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Time Management

The principles on this page are derived from research on time management, motivation theory and much experience working with professional students.

What is the purpose of time management?

The purpose of time management is not merely to get more done. The purpose is to minimize stress and to find a healthy work/life balance. To be successful at Jefferson you will need to be highly disciplined in how you devote your time to your studies, however, you also need to make time for self-care (eating, sleeping, exercising, socializing, etc.).  

As a student there are three levels of organizing your time:

  1. Semester
  2. Weekly
  3. Daily 

To get a birds-eye view of the semester download the semester calendar here and plug in:

  • Start dates and due dates for major assignments (exams, papers  projects, etc.)
  •  Life events that will take your focus away from your normal routine (family visits, holidays, etc.).

Once you filled out your calendar(s) post it somewhere prominent so that you can be routinely reminded of what the semester encompasses.

You will have a lot of demands on your time at Jefferson, therefore, it is imperative that you prioritize appropriately and keep a daily and weekly log of where you need to be and when you can accomplish particular tasks and goals. Without a visual guide it can be difficult to prioritize and chunk out your time in order to manage the learning and studying demands at Jefferson.

In order to create a weekly/daily planner you can download the one provided here or you can accomplish similar results with iCal or Google calendar.

When filling out your log:

1.       Fill-in obligations (classes, rotations, lab, etc.)

2.       Fill in blocks of time for YOU (sleep, meals, fun)

3.       Find blocks of time for study

Think of your time other than class time not as “free time” but as “unstructured time”. Therefore, the purpose of this weekly act is to structure and take control of your time!

Be realistic, not idealistic with the time you block off for your studies. Avoid study “marathons” and cramming sessions!

At Jefferson you will most likely be in class or clinical and adhering to a block schedule (9-5), and this will require you to form new habits and routines for approaching how or when you study.

  • Completing a weekly calendar helps you identify blocks of time you have available, they are different than To-Do lists because the focus is on the when, rather than the what you have to do. Use a prioritized To-do list and your semester calendar to decide how to appropriately structure your time. Remember:
    • Be specific with what and how you intend to study during that block of time; the more specific and ‘doable’ the task the more likely you will be motivated to start it.
      • i.e. Writing “Study”, in a block is too broad and unmeasurable. Instead write down more specific goals that you can keep yourself accountable to, such as: Review lecture slides from week 3 or Read pgs. 30-60, etc.
  • Be mindful of when during the day you are at your best and schedule the most difficult tasks for those times. Be mindful when you are not at your best and use those times for mindless but necessary tasks (emails, phone calls, laundry, etc.)
  • Allow for the unknown. Avoid filling in every block, consider: travel, meals, down-time, phone calls, etc.
  • Your schedule is not written in stone. The planner can help you stay accountable to yourself, and make wise decisions with your time. However, if you didn’t keep to your schedule don’t panic (or throw it away!) simply look at the remaining available blocks of time and make the needed adjustments.

Please feel free to schedule a study strategies consultation to learn more on how to prioritize and blueprint what you need to study and when to study it.

Reflection is the time spent at the end of a day, or week, when we ask ourselves:

  • “What goals did I accomplish today, or this week?”
  • “What worked well?”
  • “What didn’t work well?”
  • “What work didn’t get done?”
  • “Why didn’t I have enough time to [study, socialize, exercise, etc]?”
  • “What do I need to change in my schedule (or life) in order to accomplish this goal       find more balance?”

Take a few minutes at the end of the day or week and look at your most recent daily/weekly log and ask yourself the above questions. Your answers will inform what changes you need to make to your schedule and life to meet the demands at Jeff.

Reflecting is an important, unfortunately often neglected, metacognitive act that will help you become more disciplined and self-aware with your time. The purpose of time management is to form effective habits that promote well-being, balance and a sense of control over your schedule, reflecting is an important step in that process.

Please feel free to schedule a one-one-one consultation to discuss how you can better schedule and structure your time to be a more efficient student at Jefferson.