Don’t Get Wound Up – Manage Your Time as a Student Practitioner


I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say that there isn’t enough hours in the day and weekends just never seem long enough.

Between juggling a full class load, an internship, directing Michigan State’s student PR firm, Hubbell Connections, and being an active member of MSU’s PRSSA chapter, my schedule can get pretty hectic. Luckily, I have learned (the hard way) some time management skills over the years that keep me from face planting when my life feels like I’m on a treadmill that’s going a little to fast.

Organization is key.

If you want to make the most of your time, you must be as efficient as possible. File EVERYTHING. Create separate folders for clients, classes, student organizations, personal responsibilities etc. That way, you’ll spend less time looking for what you need and more time creating.

Prioritize and set goals.

While it’s best not to procrastinate, be conscious of what needs to take precedence and what you can hold off on for a little while longer. Set daily and weekly goals of what you need to get done and hold yourself to them.

Be one with your to-do list.

Put your list on your desktop homepage or your phone so it can serve as a pesky reminder to keep you on track. The sticky notes app on my laptop is a life saver. Since I’m on my laptop 90 percent of my day, it serves as a reminder that maybe I should stop binge watching Scandal and work on some of those class discussion board posts I have been dreading.

You can never plan enough.

Planning how you will spend your time is the best way to ensure you are on top of your game. This one might seem obvious for everyone who has been around the block a time or two, but so many students miss this key concept when they are embarking as a new professional. There are so many different options to do this between all the physical and virtual calendars, but it is important to find what works for you and stick to it. At Martin Waymire we use Asana, which is a tool that not only allows you to make and share to-do lists, but also share them with coworkers and friends!

Make down time.

When you rest and relax you are refueling your mind and body so you can be energized and enthusiastic in your work, resulting in not only better productivity but better content. If your schedule is as hectic as mine, you might even need to schedule your personal time. That’s OK. It is important to have a good work-life balance, so don’t feel guilty planning a Sunday afternoon wine tasting or attending Martin Waymire’s Rocktoberfest!

Be self-aware.

What works for you might not work for someone else, and that’s OK. Find what drives you and run with it. Part of being self-aware is also knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Assess your weaknesses and be proactive so they don’t slow you down.

As a student practitioner it’s easy to lose track of time between juggling all of your responsibilities and maintaining your social life. Stay on top of your game and be motivated to do things today that will make tomorrow easier.

Katie Bylin is a student practitioner at Martin Waymire and a senior at Michigan State University.