By Nichole Ahlstrom
Faculty Member, School of Arts and Humanities, American Public University
Being productive and successful in college involves looking beyond ‘you’ as a student. Your university life is not just about time management, but rather about managing yourself.
Plan Your Student Life and Set Priorities
First, identify a strategy and how you plan on being successful academically. Devise a plan to complete your tasks and identify your distractions, such as music, people, electronic devices, parties, fatigue, stress and boredom. Also, set specific goals and determine ways to enhance the quality of your time.
You also need to determine if you are an introvert or extrovert. A student who is an introvert will more likely be the student who does well in an environment where they are alone. Students who are introverts do well academically because they don’t rely on others usually for guidance or assistance in retaining course information. These students succeed because of self-reliance.
Students who are extroverts thrive in an environment that is centered on human contact and communication. Students who are extroverts succeed academically based on learning from others, gaining new perspectives and collecting viewpoints in relation to course material. Students identifying if they are introverts or extroverts will benefit by focusing on how they perceive information, retain it and converse about it so they are learning to their full potential.
Second, find a comfortable location that allows you to feel at ease, focus on studying and be a productive student. Some students need a quiet room, while other students thrive in a noisy setting. In the right location, you’ll relax and absorb your study material, instead of becoming distracted and wasting your study time.
Third, re-evaluate your responsibilities and obligations. Prioritize what needs to be completed first or identify what is most important. There are only 24 hours in a day, yet there never seems to be enough time to squeeze everything you want to do into one day. The key is how you manage your day. If you don’t accomplish all of your objectives in one day, don’t be hard on yourself.
Organize Your Student Activities
Poor planning and disorganization affects your efforts and abilities and deters you from academic success. It helps to make decisions, use a calendar, write to-do lists and say ‘NO’ sometimes. When you’re organized, you’ll reduce procrastination, worry, mistakes and interruptions.
Having a goal(s) in mind keeps you focused and centered on completing your college education. If you’re involved with people who are encouraging, motivating and supportive, you are more likely to be successful in reaching your educational goals.
If you’re still struggling to become a productive, successful student, look into taking an online quiz on time management, prioritization or motivation. It may help you evaluate your strategies and reassess what you need to do to get back on your educational plan.
About the Author
Nichole Ahlstrom is an adjunct faculty member who teaches psychology at American Public University and is a graduate academic advisor at the university. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix. Nichole is currently working on her Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership with the University of Phoenix. Nichole lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband, who is an active-duty Marine, and they have two children. Nichole loves being a mother, spending time with her family, volunteering, exercising and traveling.