Scheduling Your Time

You can begin by setting up an honest schedule of your time. Do it on paper. Write it carefully and put it where you can see it, referring to it daily.

Dealing With Your Days

First review time requirements that must be allocated to daily concrete activities:

  • Class
  • Work
  • Staying-alive functions
  • Other obligations

Once you have written these, you can survey your week and determine where you can block out your study time.

As an example, a student carrying 12 credits should study about 24 hours a week outside of class to maintain reasonably good grades. Most people putting in a 40-hour work week do so without working after 5:00 p.m. or on Saturdays or Sundays and still have time for outside interests and a social life. You should be able to budget the 168 hours in your week so that you are able to handle an outside job and do things you like, plus invest the necessary amount of time into your education.

What to Remember

Some important ideas for managing your study periods are:

  • Study every day at the same time.
  • Don't study one subject too long at a time. If the subject needs more than one hour daily, break up the study-time slots with other activities.
  • Study a subject as soon as you can after a course lecture on it. (You forget 80 to 90% of what you hear within 24 hours unless you reinforce it by studying).
  • If some courses require less study time than others, then schedule half-hour—or even shorter—blocks for them; but study every subject daily. A shorter time each day is more effective than a longer period every other day.

Making It Work

Stick to it! You may find it increasingly difficult for 10 to 12 days to stay with the plan you've mapped out for yourself. Sheer willpower is the tool you'll have to rely on, but the hard work and discipline will pay off, both in your college life now and personal life later. The harder it seems, the more determined you need to get to adhere to the rigid schedule to make it work.

When you feel it's impossible to follow your schedule, make yourself do it anyway. That's the top of the hump,and once you have reached it, everything gets smoother because your habits have begun to establish themselves.

You can't simply talk yourself into a habit, and you probably can't form one just by saying you will. You develop a habit by doing the same thing, in the same way, over and over. Habits are powerful. You'll find before long that feelings of comfort and achievement replace the uncomfortable feeling you had from having to force yourself in the beginning. Success will be yours because you were willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make it in college.

If your first schedule doesn't work out for you, change it to suit your situation—but stick to it rigidly after you find you've discovered a good one.