The presumption that engineering students have a lot of work is true. However, the myth that engineering students do not have time for a social life is false. There are so many things to do in college…eat out with friends, fight on at football games, network with recruiters at career fairs, attend student organization meetings, conduct research experiments, write eight-page papers, study for an abundance of midterms. How do engineering students find time to do it all? Time management. Here are my tips on how to best manage time, especially during those weeks when you have a couple midterms lined up and an event that you are in charge of but still want to see the famous actor Ken Jeong speak on Thursday night.
1. Keep a planner or a calendar.
With several events, assignment due dates, and exams in a week, it is of utmost importance to keep a planner or calendar. I just handwrite important dates into a planner, but many students use Google Calendar or Apple Calendar. A helpful tip is to schedule in time slots to do assignments. For example, if you have a break during the day from 1-2 PM, write in your calendar that you will finish a couple physics homework problems during that time.
2. Put your phone out of reach.
The biggest distractions are on your phone. It is tempting to constantly check your messages, scroll through Instagram posts, and send out Snapchats. I have found that the best way to avoid these temptations is to put your phone in another room of your apartment or give your phone to your study partner to keep for the remainder of your study session.
3. Break up the work and set specific time periods for each part.
An effective way to get work done is to break it up and accomplish smaller parts in defined time chunks. For a large paper, start off by writing an outline in an hour. Then, write the introduction in 30 minutes. When studying for biology, I give myself 45 minutes to go over one lecture’s worth of material. Sometimes, things will take longer, and that’s totally fine. The point of the time intervals is to ensure you are being productive with your time.
4. Put off Netflix… or at least until you have accomplished enough.
Netflix is probably the number one procrastination tool college students will use. It is easy to say that you will just watch one episode but then end up watching three or four. Before settling down and turning on Netflix, make sure that you have finished assignments due that week. You can also use Netflix as a reward. If you get your programming assignment done for the week, you can allow yourself to watch an episode or two.
5. Study with others!
Studying with friends is a great way to keep each other accountable of time. Also, if you are surrounded by people who are working productively, it will motivate you to get work done, too.