We all have 24 hours in a day and how well you use them will determine how successful you’ll be in whatever you do—in this case, university. Planning will make it easier to balance school work, your day job if you have any, as well as your social time with family and friends.
Organising your day will make you more productive and able to complete as many tasks as possible with minimal stress. We’ll go through 8 time management tips you should follow as a university student to ensure you pass all your semesters.
1. Create a To-do List
Identifying what needs to be done every other day is the first thing you need to do to enable you to manage your time. Once you have a to-do list, prioritize the tasks according to their urgency and how much time you need to complete the tasks.
Having a plan ensures that you know what to do and when you are supposed to do it. Other than having a plan, it is also important to understand your moods and the sort of work you are in the mood for.
For example, you might be feeling creative, this is the right time to work on a writing assignment. If you are feeling focused, this is the right time to research a term paper or study for an upcoming exam.
There are many to-do list apps available to make it easier for you to keep track of everything. I personally use Todoist which I’d recommend downloading given its minimal design allowing you to focus on your task and ability to sync across all types of devices.
2. Work With Schedules All the Time
Agendas and schedules come in very handy when you are trying to be an effective time manager. Look at all the upcoming assignments, CATs, or term papers and write them down according to due dates.
Use the agenda to schedule breaks or fun things to relax your mind. You can break your time into 15-30 minute blocks depending on your concentration span.
Some people can’t concentrate on one thing for more than 30 minutes, so having a little break will help you to be more productive.
3. Break Down Big Tasks
Having a huge task like writing a 30-page research paper might feel overwhelming. What if you break it down into writing one or two pages per day? Sounds easy, right?
Use this approach for all your college tasks. Break down your big tasks into smaller tasks and work towards the set deadline. For example, if you have 100 pages to read in 2 weeks—you’ll need to read at least 7 pages every day (100/14).
If there’s an essay you need to write, break it down into 3 or 4 sections; research and outline, writing, revision, and submission. The good thing about breaking down your work this way is that you get to feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish one section—which will encourage you to finish the others faster.
4. Start With the Small Tasks
As we’ve already noted, huge tasks can be overwhelming and the feeling can be quite crippling which results in procrastination. Start with the smallest tasks and the ones that have the fewest dependencies then finish with the ones with complicated chart flows.
Ticking one item off your to-do list will give you the motivation to do the rest. You can also have 3 or 4 small tasks in one day and tackle the bigger tasks with complicated workflows the next day.
5. Identify Things That May Distract You or Waste Your Time
Distractions are everywhere! You should pay attention to what steals your attention when you are studying and doing assignments. Some of the most common distractions you’ll come across as a university student are:
- Social media
- Browsing the internet
- Calling and texting
- Eating and snacking
- Looking for study materials
To stop wasting your time with either of the above when studying, you should have your phone off or on silent mode. Using social media or your phone should come as a reward after having ticked off studying on your to-do list.
Ensure you take enough breakfast or lunch so that you won’t need to abandon your studies to go prepare a meal. Instead, you should use your breaks as snacking times. Also, before you start studying, ensure you have everything you’ll need in your study space to avoid burning some minutes looking for study supplies.
6. Don’t Multitask
Multitasking can lead to a drop in IQ points, similar to people who don’t get enough sleep. Juggling multiple tasks or assignments will see you accomplishing little or nothing. The key to productivity is accomplishing one task at a time.
Most times, multitasking is brought about by distractions. Therefore, identify your most common distractions; they could be emails, electronics, or social media and deal with them accordingly.
To combat these distractions, you should turn off all your devices. You should also fight any urge to switch to the next task unless you have finished the first one no matter how boring it gets. Use a timer to ensure one item on your to-do list doesn’t eat up the next item’s time.
7. Set Realistic Goals
Setting goals is essential because it helps you to stay focused on the bigger picture. Ticking off the set goals can boost your morale and improve your productivity. You should set small easily achievable goals over big goals for this approach to work.
For instance, instead of aiming to study for 10 hours in a day, you can decide to study for 2 hours, do another academic task for another 2 hours and then have additional study during other days of the week.
Meeting your daily targets will be more productive in the long run especially when it comes to preparing for an exam or a CAT. You can gradually increase your goals if the smaller goals become easier to achieve over time.
8. Take Breaks
Your study sessions shouldn’t be too long as I’ve pointed out in point #7. Break down your study routine into reasonable chunks.
For example, you could take a 10-minute break every 30 – 45 minutes. During the break, you can snack, meditate, walk, etc. Just don’t be sucked into TikTok, Instagram or whatever social media platform you’re on.
Manage Your Time on Campus
Consistent time management skills are a must for you to be a successful university student. These skills are also necessary if you’re to also succeed later on in your career or business.
If you work while studying, you’ll find it difficult to balance things. Nevertheless, these 8 time management tactics can also help you figure things out. With proper time management, the chances of acing every unit or subject go up significantly.