Have you ever spent hours working away, switching from one activity to another, only to find that at the end of the day you haven’t achieved any of the things you set out to do?
If that sounds familiar, it’s time to get organised! Our Top 8 Time Management Tips will help you get the most out of your study time.
1) Make a to-do list
Put the tasks or assignments that you’re dreading at the top of the list and tackle them first. Then include the things you’ll enjoy doing, so that you have something to look forward to when the hardest work is finished. Most importantly, motivate yourself with a reward if you get everything on the to-do list done.
2) Dedicate a study time
Devote specific time to studying or doing assignments. Stay away from distractions by turning off your electronic devices – that means no TV, no tablet and definitely no phone! Respond to texts and calls during breaks or when you’ve attained your target. Steer clear of other distractions by avoiding checking email or surfing the web, except when you need to do some research or submit your work.
3) Use a checklist to prioritise
Checklists can be a big help in making sure you stick with a task until it’s finished – there’s nothing like the sense of achievement you get when you tick something off your list! Try setting yourself achievable goals: if you’ve got ten things on your list, identify the top three you really need to get done that day. Do this every day, setting new priorities, and you’ll be amazed at how much progress you make.
4) Get organised
Think carefully about the time that’s available to you. Take a look at your checklist and try and evaluate how much time you’ll need for your most important tasks. Remember: it’s human nature to hope things will be easier than they really are, so build in some extra time as a contingency. Now you’ve got your checklist and a realistic assessment of how long things will take, you can set aside the time you need to complete your tasks.
5) Stay focused
If you find yourself wasting time on unrelated activities, stop and review your to-do list for the day. Go back to your top task and ask yourself what’s stopping you from making progress. Do you need some help to understand the task? If that’s the case, talk to your tutor or teacher. If it isn’t, be strict with yourself! You’ve set yourself goals and you want to achieve them – so don’t let your mind wander.
6) Take regular breaks
Take breaks at intervals of at least an hour to refresh your mind. Reward yourself with a few minutes spent on an activity you enjoy, whether that’s taking a walk, listening to music or watching TV – just be sure not to overindulge until you finish your tasks! Relaxing your mind will make you more productive when you resume your studies.
7) Get sufficient sleep
Seven to eight hours of sleep every night will relax your body and mind and make sure you’re fresh for the next day. Conversely, insufficient sleep makes it hard to concentrate. Studying all night is proven to be less productive than studying for a consistent period each day, so be sure to include sleeping time in your daily schedule.
8) Don’t be afraid to say no
It’s okay to turn down an invitation from a friend or duck out of a family outing if you have an exam the next day. Explain your reasons and rearrange your get-together for a different time when you’ll be more relaxed and better company.