College is a time of change for students and helping them to refresh their time management skills is important. This lesson covers two interactive activities to assist college students in better juggling their time.
The Big Picture
By the time students get to college they should know basic time management skills. Meaning, they should understand scheduling time and making lists. However, college brings on new and unique challenges for young adults. This is likely the first time in their lives, without their parent’s reinforcement, that they are in charge of:
- Waking themselves up
- Getting to school
- Making food
- Finishing homework
- Getting to work
The activities in this lesson are 2-fold. Activity one focuses on engaging students.
This will get them thinking about time management and how they can and should spend their time. Activity two will help students to practically manage their time by scheduling their daily activities. Using both an integrative and a practical approach, you can incorporate the diverse learning styles of your students and further engage them in the learning process.
Your students won a unique lottery. Each person won $86,400. They have to spend all of the money.
The money can be used for any expense, interest, gifts, or whatever they want, but they have to spend it all. If they don’t spend the money it goes back to the lottery and no one can use it. They have two minutes to decide how they are going to spend their money. Once the two minutes have passed you can ask students how they decided to spend their money.
- What did they spend the money on?
- Why did they choose to spend the money there?
Once you have discussed how and why they spent the money the way they did, you can tell them that every day they have 86,400 seconds to spend. Like their money, how they spend their time should be based on what matters most to them.
Just as you should spend your money on things like debt and a place to live, you should also spend your time on things that you have to, like your education or your job.
Now that you have students thinking about how they spend their time, you can have them work on an individual exercise.First, give your students a blank weekly schedule. Be sure it has room for them to add their courses and other weekly activities. The schedule should have a timeline of at least 5:00 AM to 2:00 AM and have room for students to write their activities into blocks.
It is safe to say that most students are sleeping during the other time. If your college has online block schedules, you might have your students print theirs out and bring it to class. Have extra blank ones just in case.
Next, instruct the students to fill in their weekly schedule with their required activities and tasks.
- Classes they are enrolled in
- Hours at their part-time jobs
- Athletics practice
- Homework (at least two hours per class)
And have them select some optional activities. If they don’t have any of their own, have them select from the following.
- Jan’s birthday party Friday night at 5:00 PM
- A live concert at the school from 7:00-10:00 PM on Saturday
- Going home on Sunday. It is a 2-hour drive there and back.
It’s very important to also instruct them to include when they go to sleep, and to cross out morning blocks if they are asleep.The third and final step is your summary discussion, or talking with your students about how they filled in their schedules. Ask them if they notice any patterns. Point out that some get up early while others stay up late. Ask them to discuss how they prioritize time. This part of the discussion is really a time for you to emphasize the key principles of time management: planning, scheduling and prioritizing.You can also give them tips, like ‘do the easiest mandatory items first’ and ‘work when you are most efficient.
‘ Ask your class, ‘Who is a morning person and who is a night person?’
As you wrap up the time management discussion, remember to emphasize a few things. First tell your students to learn how to say no. Remind them they can’t do everything. Next, they should make time to have fun and reward themselves. Lastly, remind them that time management takes practice.
It’s important to learn from past mistakes and improve.
Time management is a crucial skill, especially for college students who may be trying to tackle many things on their own for the first time. Teachers can utilize two beneficial activities in the classroom to teach this important skill. The first activity introduces the concept to students, getting them to look at how they can and should spend time. The second activity helps students start planning and scheduling all of their activities. Teaching time management to college students can be tricky.
Using these activities, you can engage the student and give them practical experience in managing their schedules.