Being a student is tough. Between studies, after-school CCAs, friends and family it can be a real struggle finding time to complete assignments and meet social obligations. Sometimes it seems like 24 hours a day is not enough.
Instead of feeling frustrated or overwhelmed regarding the situation — good time management skills can help prevent anxiety and stress caused by having too much on one’s plate. In fact, time management is an important skill for students to master that can be brought forward into other aspects of their life as well.
Here are 10 tips you can adopt to create good time management strategies for yourself and say goodbye to last-minute panic.
1. Keep A Time Log
Before you start making any drastic changes in your routine you need to know what you do with your time. Start by recording everything you do on your phone or in a journal for the next three to four days. This will help you identify areas that you spend more or less time in, and paint a clearer picture as to how you can manage it more effectively.
2. Create A Master Calendar
Calendars are an invaluable tool for organising life’s many events at a glance. Create a habit of scheduling an event into your calendar every time you get invited to something important. Your calendar’s auto-reminder feature can be an early warning system, and having a structured place to review your schedule goes a long way into feeling like you’re more in control and on top of things.
3. Shut Out Distractions
These days, it’s all too easy to get distracted by our electronic devices whenever we work. Whether it’s a buzz or push notification, the few seconds you take to pick up your phone to browse or reply may not seem like much, but it adds up over the long run. Consider signing out of social media accounts, muting group chats, turning off your phone completely or even working in a different room from your phone when it’s time to get down to business.
4. Set A Long Password For Your Phone
If going cold turkey from your phone while you work sounds like an impossible task, a compromise is to make it harder for you to access the item that is causing you to procrastinate. A long password makes it inconvenient for you to use your device mindlessly, discouraging behaviour like glancing at your phone while studying. You’ll also become more conscious about how often you reach for your phone every time you start keying in the password.
5. Write Down Your Goals For Each Study Session
It’s very easy to get sidetracked while studying. That is why before each session, write down specific tasks you need to accomplish during the session. For example: “Finish question 1 to 10” or “Read and highlight important notes from Chapter 2”. This will keep you focused on the task at hand while you’re working.
6. Set A Personal Deadline For Every Assignment You Receive
When you receive assignments, set a mental note or reminder on your phone on when you’ll start work on it. Be forceful and specific. Instead of saying “I will start working on this piece of homework once I find the time”, use “I will start working on this piece of homework tonight at 8pm”. By doing so, you learn to be more accountable to yourself and your time.
7. If You Don’t Understand, Ask Immediately
If you find that you don’t quite understand the concepts taught by your teacher during lessons, don’t hesitate to ask questions during or immediately after the lesson. By doing so, you’ll save time and effort relearning the material in the long run, because you’ll be clarifying doubts as they arise.
8. Review New Information After Learning
Have you ever had a situation where you find yourself struggling to recall a lesson even though it was only taught a week or a few days ago? Whenever we learn something new, it is crucial to review it by the next day so your mind can process and retain the new information.
9. Get Enough Sleep
You’ll hear this a lot, but as we scramble for more hours during the day to complete our tasks, sleep is one of the first things we abandon in favour of more productive pursuits. But getting your eight hours of sleep a day can actually help you be more focused during the day. Create a cut-off time for homework each night and a set bedtime you can unwind and get the sleep you need to function at your best.
10. Have Realistic Study Goals
We all want to be the best versions of ourselves we can be. When we’re envisioning who we want to be, it’s easy to get carried away and imagine ourselves accomplishing everything on our to-do list with ruthless efficiency. However, every task takes time and energy — which can lead to you being discouraged when things don’t go according to plan. The solution? Be realistic when planning your studies, and set aside some leeway time for interruptions
When it comes to effective time management, it’s best to start with the big picture before narrowing it down to the details. Your calendar should provide a broad overview of your schedule, while studying techniques help you minimise distractions and stay focused. In fact, don’t rush to incorporate all of these tips at once, but do so slowly and turn them into habits. Soon, you’ll find yourself much more in control and avoid last minute tasks that can affect the quality of your work and overall grade.
Sometimes, the best way to catch up and get ahead in your studies is to attend personalised, intensive classes that help you achieve your goal within the shortest time possible. Physics Academy helps students from Secondary Schools to JC grasp and understand key physics concepts. We have helped over 1500 struggling students turn their grades into As and Bs within 3 to 6 months. To find out more about our courses and how we can help, drop us a message on our Facebook page here.