When you have too much on your plate, time can be tricky, and that’s why you need to manage it competently. Have you ever missed a deadline for an assignment because you were busy with other assignments? Have you ever been later than you should when submitting a project that got you a less score than you deserved? Probably, we all have.
As a student, you probably notice that colleague who is always sitting at that front row and you wonder ‘when did he manage to finish all this?’. His day, just as yours, has 24 hours in it; he just happens to know how to manage it efficiently. Follow these tips & tricks to boost your time management skills and study better at university. Here’s the list:
1. Don’t Cram
Cramming is one of the few things that you will resort to assuming it will make you ace an exam or get better grades in an assignment. It is actually a sign of poor time management. While it might work once or twice, your brain can’t function well with too much information. Our brains are like a glass of water, if you fill it too much, it will overflow and nothing will remain. Cramming without giving yourself a break is like calling for a mess the next morning.
Instead of cramming, it is better to schedule your tasks once you get an assignment while bearing in mind the deadline. If there’s no deadline, you set one. If you’re the type of student that procrastinates till the last minute, it might be the reason why you end up cramming.
2. Make a Weekly Plan
Use a student weekly planner or a mobile app planner for students and regularly add all your classes, free time, assignment deadlines, etc. Mark your planner with different colours depending on the priority of a task and stick to one task till you finish it.
One mistake to avoid is thinking that you must follow everything as planned. This might end up messing your whole schedule once you miss a single task. Planning shouldn’t be strict; it should be flexible and changeable. Marking your priorities gives you leeway to reset the date of some tasks that are not extremely important at the moment.
A good planner App you could use is Trello. It has some great features that could help you organize your time better. Harvest is also another App that you can explore with a free trial to check out all its features.
3. Give Yourself a Break
If you believe that giving yourself a break is wrong when the work is not finished yet, change that belief. Research has already proven that getting back to a task after two hours or in a day is the best method to revise it effectively. Your brain is usually unable to focus fully for more than 90 minutes and so you need a break for a couple of minutes every 90 minutes. Plan enjoyable breaks. If you love drawing, for example, draw in your break. Breaks can also be used as a motivation for you to work more efficiently.
4. Say “No”
One of the challenges that you might face in college is committing to too much. If you struggle with rejecting, you must learn when to say “No”. Only accept what you can handle and refuse what you can’t. Don’t participate in a lot of activities or offer to help without proper planning. Student activities offer a good experience, but taking it too far is wrong. The time is yours; do whatever you want, but make sure to prioritize.
5. Combine Similar Tasks Together
A good time-management technique is combing similar tasks together. Let’s say you have a report on two chapters of a book and each chapter with a different deadline. It is better to just work on the two together. Your brain is already accustomed to the task and it knows the steps to follow to finish faster. This way you get extra time to maybe take a break and do something that you love.
6. Form Useful Habits
You might not be aware of it but your habits greatly affect your time. If you are a night owl or a Netflix addict who doesn’t observe time, it’ll usually be wasted on activities that are useless to you. Try to form a habit of always waking up early and sleeping early enough. This way you maintain your concentration throughout the day and focus more on your assignments. Also, try adding a deadline even to your breaks, that way time never passes you by. Exercising is also a good habit to develop, as it helps you focus more. Try Yoga or meditation when you lose focus to retrieve it back.
What other techniques do you use to clear your mind and manage your time?