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5 Time Management Tips for your Grad School Success

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Picture of wall clock.

Wake up, study, go to work, go to class, sleep, repeat.

Between working 30 hours per week and taking 9 credit hours in Kogod’s Master of Science in Accounting program, this semester (Fall 2016) truly was a test of my time management skills. I was committed to graduating on time, and was determined to make it work. The key became finding a healthy balance between work and school commitments, and maintaining my personal relationships.

How’d I do it? Take a look at my Top 5 Time Management Tips below to find out.

1.) Write down what assignments are due everywhere. I had a master assignment list on my computer, a copy of the list on my desk in my apartment, and a snapshot of what was coming in the next two weeks on my phone. Having constant reminders of when upcoming tasks were due helped prevent any “surprises” before deadlines/exam dates.

2.) Know your time limits. Over the summer, I thought it would be reasonable to work, take classes, and take the first section of the CPA exam. I quickly realized after the first week of class that something would need to be put on hold. So instead of taking my first CPA exam at the beginning of November, I am now scheduled to take it at the end of next February. From a timeline perspective, it doesn’t make a huge impact on my career goals, but it allowed me to focus on work and school projects, while also leaving time for personal interests.

3.) Give yourself at least one week-night off. It’s crucial to take time during the week for yourself maintain a healthy balance of all your interests. For me, that was Monday nights. I’d make plans to see friends or put my phone on silent, curl up with a fuzzy blanket, and catch up on TV shows. It was a great opportunity to feel like I still had my own time to do things I love without taking too much time away from studying.

4.) Find where you’re willing to make sacrifices. Most of the semester I would wake up around 5:30 a.m. to work on homework before heading into the office, or would spend lunch breaks reading materials for class. You’ll find the mix that works best for you, but part of good time management is compromise in other areas.

5.) Stick to the schedules you set. Especially during the middle of the semester, I found myself making excuses for not starting assignments earlier, or waking up later in the morning. While you don’t want to overextend yourself, it is important to stick to your schedule so you don’t fall behind and have everything pile up later.

These tips are what helped most in my situation (and hopefully will help you along the way). I think the best way to manage your time, though, is to find the balance that works for you, and helps you become your best academic self.

So: wake up, do your best, find your balance, and repeat.

Interested in learning more about Kogod’s Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program? Learn more online.