Surviving the Semester: Tips to help manage time

Jesse O. Walls

For many college students it’s an almost impossible chore to juggle classes, assignments, work and a social life, causing one or more of these areas to suffer. Finding time to fit everything in can be difficult and it is impossible to buy more time, so we must make do with what time we’ve got and learn how to manage that time to its fullest extent.

The first step to time management, in my opinion, is being able to make SMART goals. For those of you who have taken the Lifetime Wellness class, you probably remember going over this in your text. SMART, of course, is an acronym for specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and time specific.

When making goals, you want to ensure they fit these criteria. If they’re not time specific, they might lead to procrastination; if they’re not realistic they might lead to disappointment or frustration. You want goals that have a time frame and are measurable, so you can see your progress and evaluate what areas need work and what areas you’re doing fine in.

For more on SMART goals, visit

Prioritizing can also be an effective method of time management. Western Carolina University (WCU) suggests making a list of activities you need to get done and numbering them one to 10—one being the highest priority and 10 being the lowest. Activities that are urgent and of high importance will be given higher priority than activities that are not so important or urgent.

Once you’ve created SMART goals and started prioritizing, you can start scheduling your time. Calendars and planners are your friends, so be sure to take full advantage of them.

Keeping track of when activities or assignments must be done, and allotting yourself a set (but acceptable) amount of time on each activity will help to get more done. It might also help you find that much needed time for sleep that you’ve been missing to get assignments done.

However, when making schedules, be sure to be flexible and allow some time for the unexpected. Life happens, so don’t cram your schedule so full that you can’t make up what you miss, or miss out on unexpected events that are important. Time may be elusive, but each moment we have we are only given once—manage that time and make the most of it.