As a student, everyone’s always telling you that you need to do extra things as well as your degree – volunteering, part-time work, being a student rep or running a society etc. But how do you find the time to do those things while you’re so busy studying? Do you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day?
We’ve compiled a few hints and tips to help you manage your time. As well as helping you get through your degree with less stress, effective time management skills are really valued by employers and honing your skills now will help you succeed at work.
- Create a daily schedule
The key to writing successful daily schedule is to be realistic and create a plan that suits your personality. Maybe you prefer to spend the whole day working on one project, or maybe you’ll feel more motivated if you break the day up and do a little on each of a few things. If your schedule isn’t working for you, consider why not and tailor tomorrow’s schedule accordingly.
- Stick to your schedule
If you’ve planned to spend 2 hours working on an essay, you need to stop after 2 hours so you can complete your other tasks for the day. Keep a diary and set reminders for meetings and classes to make sure you arrive on time.
- Plan ahead and always target to be early
Plan to hand your assignments in the day before the deadline. Better yet, plan to have them completed the day before that (so you’ve a chance for one last proof-read before submission). That way if you’re delayed for any reason, you won’t need to panic. Plan to arrive at class 10-15 minutes early so if you get held up on the way you’ll still be on time.
- Tackle procrastination
Procrastination is often down to anxiety rather than laziness. If you’ve not started your essay, even though your schedule told you to, it’s usually because you don’t know where to start. If this is the case, you need to find some inspiration. Try talking about it with a tutor, a classmate, or someone who’s not involved in your course at all – sometimes people not so in the know ask just the right questions to get ideas flowing. Or try pacing your bedroom and talking to yourself. Just make sure you don’t stop talking until you’ve got some ideas of where to start.
Stop trying to multi-task. If you focus on one task at a time, you’ll complete it quicker and better than if you’re trying to do 3 other things simultaneously.
- Have a power hour
Schedule a time-block each day to complete all of the little things you need to do. Then you can tick off several items on your list at once; many people find this makes them feel super-productive and gives them second wind.
- Make use of dead time
Maybe you’re waiting for a bus, or you got to class 10 minutes early. Maybe you’d arranged to meet your friends in the pub and they’re running late. While you’re waiting, you could think about your schedule for tomorrow, or write a plan for your next assignment. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in 10 minutes, and how much time you can save by doing this.
- Balance your life
Humans cannot work non-stop. You need to be happy and healthy if you’re to stay motivated and focused. Make room in your schedule for socialising, relaxing and sleeping. And don’t forget that sometimes you might need to go food shopping, or clean the house.