Between studying for exams, enrolling in new classes, reading books, and writing papers, there’s a lot of tasks to complete as a student. If you can try to master some or all of these time management skills, you will be one step closer to being able to feel the benefits of what proper time management can do for you.
Your task list may look long, but did you order it correctly? Start by writing down the tasks on a piece of paper. Make sure to add each deadline so that you can organize them in order of priority. Even if the list seems long, you can start grouping similar tasks together (i.e. reading, homework, appointments, etc.) and prioritize them in order of what needs to get done first.
If there is one task that will take the least amount of time – complete it first, so you can cross it off the list and move on to more important tasks.
Breaking it down
As a student, you know that if your professor asks you to write a 15-page paper, you may feel overwhelmed. If your professor said that you have to write a 1-page paper, you’d likely be feeling confident about getting it done. So, why not take that approach with all your tasks?
With large tasks, write down a deadline and work backwards to figure out how many smaller pieces you can divide it into to get it done by the due date. This is a really important time management skill! For example, if you have a book to read, check how many chapters there are and when the reading assignment is due. Then count the numbers of days you have before then and divide it by the number of chapters to see how much you have to get done on a daily basis to meet the deadline.
Schedulers and agendas (digital or print) can play a huge role in how we manage time daily. You can either be really serious about scheduling by breaking your time into 15 to 30-minute blocks and outlining what you’ll be doing, or a little more lenient by roughly planning your days in advance.
Make sure you put in time for family, jobs, and, most importantly, leisure. If you are under pressure, ask for help from your friends and family with your other activities. You may be surprised just how happy they are to help so you can succeed.
Many times, it is easier to set realistic and smaller goals so that you can complete them and gain momentum to accomplish larger goals. Slow progress is better than no progress, and by being able to complete the small steps, you’re making moves to accomplish your long-term goals.
This method also works for managing your time because you can’t see far into the future. By setting up your goals either daily or weekly, you are creating good habits that are within your control which grow over time and cause larger changes. For example, if you want to run a marathon, you’re going to start training daily with just a few kilometers and build up from there. In that same manner, you can train your brain and mind to grow stamina for studying. If you want to learn a new language, you can do daily lessons, and over time, you’ll realize how much you’ve learned as all the short lessons accumulate.
Waking up early
By setting your alarm clock for the early hours of the morning, you’re setting up your day to maximize your time. It may be difficult at first, but you will adjust. When you’re up early, you rush less, and in turn, stress less. Since the body and mind are getting up from a fresh night’s sleep, it’s the best time to get all your complex thinking tasks out of the way.
Waking up early has a lot of other benefits, too. For one, you’re up before most other people, so it automatically helps to eliminate distractions. It also gives you the time to focus on yourself before all your other commitments take center stage.
Doing away with disruptions before you begin working stops you from becoming sidetracked. If you spend too much time on your phone when studying, turn your phone off. Distractions can also be external sources. Try listening to light music to drown out sounds so you may study distraction-free. Or consider leaving your phone in a different room and create a specific location from where you will just work.
Although it may be hard for some to part with their phone, many people share the benefits of sleeping with it in a different room as they experience higher quality sleep. A very productive way to start your day is to spend the first hour of it phone-free, just doing the tasks you want to get done, uninterrupted and entirely focused.