All through college, you will probably hear the term “time management” over and over. This is a reoccurring phrase because college students are traditionally very busy, and poor time management can lead to feeling overwhelmed, which can lead to poor academic performance. One piece of effective time management is using your “down time” in a meaningful way. As a college student, you will have large chunks of time between your classes. Below are a list of ideas and tips of things you can do during your time between classes so that you can be a great time manager.

  • The golden rule: don’t go back to you dorm/ house between classes

    A lot of students find that when they have a couple hours here or there during the day, it is really tempting to go back to their room. However, you are way less likely to be productive in your living environment than somewhere else on campus. First, there is the time spent traveling back to your dorm/ house. Then, once you’re back, you may be tempted go back to bed. There might be a lot of other distractions as well, such as video games. Instead of going home, stay on campus during your breaks between classes.

  • Make sure you have what you need.

    Since you’re going to be on campus between your classes, when you pack your bag in the morning (or even the the night before if you are really on top of things) bring the things you will need during the day. Here is a list of suggestions-

    – a snack such as a granola bar

    – headphones

    – work out clothes

    – books, notebooks, and other materials for classes you want to do work for during breaks

    – your charger for your phone and computer

    – medication that you take during the day

  • Be realistic about how much time you have.

    Time between each class can vary. Sometimes you may have a 4-hour break, other times maybe just 40 minutes. If you have a shorter break (an hour or less), don’t try to cram too much into that time. A shorter break is a good time to check your email and have a snack. If you have a longer break, that is a good time to do parts of assignments. It is helpful to have a planner/ calendar that shows each hour of the day. This way, when you’re making an outline of your schedule for the week, you see your 3-hour break between English and Philosophy, and that’s when you pencil in “start research for paper/ go to talk to advisor.” Try to never do a full assignment during your break for the class you have after your break. You may underestimate how much time it will take

  • Nap.

    If you know that you are going to have a late night, or are just too tired to function, taking a nap is actually good time management.

  • Visit offices on campus.

    Your breaks are a great time to get stuff done around campus. If you have been meaning to talk to your advisor, or go to your professor’s office hours, a break on campus is the perfect time. Just double check to see if you need to make an appointment.

  • Get chunks of assignments completed/ started.

    In high school you had to save all your work for after school and in the evening. This does not work as well in college because A) the amount of work, and B) the number of distractions at night. Often students find focusing in the evening more difficult, so getting as much work done during the day is better. If you know that tonight is the traditional night you and your roommates eat tacos and watch the new episode of the show you all love, tell yourself, “Between classes I’m going to get at least half of my study guide finished.”

  • Eat a snack or lunch.

  • Work on extracurriculars.

    Breaks are a great time to work on stuff for clubs, inter mural sports, or jobs.

  • Go to the gym.

    Give yourself enough time to freshen up after you work out so you don’t smell too bad in class!

  • Take a minute to get yourself organized.

    The time between classes is a good time to look at your planner, to do lists, and emails. This is also a good time to take a closer look at assignments so you have a good understanding of what is required.