Time Management & Student Academic Performance

by Erin R. Wheeler Google

    Life inside and outside of the classroom often overlap. Homework assignments and study time compete with extracurricular activities, hobbies and chores. Students may feel that they do not have enough time to keep up with demands of school and life. While it is impossible to add more hours to a day, students can increase productivity by implementing time-management strategies. Managing time may be a personal challenge, but strengthening this skill can help improve academic performance.

    Good time management can help students reduce stress, optimize brain power and cultivate their wellness. Students should have a multi-view perspective of their time. The broadest view -- an academic year or semester -- can include dates of assignments, exams, projects and social engagements along with any obligation that takes more than four hours. A weekly calendar includes times for class, work, meeting, sleeping, eating and exercising. Students should schedule several 30- to 50-minute intense study sessions in between classes to optimize their brain performance. Using effective study strategies can assist students in learning more information in a shorter period of time, which increases productivity. Creating daily task lists can help students keep track of assignments, readings, chores and errands. Using technology such as online calendars and smartphone task lists can make managing time more convenient.

    Academic success is based on your ability to learn. Students demonstrate learning by consistently recalling information that is processed in the long-term memory. Stress inhibits the brain's function of storing and retrieving memories and knowledge. The Mayo Clinic describes time management as an essential factor in reducing stress. Students may experience ongoing stress when they are striving to turn in quality homework and assignments on time. Stress can also manifest itself as test anxiety. Students can reduce stress by managing their time to prevent rushing to complete assignments or cramming for tests.

    When students manage their time, they can reduce their stress. The less stressed students feel, the better they can learn. An effective schedule allows built-in mental breaks that prevent information overload, which is counterproductive to learning. For instance, college students can take breaks in between classes to study. Integrating chores in between 30-minute study sessions is also a great way increase productivity while studying properly. Stepping away from material after a short exposure, gives the brain the opportunity to process information for storage. Nick van Dam, a learning and development expert, suggests that students should also allot enough time for healthy brain habits such as sleeping, exercising and eating to optimize brain performance.

    Healthy students learn better. However, the definition of health is multidimensional, as it includes social, emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual and occupational wellness aspects. Students should use a comprehensive time-management plan that enables them to cater to several areas of their well-being. A balanced schedule should include time for studying, hanging with friends, visiting family, volunteering, attending church, reflecting and exercising. Students can use the wellness dimensions to prioritize their time to eliminate those things that put their health and happiness in jeopardy. Combining activities is key to creating balance in a schedule. For example, a study group combines social interactions with intellectual stimulation, while yoga fulfills the spiritual and physical wellness requirements.

    About the Author

    Erin Wheeler is an emerging educational consultant who focuses her research and efforts to improve student success rates in higher education, particularly in science and technology. She has been writing for more than five years. She received her doctorate in Science & Math Education from Southern University and A&M College.

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