Time Management

Transitioning into the work force and into an independent living situation are two monumental steps for individuals as they grow and mature.  Each individual’s journey into adulthood will be unique, but many young adults have similar challenges when moving to the next stage in life.

Some students have trouble with self-regulation and other executive function skills.  These challenges can manifest themselves in various ways.  One of the most common difficulties for young adults as they transition from regulated environments, such as their parents’ home and high school, into unregulated environments, such as college and independent living, is their ability to manage their own time.

During the past half a century, time management has been the subject of thousands of self-help books, manuals, audio recordings, and presentations.  The techniques that are touted can vary from the simple (keep a to-do list) to the complicated.

Fortunately for today’s student, there are several technology applications available that can help students immediately improve their time management abilities.

The most obvious application available is the digital calendar.  Digital calendars are an immense improvement over their paper and pen predecessor.

Digital calendars are becoming more and more common all the time. If students are already carrying a digital device—such as an iPod, smartphone, or laptop—chances are they are also already carrying a digital calendar. So, it’s particularly convenient to use this software, rather than carry an additional paper tool. Plus, this kind of portability gives the user the freedom to access their calendar data and to update it anywhere.

Digital calendars can provide enormous benefits over traditional pen and paper schedules. Calendar applications are not just limited to event scheduling; they can also be effective places to list and manage goals as well. Establishing good calendar habits can help a person stay organized and punctual. These traits become critical when a student transitions into the workplace, secondary education, and independent living.

Besides digitally duplicating a calendar, today’s calendar applications are loaded with time management tools. In particular, reminders and alarms are some of the most praised features of digital calendars—probably because paper can’t beep at you!

People with hectic schedules tend to have very full and complicated calendars. Fortunately, using a calendar application effectively is a skill that can be learned through repetition.  The more events the students schedule, the better at calendaring they will become. When first learning to use a digital calendar, events should be scheduled far in advance, and the act of checking the calendar should be planned and repeated each day. Everything that can be placed on the calendar should be placed there in the beginning. Removing events is easy, and the extra practice will help students learn the tool. Over time, it may be that certain activities don’t need to be represented in the visual calendar format, but that will be learned only with time and practice. The effectiveness of the calendar will depend on how well it is updated. In other words, the schedule is only as good as the scheduler is at documenting.

Further information on using multiple calendars, to-do lists and other technologies for effective transitioning can be found here.