Time Management Techniques For Adult Students

Effective time management techniques for the adult student. Includes strategies geared budgeting time for classes, study time, career, and lifestyle structure.

"Missed appointments, forgotten classes, often late for work, and no food in the refrigerator" are some of the more common complaints of adult students.The problem isn't necessarily poor time management skills, but rather the failure to master and apply effective time management techniques.

To better understand the time management techniques, it should also be clear that adult students are known by a number of tags, handles, or aliases such as: adult learners, returning adults, returning learners, alternative students, and of course, career-changers.

Most adult students assume that squeezing an hour or two of class every Tuesday evening will not put a dent in their schedules.This is incorrect.Consider that for every hour of time spent in the classroom, chemistry lab, or lecture hall, universities, business schools and community colleges suggest several additional hours devoted to study, research, or homework.

That single hour of class of time should actually be considered as two or three hours!Imagine those who carry a course load of 6-9 credits and not scheduling the potential nine or twenty-seven hours of reality into their schedules"¦Adult students require a sufficient period of sleep, and may also possibly hold a regular part-time or full-time job. It imperative not only to learn, but also to master effective time management techniques to keep our lives and studies synchronized with the ticking of the clock.

The majority of adult students have already had to facilitate a reprioritization of life to even fathom a return to college, but often overlooked is the reality of "˜the big list' and what it contains; more importantly, what it doesn't.

The following list of techniques will aid in compiling a schedule that meets your needs, and gives you the power to more effectively manage your time.

Consider "˜the big list' a laundry basket that includes every chore, errand, and commitment that requires attention in a given week.Grab a pen, 1-2 color highlighter markers, 3-4 sheets of blank or lined paper, or even a word processor and start jotting down personal and household commitments into two columns; include the day of the week, time period, and activity name.

- *Non-flexible commitments such as work, college, and preset appointments.

- Flexible activities such as lessons, club activities, sports.

*The flexibility can be viewed from the perspective of whether it has an established time period that cannot be changed.

Be sure to include the following with accurate time budgeting:

- Travel time to and from work. If scheduled to work from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. daily, then be sure to include the time required for commuting, i.e.: 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.The same applies for classes, appointments, and extracurricular activities.

- Spouse or domestic partner's work schedule with commuting times.

- Children's schedules: school, extracurricular activities, such as music, dance, or karate lessons.

After completing the big list, create 7 columns width wise on an additional sheet of paper.Beginning with the time your individual day starts and hourly or on the half-hour, until your day normally ends.

Take each event in your nonflexible column from the big list, and begin by filling in the event on each day that activity is required.It is recommended to start with work and college commitments.By the time every activity from the big list has been eliminated and transferred, the second sheet should appear as a rough weekly calendar.Verify that regular commitments like work and school are listed for every day of the week in which they occur.

Enter spousal, domestic partner, and children's schedules, followed by a prioritization of their activities.Again, be sure to list all weekly occurrences on the applicable days.Single adult students may or may not need to follow this step, depending on lifestyle.

Using the first colored highlighter, block out the remaining time periods that have no activity entered.Now decide which time periods would be more effective for dinner, family, personal time, and study time (remember, 2-3 hours per every 1 hour of time spent in the classroom, as well as leaving the schedule flexible for finals weeks, and dates near term paper due dates and major assignments!)Be sure to also include your fitness regimen, whether at home, or at the local gym.

The big list is no longer necessary at this point; set it aside or dispose of it.Include appropriate time slots for completing laundry, shopping, and errands.Here's another tip: study while doing the laundry, or cooking dinner!

Multi-tasking is a key element in effective time management.Laundry definitely does not need to be watched as the machine goes through the motions""that opens up two time periods of about 1.5 hours for studying or spending time with loved ones.

Now it's time to consider "˜the little list' and the balance of what it takes to manage student time more effectively!

Mastering delegation is yet another effective time management technique to consider, especially if a family is involved.Delegate some of your time commitments, specifically when it comes to delivering your offspring and delivering them to and from school, and the same for extracurricular activities. Synchronize your new schedule with your partner and teenage children to pick up some of these commitments.

If it's possible to carpool your children, through other neighborhood parents, then by all means, take advantage of a cooperative effort to get your young ones to and from their activities.Don't forget to leave yourself a time block where you can reciprocate the good will.

Set aside at least 1/2 to 1 full day of time during the week to do absolutely nothing but relax and enjoy yourself.Check out the latest cinema, lunch with friends, shopping, or any other activity that has been overlooked since your return to academia.

Following the establishment of these tidy blocks of time, adjust accordingly for personal time and avoid "burnout."Adult students suffer from strength of determination, sometimes unmatched, even in the corporate world when it comes to accomplishing their goals and running their day-to-day lives.Make time for YOU!

The final time management technique is to share your calendar with those around you.Clarify that your study time requires their quiet time, when applicable.Transfer the information to a desk or wall calendar if necessary so there is no confusion.There may be some aversion to the well-ordered strategy at first, but once your loved ones understand the importance for all involved, life gets a little bit easier for everyone.

By adhering to your newly arranged time management calendar, you will have eliminated wasted and inefficiently utilized time, and will be well on the way to perfecting an individualized time management technique that really works!

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