Do plan out your day in detail—either the morning of or the night before. It’s not enough to simply know what you have to do; you have to actually know when you will do it. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
Don’t study in a place that’s potentially distracting. If it hasn’t worked before, it won’t work now. Save experiments and idealism for weekends and holidays.
Do plan study breaks. Better to juice yourself up for 5 minutes here and there then to slide into Facebook oblivion indefinitely.
Don’t keep working if your brain is shutting down. Whatever you’re working on will take twice as long and be half as good. Instead, go to sleep and wake up early. And grab coffee.
Do take 10-15 minutes during the weekend to plan for the next week. That English paper will be much less painful if you actually remembered it was due Tuesday morning, and maybe you can stock up on sleep before that Friday morning meeting at 6:30 a.m.
Don’t ditch your agenda planner. Most people can’t remember every single assignment, meeting, and chore that must be done each week. Write everything down, check it religiously, and watch your dependability skyrocket and your stress level plunge.
Do be prepared. Always carry headphones, your laptop charger, and extra books in your backpack. If something gets cancelled or ends early, you can sit down, plug in, and pound out some homework for as long as your heart desires.
Don’t let your room or apartment go to hell in a hand basket. Keep it tidy—or at least your version of tidy—so you can be feel fresh, clear-headed, and focused while studying.
Do use strategic decision making skills throughout the day. If something unexpected came up or you succumbed to Facebook oblivion, just make a new mental plan for the rest of the day.
Don’t let scholarly group study time turn into juicy group gossip time. Only do homework with people if you are able to persevere through monumental social temptations.
Do get little chores done while with other people. Little chores don’t take much concentration—so they can be done while socializing—and crossing them off your agenda planner will feel fantastic.
Don’t skimp on sleep. It makes you more prone to illness and is fatal to motivation.
Do know yourself. Discover whether you work best at night or in the morning, and plan accordingly. Determine whether you prefer several short study sessions or a couple long study sessions. Last of all, identify those bad habits that always seem to crop up, and develop an action plan for beating them. Your time management skills will love you for it.
Kelsey Crow attends Boise State University, is a member of NSCS, the Honors College, and is the Service Representative for the Honors Student Association. Her major is Communications with a Journalism emphasis, she writes weekly opinion pieces for the student newspaper, and in her spare time she dreams of international investigative journalism.