By Lori Bender, MSW
5 Crucial Systems Needed for College Success
In this blog post, we are going to explore five crucial management systems needed for ultimate success in college. These systems include Time Management, Space Management, Task Management, Virtual Management, and Self-Management.
These systems are not only essential for academic success, but also for maintaining a balanced and productive lifestyle.
Time management is a crucial skill that every college student needs to master. Time management is about arranging the time in a day into a system of operation which allows you to prioritize and do things in manageable pieces, to manage all distractions and time wasters, and to maximize use of this time. It's important to do the most difficult tasks when your energy and focus are the highest. Visualizing your week in a Sunday week-ahead review and using an hourly, daily, and weekly calendar system can be extremely beneficial. Time management can help you organize your thoughts and actions, consciously choose to do the things that need to be done in a day, free up mental space for other complex tasks and relaxation, eliminate or reduce the urge to procrastinate, and feel productive and less stressed as these systems become routine.
Space management is all about organizing your physical environment in a way that promotes productivity and reduces distractions. This means setting up your work environment to be free of "things" chaos, having all study necessities at hand when you sit down to work, and removing anything that distracts you, visually, kinesthetically, or auditorily. It's also helpful to keep all of your daily frequently used items in one place, free your spaces of multiples, doubles, and things you do not use, and end your night by organizing your space for the next day.
Task management is another crucial system needed in college. This involvesi getting things to do out of your brain and onto paper, listing the top 3 priorities for the next day on a tablet by your bed before going to sleep, and checking things off as you complete them. This is because the brain likes seeing things get done. What you do not finish on your today's list, transfer to tomorrow's list. Every day needs to have tasks to be completed - visible. You can also attempt to complete easy-to-do tasks first to gain momentum.
Virtual or Computer and Cellular Device Management
Digital clutter can be just as distracting and overwhelming as physical clutter. Therefore, it's important to weekly manage your desktop of random files and folders, name files and folders with names you will remember, and file, reorganize, and clean up all filing and sorting systems - both paper and electronic. Try to keep your desktop folders down to 7-9 for easy retrieval. You can use colors and shapes to represent certain things, but be careful not to use too many as it can distract you. Keep it simple.
Self-management is the overarching system that ties all the others together. It allows you to organize your thoughts and actions, consciously choose to do the things that need to be done in a day, free up mental space for other complex tasks and relaxation, eliminate or reduce the urge to procrastinate, and feel productive and less stressed as these systems become routine. In addition, being able to manage emotions and responses is crucial for overall self-management because without this skill, your time is mismanaged, your inhibitions are effected, and your ability to focus and complete tasks is hindered.
By developing these five self-management systems, you will be well equipped to handle the demands of college life, while also preparing yourself for the professional world beyond college. Remember, these skills take time to develop, so be patient with yourself and keep practicing!
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