Time Efficiency Tips from National Champions
BY: Mallory Glenn ’19
Mount Union Purple Raiders don’t just dominate on the football field. As you’ve probably already discovered, Mount Union recently earned national titles in track and field and wrestling.
The Mount Union men’s indoor track and field team earned their first-ever team title at the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships, and Mount Union junior Jairod James ’19 won the 174-pound title at the 2018 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships.
“The best part about being a student athlete is getting the opportunity to do what I love as well as getting a degree in something I’m highly interested in,” said James, the wrestling champion and junior majoring in psychology.
“My favorite part about being a student-athlete is the support from everyone,” said Clark Etzler ’19, a junior with a double major in finance and management and a member of the winning men’s track and field team, “My least favorite part about being a student-athlete is having very limited free time.”
And student-athletes aren’t the only ones with limited free time; many students on campus feel pressure from the clock. Between juggling involvement in student organizations, internships, relationships with friends and family, and jobs both on campus and off, students are always struggling to get everything accomplished.
“I try my best to get homework and studying done as soon as I can instead of putting it off and procrastinating,” said Etzler.
While this may seem obvious, procrastination is a college norm. When a big assignment is due in a morning class, all of us students complain and shake our heads, talking about how we were up until 3 a.m. completing it. When papers are due in afternoon or evening classes, it’s common to see classmates bolt in, clutching papers still warm from the printer. We often know when assignments are due, but rarely do we plan when we’re going to work on them, instead letting the due dates pounce on us and drag us to our laptops as the 24-hour window before the deadline begins to close.
So, what are some ways to change these procrastination behaviors and be more proactive?
“Techniques I utilize to well-manage my time are keeping up with my daily planner and using sticky notes to monitor small achievements,” said James.
Planners can be helpful tools when keeping track of obligations such as due dates and meetings. Personally, I use an hourly planner notebook, so I can easily look to see where I have to be, what I should be doing, and at what time. If you’re someone with a schedule that fluctuates a lot day-to-day, or have a variety of different involvements, an hourly planner can be helpful.
And if you don’t want yet another thing to lug around in your backpack, you can download free apps to your phone that offer the same functions as a physical planner, such as Google Calendar, Vagaro Pro, and Tiny Calendar.
Here are some other tips to beat procrastination and get work done:
- Break your work up into tasks – A huge presentation and an accompanying research essay can be intimidating; Who’d want to start that? However, if you break the assignment up into tasks, (research, outline, PowerPoint, citations, etc.) it’s much easier to get started— no one likes looking at an empty screen.
- Create a reward system for yourself – Set deadlines that come with rewards and consequences. For example, telling yourself you can hang out with friends on Saturday if you finish the outline of your paper by Thursday. For this tactic to work, it’s important to not fall victim to peer pressure. If you don’t meet your goal, go through with the negative repercussion. Act as your own parent.
- Limit leisure time and distractions – Curb the amount of time you’re spending on your phone, watching television, etc.
- Be proactive – When looking at syllabi, don’t just look at the current week. Be mindful of what’s due two weeks, three weeks, from now; are they lengthy assignments, short assignments? How heavily are they weighted? Be aware of what’s coming so you can plan accordingly.
There’s no one-fix solution to managing your time efficiently. We all like to hang out with friends and spend our time having fun. However, it’s important to remember why you’re at Mount Union—to get your degree. Also, the Center for Student Success and your professors are here to help you, so feel free to utilize them when you need help.