Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2011

Back-to-school tips from Indiana University

Time's ticking. Time management can affect student learning from grade school through college and beyond, and multitasking is a black hole where much of a student's time goes. "There is emerging research that seems to indicate that multitasking results in compromised levels of success in each task," said Charles R. Frederick, Jr. director of IU's Student Academic Center. It might work for basic tasks, such as cooking and making an appointment over the phone, but not when it comes to class work and distractions, such as TV, texting or social networking. "It's not possible to study at a high level if one is not fully engaged," Frederick said.

Frederick's suggestions for parents with kids in elementary school: Parents with young children should be wary of putting a computer or TV in their child's room. "Young children should develop homework habits that eliminate distractions," Frederick said. "Children take their study habits with them as they move to high school."

Frederick's suggestions for parents with kids in middle school and high school: In middle school and high school, teenagers want to do it all - extracurricular activities, school and sports - but students and parents need to guard against over commitment. "There are so many opportunities that we never had in elementary and high school, but if you do too much you will wear yourself down," Frederick said. "Parents need to help students make wise choices."

Frederick's suggestions for college students: Students should make better use of the time between classes. Reviewing material following class is a productive use of time. It is better for students to break up their studying rather than doing it during one big block of time. "Students should talk to professors and faculty members," Frederick said. "Ask them how to navigate college since they did it successfully. If you ask faculty for advice it will make your college experience much more valuable."

Need more help with time management? Frederick offers these tips:

• Plan ahead. Whether, you decide to use paper, a cell phone, or a laptop, everyone should use some sort of planner, Frederick said. "We all fritter away time doing things that are inconsequential, but if you are forced to really account for how your time is allotted you may find that the most precious resource we have is often the one least well spent," Frederick said.

• Plan your study sessions. Do not approach your work haphazardly.

• Know your distracters. What keeps you from completing academic tasks? Identify those factors so you can avoid them.

• Don't let it ring. Turn off your cell phone.

• Stop tweeting. If you are working on your computer work offline.

• Get it together. Organize your workspace before you start to work.

• Split it up. If you are working in a group make certain that everyone is clear about their responsibilities.

• Learn to say no. No one person can do everything. You must make choices.

• Focus. There seems to be emerging evidence that multitasking is a less than optimal approach. To accomplish the difficult academic work demanded at IU students must focus.

• Slow down. Don't "run through" academic tasks. Apply yourself and concentrate.

• Prioritize. Again, you have to choose.

Frederick can be reached at 812-855-7313 and

For additional assistance with these items, contact Alyssa Goldman, University Communications, at 812-855-5960 and