Workshop helps students learn time management

By Jonathan Wroble

What are your worst habits when it comes to studying for finals? Do you work better at night or during the day? Do you schedule your life with a University I-Book or with color coded Post-it notes?

These were just some of the questions posed on Nov. 7 during a Counseling Center workshop called “Ten Minutes ‘Til Freaked Out!” After participating in a number of activities over the course of an hour, students left with a better answer to the workshop’s main question: What is your time management style?

“Time management has to work for you,” said Kristen Seemayer, senior in LAS and co-leader of “Ten Minutes ‘Til Freaked Out!” Seemayer is a Counseling Center paraprofessional, and she conducted both formal and informal research before making the presentation on time management with Steffen Olsen, junior in LAS.

“There’s actually not a lot of research on time management,” she said.

In addition to reading journal articles on the topic, Seemayer consulted friends, family and classmates in order to get a sense of the different time management techniques that work for different people.

“With scheduling, everybody’s different,” she said. “Some people like to be more structured with an hour-by-hour schedule, other people like to be more spontaneous.”

In terms of life planning, Seemayer’s workshop included references to various types of computerized schedules. At calendar.google.com, for example, students can create a login and password to their own Google Calendar, which can be shared with others via the Internet.

While strategies that help students to manage time are diverse and personalized, some problems with time management are more universal. One common problem – especially with freshmen – is the transition from high school to college.

“Freshman have an especially hard time learning to use their time effectively,” Seemayer said.

Andrea Lindemann, junior in LAS and fellow paraprofessional, gave insight into this first-year fault.

“In high school, you had a teacher telling you what assignments were due,” she said. “(In college), you don’t have professors telling you what to do every day.”

Along with Matt Bulman, junior in LAS, Lindemann led a workshop titled “Finals Preparation: Test This!” on Nov. 28. While the main focus of their workshop was study skills and test-taking tips, Lindemann and Bulman mentioned time management as an important prerequisite to finals success.

In explaining this relationship between time management and finals, Lindemann and Seemayer agreed that what students decide not to do is just as important as what they actually do.

“It is important (for students) to be able to prioritize their studying and say ‘no’ during (finals) week to peer pressure,” Seemayer said. “Passing your classes is always more important than a party.”

Seemayer also stated how students fall into patterns of poor behavior when it comes to time management.

“Sometimes people keep doing the same thing over and over even though it doesn’t work for them,” she said. She suggested finding a successful schedule for finals week and using it mark tests, papers and other assignments.

For more information on time management, students can visit the University Counseling Center at 610 E. John Street. For second semester, the Counseling Center paraprofessionals will hold another time management workshop on Feb. 6, 2007 at the Illini Union.