Feel like time is slipping through your fingers? Clueless as to how everyone else seems to fit everything in? Relax. There’s no need to pull your hair out just because all this study planning seems overwhelming. In fact, it’s normal to feel this way when you first become a student. Besides, time management is a skill that can be learnt. Here are seven tips that will help to not only free up your time but lower your stress levels – and even give you time to have some much-needed fun. Yes, fun!
1. Write a big list
Write down absolutely everything you have to do in a week. Include worksheets, lectures, study time, exercise, home obligations, everything you can think of.
2. Write a schedule & study plan
Take a little time to work out how to visualise your tasks. For some, an old-fashioned, pin-up calendar is ideal, others are happy with apps or mobile phone calendars. Whatever works for you – just make sure it’s easy to see things at a glance.
First, punch in all the non-negotiable times such as work shifts and lectures. Now, when creating the schedule for the rest of the activities, think about how your brain and body operates and plan the most difficult mental tasks at a time where you’re at your freshest and most alert.
Remember to factor in time for socialising – and especially exercising. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that by skipping exercise you’ll make more time to study. In fact, providing you don’t go overboard, the more exercise breaks you make, the more alert you’ll be.
Factor in sleeping time. Remember that most people require a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night to function and focus well.
3. Be realistic
Certainly, some people are more capable of adhering to a rigid timetable and study plan than other, but you must remember to be realistic. There is no point in writing up some torturous, draconian timetable when the reality is you will spit the dummy after two days.
A general guide is to allow 8 to 10 hours a day for studying, working, socialising, running errands and doing anything else that needs to be done.
Also, allow for error. Even machines are built to allow for error, so why should you be any different? Sometimes, things go wrong, or take longer than expected. Factor this in.
4. Avoid time wasting
Procrastination and distraction can be a problem for all of us. Once again, learning how to avoid time wasting is a skill like any other. Have a think about your worst time wasting experiences and see what the culprits were: were you too tired to concentrate? Too bored? Was the room too distracting? Also, think about your most productive study times. Are there certain times of the day that you find it easier to concentrate? What’s the best environment for you to study in? Have a good think about these things to assess what works best for you.
5. Schedule mini exercise breaks
Exercise helps you clear your head in between study sessions. It also helps to lift your mood and improve concentration. Even regular five to 10-minute breaks will do wonders so factor them in.
6. Factor in dedicated study time
Once you’ve decided on your most productive time of day to study, factor in a dedicated study time with no interruptions – no emails, texts, social media or calls. Get in the habit of making this a strictly study free zone.
7. Keep some work with you
We don’t suggest you haul around too many things but if you have some printed out notes or info handy on your iPhone, you can cram in a little bit of study in the train or waiting for an appointment.
Sage Institute of Education – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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