Juggling work, classes, assignments and exams and trying to have a personal life in the meantime can be an immense challenge for most students. Trying to handle everything on your plate may seem like Mission Impossible, but there’s an answer to your problem: proper time management. The following tips will help you organize your time better and gain control over your academic and personal life.
1. Make a Thorough To-Do List
The first step to managing time more efficiently is building a list of all tasks you have to accomplish. Make sure you highlight the most important tasks or organize your list items in order of priority, and don’t forget to calculate how much time completing each item will take you. Leaving important assignments to the last minute is one of the most common mistakes students tend to make, and it can have a great impact on the quality of your work and, implicitly, on your grades.
Finally, don’t forget to write down any deadlines and, if you have a job, add your shifts to the list too.
2. Schedule Your Day
Find an organizing or time management tool that fits your style and add your to-do list to it. Plan your study sessions around the time of the day when you are most alert and remember to set a few hours aside for socializing or relaxation. If you work non-stop and don’t let your mind unwind, you will eventually burn out. Most importantly, ensure you get at least 7 hours of sleep every night if you want to be focused and productive the next day.
3. Planning Is key
Allotting enough time for planning, research and just thinking about your work is essential to complete your tasks efficiently. Although it may seem like you’re losing precious time, you will see that if you spend a while processing new info and planning your work before diving into action, you will avoid a lot of redo’s and will finish everything faster. For instance, if you have a paper to write, before starting your research, consider your objective and make a list of all facts that you will need to gather to support your arguments. This way, you will avoid wasting time on resources that may prove to be irrelevant later on.
4. Be Realistic and Make Room for Flexibility in Your Schedule
When planning your day, you should typically allocate around 8-10 hours for studying, working, or any other practical tasks. More than this, and you’ll be struggling in vain, as your brain and body will simply be too tired to handle more work efficiently. If you have a lot of classes scheduled today, for instance, you might want to postpone independent study for another day – and actually stick to it – to ensure you’ll be fresh enough to focus.
Moreover, you must keep in mind that some tasks may take you longer to complete than expected. This is why it’s recommended to allow some wiggle room in your schedule in case things don’t turn out as planned.
5. Exercise to Revive Your Mind and Body
Although you might think that working out will be just another tiring chore that will eat up even more of your time and energy, it can actually be the best way to liven you up. Your body can get stiff from all that work and studying, and exercising will get your muscles moving and energize you, while also helping you clear your head. Fitting in just a 10-15 minute jog here and there won’t disrupt your schedule too much, but it will bring you such great benefits!
6. Avoid Distractions and Procrastination
You’ve surely heard this countless times before, but it never hurts to hear it again: procrastination and distractions are the arch-enemies of productivity. Find a good place to study where you know you will not be distracted by noises, people or temptations, and steer clear of social media, your favorite mobile game, or any other things that might disrupt your studies.
Keep these tips in mind, review your time management strategies regularly to make changes where something doesn’t work, and you’ll see that you’ll finally have time to successfully balance your academic and personal life.