Time Management for Academic Success 

Emma Delk, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, April 1st, Fairmont State University’s Learning Enrichment and Academic Development (LEAD) Center hosted Crunch Time!, an online and in-person event to teach students how to better manage their time leading up to and during finals. The event was hosted by Amie Fazalare, the Director of Legacy Engagement/Academic Success Coordinator at Fairmont State, and Megan Jones, the Academic Success Coordinator at Fairmont State, with Brittany Cuchta, the Coordinator of the LEAD Center also sitting in on the event. 

The main focus of the event was showing how to organize and prioritize one’s workload so when there are many deadlines at the end of the semester, students are well-prepared to meet them. Jones recommended using Stephen Covey’s Time Matrix as one way to prioritize different activities and assignments. The Time Matrix is made up of four quadrants that are divided by things that are important and not important, along with things that are urgent and not urgent. For example, Quadrant 1, is supposed to be filled with activities that are both urgent and necessary. As the quadrants get lower in number, the urgency of doing what within the quadrants also lowers.  

Jones says one should strive to live within quadrant two, which is activities or assignments that are important but not necessarily urgent. This means one can take the time to complete these activities while also not having to stress themselves out under tight time constraints. Unfortunately, most people live within Quadrant 1, but taking the steps to manage time well enough to start to live mainly in Quadrant 2 can be vital for managing one’s time wisely, along with creating less stress in the long run as one is not constantly rushing to get work done. 

Another time-management method both Jones and Fazalare recommended was creating a Four-Part Schedule Plan. This is composed of four separate schedules that when combined create a comprehensive guide for the semester, down to the hour. These four schedules begin with the broader term schedule, which provides one with an overview of the semester. What follows is a master schedule, which provides a schedule of fixed activities around which your varying activities are arranged. After creating these two schedules, there are then the two more specific schedules, which are a weekly schedule that contains the smaller deadlines and activities the master schedule does not have, and then a daily schedule, which is a brief yet specific list of the day’s tasks and the time blocks you plan to accomplish them in.  

By creating these different schedules one can have both a broad look at their semester goals, along with a daily plan of what to do to accomplish these larger goals. While these academic activities are important, Jones also recommends scheduling non-school-related activities in your schedules, such as mealtimes or nap time. She stressed the importance of mental breaks to give one the energy to push forward and achieve academic goals. 

Fazalare wants students to know the importance of seeing the big picture when struggling with time management and stress. If one is able to create these different schedules they are able to see when they have the free time that will allow them to get all of their work done. She says, “Organization is half the battle for time management”. Falazare shared how she has seen students that struggled with their grades in high school make the President’s List every semester in college, while some students with high GPAs in high school had to be put on academic probation in college. This difference is largely due to students having insufficient time management and study skills, which she believes are the difference makers to succeeding in college. 

If a student does not even know where to begin when creating a schedule or just needs help, Brittany Cuchta wants students to know that there are plenty of materials available on the LEAD Center’s website to help. Not only is there an entire section on the website dedicated to time management, but there are also blank schedules one can use to begin their planning. There are also plenty of helpers at the LEAD Center that would love to assist someone in getting started on organizing their semester. As finals begin and stress levels are high, students can feel a bit more secure in themselves with these new ways of organizing their time for academic success. 

Link to LEAD Center Website: https://www.fairmontstate.edu/academics/lead-center