With classes and tests, practices and games, SAT’s and college applications – not to mention a social life – there’s no doubt that as a student-athlete, you’ve always got a lot on your plate. Whether it’s now or in the future, learning to manage your time is an
important step to success that will help you gain control of your day, accomplish more and reduce some of the stress life throws your way. And most importantly, by taking control of your time and organizing your life, you’ll have a greater chance of reaching your goals both on and off the field.
Here are our top how-to tips on mastering time management:
- Make a To-Do List & Prioritize. At the end of the day, make a list of all that you plan to accomplish the next day. First, start by listing everything on a scratch piece of paper. After you’ve written down each task, number each in order of importance. Then, re-write your list of to-do’s in order of importance along with any color-coding or symbols you find helpful. Creating a list the night before will not only help you remember everything you need to get done, but it will set you up for a successful day from the start.
- Use Time Management Tools. Whether it’s written in a planner or programmed into your phone, keep your list and schedule with you. Be sure to fill in any regular tasks or activities in your calendar too. Blocking out those hours will help you plan your time wisely and avoid overestimating how many hours you actually have for homework and studying. Being able to see where you have open blocks of time, you can find more time to fit those to-do’s into your day.
- Find Your Right Schedule & Right Time. Figure out what works best for you. If you find that you do your best work in the afternoon, rather than at night, plan your day accordingly. When it comes to courses you find challenging, plan to focus on those when you’re most alert and get them knocked-out early. Once you know how you work best, try to establish a routine as much as possible.
- Become a Taskmaster. Give yourself a budget on time and plan your tasks and activities accordingly. Avoid spreading yourself too thin by figuring out how much free time you have each week before adding any commitments.
- And Spend Spare Minutes Wisely. Squeeze in any time waiting for practices or rides, in the car or on the bus, and during free time given in class or a study hall. All of that time could add up to an hour or more, so really make the most of it.
- Weed Out Time-Wasters. Find yourself loosing countless hours watching TV, playing video games or surfing online? Start tracking tasks and activities so you’re able to get a better picture of how you’re actually spending your time. Weeding out time-wasters will help you be more efficient throughout the day and open up time for friends and fun.
- And Block Out Distractions. When you’ve scheduled study time, close the door on distraction. Turn your phone on silent, log-out of Facebook and same for anything else you find taking your attention away from the task in front of you.
- Take Small Breaks. And as you’re checking off to-do’s, don’t forget to reward yourself with small breaks too. After an hour or more of studying, give yourself some time to clear your mind and release some extra energy. Go for a quick run, take a short walk, call a friend or you can always stop by our page to see what we’ve got for you too.
- Get Good Sleep, Maintain a Healthy Diet & Exercise. To perform at its peak, your brain needs plenty of sleep. Along with a good night’s sleep, living a healthy lifestyle will also help improve your focus and concentration so you’re able to get more done each day.
- Be Pro-Active. Be productive and tackle each task you’ve already set out to do. Wasting time procrastinating or worrying won’t get you anywhere, and will only leave you feeling stressed.
- And Be Realistic. Realize you can’t do everything today. Whether in the classroom or at practice, set high goals for yourself, but also ones that can be reached. Approach your goal-setting by being SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Looking at goals in these terms will help you set goals that are difficult, but reachable.
Mastering time management is incredibly valuable skill that you’ll use throughout your life. Look at theses tips as a guideline and personalize them to fit your lifestyle, and time will soon be on your side.