a pretty good system.

Or, as another example, maybe you’re using a traditional paper planner, but you leave it at home on the day your professor gives you an extension on a big project. You have options. Make the change later and be diligent to create the habit of always putting your planner back in your bag; or you could create a checklist of “do not leave the house without these things” items.

That’s why we say plan to change your plan. Even good plans need to change sometimes to keep up with real life.

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