Student Success Strategy #19: Time Management Part II: 20-20-20

Need to study, but you don’t want to devote your life to it?  Do you have one hour?

Use a timed study program.  My favorite is called 20-20-20.

Before you begin studying, gather what you need, including at least two things you need to study or work on.  Use two different classes with different types of thinking – maybe math and history.  Or use a single class where you need to study the textbook but also need to create a poster or visual aid.

Set a timer for 20 minutes.

Try to use a simple kitchen timer or an alarm clock.  Do NOT use your phone.  In fact, turn it to silent and put it in another room, or turn it off.  Is there something so urgent that you can’t be away from it for 20 minutes?

If so, take care of that first, but remember that urgency does not always equal importance.  Keep your goal in mind – success in college – and let your actions reflect that.

For the next 20 minutes, focus ONLY on what you decided to study.  Tune out everything else, and if you find your mind wandering, get it back on task.

Can’t focus for 20 minutes?  With our fast-paced lives, when television has breaks no more than 8 minutes apart, you may find that 20 minutes seems too long, but you need this much time to help your brain absorb information.

If  you have repeatedly tried 20 minutes and can’t do it, start with 10.  Build up to 20 as soon as you can.

Then focus, focus, focus.

When the timer dings, no matter what you are doing, put down that task, reset your timer, and begin the second task.

Ding.  Put down your studying.  Do something completely different.  Eat a snack.  Go for a walk.  Call a friend.  This is your reward for good work.

Your brain will continue processing what you have done.

But keep that timer on 20 minutes, and when it dings, repeat the process.

Student Success Strategy #19:  Use the 20-20-20 time management technique to get your studying done.


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