The Damage of Multitasking: Time Management Strategies for College Students

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In the article, Time Management Tips for Busy College Students, Purdue University Global (2018) states that time is a limited resource. Balancing our responsibilities at home, in school, and to other social activities that we are assigned to is not easy. Regardless of our case, we are always left with a similar 24 hours, 1, 440 minutes, or 86, 400 seconds a day to accomplish our tasks, meet deadlines, prepare for exams, spend time with our families and friends, have time for ourselves, and unwind. By planning and utilizing our time wisely, we will have the capacity to accomplish more and use our other free time effectively. Listed below are the top three most effective time management strategies for busy college students.

First, we need to write down everything. When we are given with tons of things to do and responsibilities to accomplish, we tend to easily forget things that we were assigned to. This oversight may affect people greatly especially for college students, like us, who only have limited time to comply with a lot of things in a semester. It is like juggling five balls in the air and trying not to drop one.

In a Psychological Science study, The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard: Advantages Of Longhand Over Laptop Note-Taking, Mueller & Oppenheimer (2014) emphasized that using paper and pen to record things, instead of taking notes in our gadgets, helps boost and maintain memory retention. Preparing a “to-do” list or writing down everything we need to do and marking important dates or when it needs to be done allows us to have deeper processing and helps us remember more, rather than transcribing information mindlessly in our devices. This will help us avoid missing deadlines of our requirements, paper works, major projects, exams, quizzes, as a result. Moreover, setting up reminders in our Google calendars or alerts in our reminders application may be convenient, however, this will lead us to easily forget what we have encoded until they pop up in our screen (Smith, 2018). Therefore, it is more effective to take longhand notes and it is important to consider using a planner or notebook for the things we need to accomplish because it helps us to remember more, perform better, and comply things on time.

Second, we should only do one thing at a time. With the unlimited access to stimulation and data, we, students, are regularly left dividing our attention and focus between more than one errand, whether it is checking our social media accounts while studying or trying to complete multiple of assignments and projects and preparing for an upcoming test at once. According to Bradberry (2011), multitasking damages one’s brain and even one’s career similar to someone who did not sleep the night before. Individuals who perform various tasks at the same time and feel that it supports their performance are in reality more awful at performing various tasks than those individuals who like to complete a single task at a time.

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Accordingly, in the article, Is Multitasking Bad for Students, Oxford Learning (2017) elaborated that turning off gadgets, being far from the television, putting away anything unnecessary, blocking distracting websites, sticking to a study schedule, and working in a quiet space help students give their full attention to their school work and at the same time allow them to easily absorb information they are studying. It is advisable for us to discipline ourselves not to use our gadgets while doing school work and we should avoid switching to another task until the one before is complete. We should do one thing at a time instead of multi-tasking, and, if possible, utilization of a timer is recommended to schedule our focus time appropriately.

Lastly, we must use our free time wisely. We cannot deny the fact that procrastination has been an emerging issue for many students for a long time now. An estimated 25% to 75% of college students procrastinate on a regular basis, particularly when it comes to completing assignments and other academic works (Cherry, 2019). Most of the time, no matter how committed or organized students try to become, we still fall into the “I will do it later” trap especially when our attention is diverted to other things like watching our favorite series, updating Facebook status, online shopping, and many more.

Similarly, students are very interested in engaging into different activities in school, attending family gatherings and social events or unwind at the same time, however, most of the time, we struggle in managing our time as to what we will do or where we will go first. Thus, Keeley (2017) explained that it is effective to use time wisely by determining what needs to be done first or which is the most significant in terms of personal, educational and career goals. When we know our priorities and learn to prioritize, we will be able to see exactly what needs to be done at the moment and what can wait until tomorrow if we do not get to do it. Indeed, there is a must for us to define our own objectives to be able to manage our time in school efficiently and effectively and to also give time to God, to our family and friends, and to the other errands we need or want to attend to.

As a whole, effective time management is very important for students to become more focused on studying, to perform better, and to be able to get good grades at the same time. It is a life skill that everyone should learn in order for us to use time productively and efficiently. It also shapes our minds into the direction of discipline and sense of duty and responsibility. Self-discipline is extremely significant for us to practice because it is one of the most important aspects that we need to develop to become better individuals and to succeed. In conclusion, writing down everything or creating a “to-do” list, doing one thing at a time, and using free time wisely are the top three most effective time management strategies for college students.

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