September 6, 2016

Organize and Manage Your Time

By Marybeth Norcross

Manage time picture of a Student Studying and Sleeping on BooksI talk a lot about organization and time management, but the fact is that success at UAMS is dependent on organization and time management. It’s hard to keep up with multiple courses, projects, exams, and family, friends and, often, a job.

Staying on top of your workload doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it usually centers on three parts; a calendar, a to-do list, and cloud storage. Some people like to use a paper, but more often, students prefer to use a smartphone and a couple of apps.

Keep a Calendar

Get a calendar. Use your calendar. It doesn’t matter if it is a traditional hard-copy notebook, or an online calendar you have on your phone or mobile device. Just make sure you have some place to keep track of your assignments, projects, tests, and deadlines for all your courses.  Add your personal stuff too. The busier you get, the more you will appreciate how your calendar is helping you manage your time.

If you like hard copy calendars, then use them. The point is to find a calendar you will use. If you want to use your smartphone, either use the calendar on your phone or try Google Calendar.  I like it because I can move easily from my phone, to my tablet, to my laptop, to my desktop. Most of the scheduling is done on my laptop or desktop, but I use my phone to stay up to date and to check for conflicts. As you see below, I really like Google.

Use a Task or To Do List

Using a task or to-do list helps you break down big projects into manageable chunks and work on them a little at a time so you aren’t overwhelmed when the deadline is upon you. Make a to-do list daily or weekly, and prioritize your tasks according to importance.

Keeping a to-do list is easy on paper. Just grab a note-pad and go. If you like more structure to your list, and if you like to look back over what you have accomplished, consider keeping a Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal is a customizable and adaptable organization which involves a notebook and a pencil or pen. Learn more about it at bulletjournal.com.

With my mobile devices, I like to keep it simple, with two free apps. Any.do is a super-simple, easy to use, and you can create subtasks, move tasks between lists, and share tasks with others. Todoist  is a more robust to-do app, which syncs across devices, and comes with a bunch of features in the free version. Both apps have iOS and Android versions.

Find Cloud Storage Platform

The advantage of having a copy of your files in a cloud storage system is that you can access them anywhere on any device. The three below offer storage and the ability to share and collaborate with others.

google drive iconGoogle Drive is my personal favorite. They give you 15GB of free storage, the ability to work both on and offline, realtime editing and sharing, collaboration, and a host of great apps, like Docs, Slides, and Sheets.

 

box icon time Box gives you 10GB of storage, syncs across your devices, and allows you to share with others and edit documents. It connects to a lot of other apps you are already using, like Office 365 and Google Apps. It works well with Windows, Apple/Mac, iOS, and Android.

 

dropbox icon imageDropbox gives you 2GB of free storage. You can’t do realtime editing with Dropbox, but your files sync across your devices so you can access them anywhere.

 

Whether you prefer analog with paper or choose to go digital, choose a system and stick with it. Organizing and managing your time will reduce your stress level and make your semester much smoother.