Managing Your Time
Successful students at Exeter all have one thing in common: they've learned to manage their time. And the Exonians with the highest grade point averages also get the most sleep! How do they do it? They keep everything in balance: work, sleep and fun. Many seniors, when asked the secret to success at Exeter, say "Plan your time!"Here are three easy ways to connect to lots of ideas about time that Exeter students have found helpful:
- Handouts and time planners are available in the Academic Support Center
- Web Resources on this website
- The following ideas for and by Exonians
KEEP TRACK: It helps to have everything in one place. Find a way to keep track of your appointments and assignments: an academic planner, a phone app, or whatever works for you. Then use it.
ORGANIZATION: Keeping your materials organized helps you do work more quickly and efficiently. Have a binder for each class, punch holes in handouts and tests, and put it all in order well before test time.
PRIORITIES: Sure, you're here for the academics, but other activities are also part of Exeter life. Choose carefully the ones that matter to you and find the time for them.
FREE TIME: Does it feel like you're never free? Try monitoring your time for a few days--record everything you do. Then analyze when you're wasting time and how you can use it better. (Your advisor or the Academic Support Counselor can help you.)
RUNNING YOUR OWN LIFE
DAILY ROUTINE: Having one helps. Make a list of what you need to do. Plan what hours you will study. Choose study locations that are free of distraction. Don't choose Grill or your bed, and if you study in the library, find an out-of-the-traffic spot.
FREE FORMATS: Use free time during the day to start homework or study. Use waiting time; even a few minutes spent on vocabulary, for example, can save you time later.
START EARLY: Don't leave your work till late at night when you're too tired and need to sleep.
WEEKENDS: Avoid the weekend time trap: You think you have so much time you don't need to plan. Then suddenly it's Sunday night and you haven't even begun your work.
BALANCE: Procrastination is your enemy, but so is perfectionism. Find the middle ground.
GETTING IT ALL DONE
WORK ORDER: Figure out in what order it's best to do your assignments. Hardest ones first? Easiest? In the order the classes come the next day? Whatever works for you.
FOCUS: Work on focusing for extended periods. But don't study anything for more than an hour or so; switch to another subject for best results. Take breaks, but keep them short.
READING: Smart Exonians mark texts as they read. Get into the habit of underlining and jotting quick margin notes. (This practice also helps you speak in class discussions.)
MULTI-TASKING: Be realistic. You can't grasp important concepts while you also listen to music and check Facebook. But maybe you can read while on the elliptical.
TESTS AND DUE DATES
REVIEWING: Set aside time every day—even just 10 minutes-- to review class material. It's amazing how fast you forget what you totally understood in class. Quick reviews help get it into long-term memory and save you time later when a test is coming up.
TESTS: Start studying for a test a few days ahead. It's usually too much material to absorb in one night. And you may have too much other work that night to prepare well for your test.
PAPERS, LABS, and PROJECTS: Start early; they always take more time than you think. Break them down, and set your own mini-deadlines. It's much easier to get started if you know what the first step is.
Don't hesitate to ask for help with your time plan (or anything else)!
Your teachers, dorm proctors and peer tutors can show you how they organize their time. At Exeter asking for help is a sign of maturity, strength, and good sense.
Managing your time may be hard at first, but it pays off.
It reduces your stress level by putting you in control and lets you enjoy your free time more. You don't necessarily need to study longer --just smarter!
What's more, our graduates say the time management skills they learned at Exeter make adjusting to college easy. Try it and see!