Time management is a reoccurring problem that student-athletes face. The following articles were posted on College Xpress, Beyond the Game, and USA Today High School Sports provide some helpful tips on how to effectively manage your time as a student AND an athlete.
“Your time is ultimately yours and yours alone. Make the most of it. Make every second count.” — Bob Bly
As a student-athlete, you understand that time and schedule challenges are part of the game. Conflicts will occur. Deadlines must be met. Promises must be kept. The life of a student-athlete is orderly and chaotic. Adaptability and an open mind are your teammates, not your opponents.
The secret to your success is in becoming a highly proactive individual. Just as your anticipation skills are vital to your on-court success, your ability to plan ahead and take charge of your time is inextricably linked to your overall well-being as a student-athlete.
Below are a few tips to help you be as productive as possible with your time:
1. Spend less time on social media – Facebook and Twitter are great for keeping up with friends and current events, but they can also be extremely time-consuming. Consider spending one hour less each day on social media and allocate that time accordingly.
2. Spread out the work – If your teacher gives you advance notice on tests, projects or book assignments, get started right away. Take time to divide the work and do a little each day rather than cramming everything the night before it’s due. It may help to give yourself personal deadlines for each step of the project or studying process. If you schedule time to work on the assignments so that it is complete a couple days before the professor’s deadline, then you have time to go back and make revisions if needed or get someone else to look at your work.
3. Use a calendar/organizer – There are so many ways to stay organized and keep you on task. If you prefer to see everything in writing, buy a planner. Otherwise, Google Calendar is a great organizational tool as it syncs your activities to your smartphone. It can even send you text message alerts to remind you to be somewhere!
4. Plan ahead – Use your planner or Google Calendar wisely. If you know you’ll miss class and/or a test or assignment because of sports, talk with your teacher earlier rather than later to ensure you cover all of your academic bases. If you know that your house will be loud or busy when all roommates are home, use your time between classes and practices to get some studying as well.
5. Make a weekly agenda – Allocate your time throughout your week wisely. If you have an event on Thursday, get your work done on Tuesday or Wednesday. Set deadlines for yourself so everything happens when it needs to. Writing your to-do list down can help you remember things you may have forgotten otherwise, and you can actually cross things off the list once you have completed them. You can physically see the progress you have made on that project you are working on as you move forward.
6. Use your weekends wisely – Down time is essential to keeping yourself sane. Sleeping late and hanging out with friends are great, but make sure to set aside some time for getting a head start on next week’s assignments. You can set your own limits with how much work you are going to do on weekends. Maybe you do home work from when you wake up until 4pm, and then you hang out with friends until you go to bed. Don’t leave everything until Sunday night and try to cram several hours of work into one night.
7. Turn off your phone during study time – Studying and homework require all your attention. Text messages, Facebook updates and Snapchats can easily distract you and don’t allow for good studying. It’s okay to take study breaks but you can’t call it a break unless you have actually been studying.
8. Learn to say no – It’s great to be involved in your school, but you must know your limits. Becoming too involved in extracurricular activities can sometimes make your grades suffer. Only sign up for what you know you can handle.