Already, almost 7 hours of the day is allocated to sleep daily. Chuck in other engagements during the day and you quickly discover 24 hours is not that much after all.
The best students, whether consciously or unconsciously, have found a system that works for them. They are organized. Their management of time includes even enough time for fun.
That is how University life should be. The student experience must also include enough extra-curricular activities. Sadly, most students can’t seem to get the balance between academic and non-academic work in school just right.
With effective time management, you can get the best of both worlds. The following time management tips, hopefully, would aid you to get the best of your stay in the University.
1. Have a ‘must do’ list
Essentially, this is the foundation of your journey into managing your time effectively. You must write down all the things you feel you need to do.
Your list must include every important thing that can’t be compromised. So you must take the time to come up with this list. You don’t have to rush the process.
Making this list would ensure that, at a glance, you can see all the important things you need to do. It is a known fact that students generally skip attending to several important academic works until the last minute.
The result of this shoddiness is that the quality of academic work takes a hit. And of course, grades suffer.
So your list must include important academic deadlines.
2. Schedule your entire life as a student
There are several ways you can do this. You can use the good old calendars, your personal timetable or a planner pinned to your wall.
Smartphones and some free online tools would also come in handy here. As a matter of fact, your smartphone should be your best planner on the go.
Now upload everything on your list onto your scheduler of choice according to dates, times and level of importance. Also, you can indicate the level of priority with ticks or marks.
For your study periods, or times you need to do important assignments, synchronize the times you are most alert to fit with these tasks. That way you get to do them very well.
In your planner, the blank spaces during the day can be used to socialize. Leave at least 7 hours for sleep every day.
3. Flexibility is important
You must realize that your time management strategy is not set in stone.
A normal week for a full-time student is about 35 hours of academic work. These include time for seminars and lectures.
However, it is possible to spend less than that time in regular academic work some weeks.
You can use the extra hours gained by scheduling in your private study time. This too is not cast in stone. Flexibility means you can use that free time for social activities too.
No matter how meticulous you plan your student life, the practice is always different from what is written down. The reality is, we actually spend more time doing things than we envisaged.
So you need to make allowances for that fact too.
4. Research new information
It is important for time management that you take the time to plan and research any new information before integrating it into your time management strategy.
Researching new information would ensure you don’t fall prey to repetition that would only waste your precious time.
One way to do this effectively is to make a list of everything you want to research. And under each sub-heading, make notes as you go along. This would go a long way in making sure you don’t repeat the things you have already done.
5. Schedule exercise periods
Exercising regularly, ultimately has the same effect sleep has on your ability to learn effectively. Both can energize you for better academic performance.
So make it a regular habit to exercise about 30 minutes each day. It clears your head, makes you alert and can help you focus your mind to think better.
6. Don’t wait to the last minute or distract yourself
Procrastination and distractions must be avoided at all costs. One way to do this is to take note of the times and places you were most effective when studying. Also, note times you were distracted and what caused the distraction.
Then tweak your schedule to avoid the things that affected your productivity negatively.
For instance, while some people love studying in groups or with other friends, that situation might not be ideal for you. So schedule important tasks to avoid crowds or friends.
7. Periodic evaluation of your schedule
You must regularly review and evaluate your time management strategy. Remember, nothing is cast in stone.
The regular review would help you understand what works and what doesn’t. And how you must make improvements in certain areas.
One of the best things about evaluation and reviews is that you can even discover more free hours that can be used productively or for leisure.