Sixth Sense: Time management tools

by Bill Paddack ([email protected]) 239 views 

Since we seem to receive way too many emails, distractions and temptations, we’re always looking for great tips on time management. So – hoping our future leaders can bring us up to date – we decided to ask six busy college students what technologies and methods they’re using to expedite the process of keeping a schedule. Here are their suggestions.

Matthew Seiter
President, Student Government Association
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
Hometown: Greenwood

College has shown me that it is very easy to overload yourself with responsibilities. There’s class of course, but I also have a 25-hour workweek along with many organizations in which I’m involved.

With so many obligations, I find it’s necessary to keep myself organized. Several smartphone apps are useful. One is Remind, an app that streamlines communication between a teacher and his or her students, which helps me greatly.

For dates and file sharing, you can’t beat Google’s group of apps – Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides. You can create a group with whoever you want as long as they all have a Google email and share information across all of their apps. This helps you all be on the same page by allowing access to information to everyone.

But my most useful planning device isn’t on my phone. I rely on a planner for most of my organization. Writing things down with pen to paper helps it stick in my mind. I keep it with me at all times. Even with all the technology we have available, I’ve found the old school method to be the most effective.

Jayla Wilson
President, Black Student Association
Arkansas State University
Hometown: Little Rock

When I first began school, upperclassman told me that there were three S’s associated with college, and I would only have time for two. The three S’s are studying, socializing and sleeping.

I valued all three way too much to let one fall to the wayside. Therefore, I had to find ways to manage my time. I’m also very forgetful, so I set alarms and reminders for everything.

I don’t find writing things in a planner very beneficial because you can easily lose the planner, and unlike the reminders on my phone it won’t ring 15 minutes before it’s time for me to go somewhere.

I also have my reminders connected to all my smart devices, so in the unlikely occasion that I lose my phone I can still keep my schedule on my iPad.

Two apps that also save me time are Dropbox and Google sheets. With these documents I can upload homework assignments, create and send meeting agendas, and sign up to volunteer all while on the go. I rarely ever have to stop and use a desktop or laptop because I always have access to my documents.

Tanner Bone
President, Associated Student Government
University of Arkansas
Hometown: Jefferson City, Mo.

Technology is certainly a big part of how many college students stay organized.

One thing that has helped me tremendously is making sure all of my devices can communicate to one another. Apps like Evernote make this very easy. For example, if I am in a meeting, I can use Evernote to take notes on my phone or iPad. Simultaneously, my notes will be available on my laptop, making the transition seamless.

This is particularly helpful as I update my calendar after meetings. It is also great to record contact information, save important details, balance schoolwork, etc.

All of my devices are Apple products, which works for me as I can ensure that I have all of the information I need regarding class work, extracurricular activities and more no matter where I am or what device I have near me.

Sean Alexander
VP, Student Senate; Marshall Scholar
Hendrix College
Hometown: Little Rock

The various tactics I use to keep organized are a mix between old and new technologies.

At the start of each semester, I enter the various commitments I have made – class, work and committee meetings – into my computer’s calendar application. Like many, this calendar forms the foundation of my schedule.

From there, I add items to my calendar as needed, using Web-based applications like Doodle, Google Docs and Dropbox to share content between co-workers.

However, unlike most of my friends, I do not use a planner. Instead, I keep a simple pocket notebook that is with me always. Every Sunday afternoon, I write all the items I have to accomplish during that upcoming week into my notebook. Then, before going to bed each night, I make a daily checklist to keep track of assignments and tasks that I must complete in the upcoming day.
By keeping my notebook always on my person, I can accomplish my daily tasks within the constraints of my regular commitments.

Hannah Aldridge
PR Director, Student Government Association
Arkansas State University
Hometown: Jonesboro

Having to balance schoolwork, extracurricular activities and a job is a lot to keep track of for a 20-year-old college student. But I have found some of the best apps and programs for staying organized.

A program that I rely on everyday is Google Calendar. It allows me to quickly add events on my iPhone, iPad or laptop. It has many helpful features, including the capability to send email notifications for events.

A helpful app that prevents plagiarism in papers is called RefME. This app checks for possible plagiarism and helps to cite appropriately. Another app that I use on a regular basis is My Fitness Pal. This app allows me to track food I eat, exercise and weight, and it allows me to connect with my friends to help me stay motivated!

One last app that I use is called Printer Pro. It allows me to print homework, emails and papers directly from my iPhone. There would be no way that I could stay as organized as I am without today’s technology.

Alex F. Flemister
President, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity
University of Arkansas
Hometown: Little Rock

In a world of constant communication and technology, organization is key. Between your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop and even smart watch, you have an abundance of avenues for information to be brought to your attention. Technological devices are a great resource, but in order for you to effectively use your devices and have a productive way of managing your schedule and documents, you must first filter how the information comes to you.

Separate what goes where. Then, don’t forget where you put it! Have this process set up before you start to organize your online filing cabinet. Continuity between devices and applications are a great way to start organizing your schedule as well as important documents and emails. If you can open it on your computer, then you should try and set it up where you can open it on your smartphone or tablet.

For me, some critical applications and software are Gmail, Google Drive, iCloud, Notes, Reminders, 1Password, Mint Bills, iCal, Blackboard and, last but not least, Siri. The three that allow me to have the most productive day possible are Google Drive/Email, Mint Bills and iCal.