Everyone has the same 24 hours available to them. Yet some people find it hard to accomplish much except routine tasks during their day, while others accomplish twice or thrice as much. What is it that makes time a variable entity in our lives and how can we learn to use it more efficiently? Let us look at some strategies on time management, especially for students.
Time management skills can be developed and improved with practice. First, you need to know how you use time as a resource in organising, prioritising, and succeeding in your studies while reserving time for other activities with friends, family etc.
Strategies on using time:
As we go through each strategy, jot down an idea of what each will look like for you:
- Blocks of study time and breaks
Plan blocks of study time in a typical week. Blocks ideally are around 50 minutes. Some difficult material may require more frequent breaks. Shorten your study blocks if necessary -but do not forget to return to the task at hand!
Break should give you an opportunity to have a snack, relax, or otherwise refresh or re-energise yourself.
Place blocks of time for studies when you are most productive.
Jot down one best time block you can study. How long is it? What makes for a good break for you? Can you control the activity and return to your studies?
- Dedicated study spaces
Determine a place free from distraction (no cell phone or text messaging!) where you can maximise your concentration and be free of the distractions that friends or hobbies can bring! You should also have a back-up space that you can escape to, like the library, departmental study centre, even a coffee shop where you can be anonymous.
What is the best study space you can think of?
- Weekly reviews
Weekly reviews and updates are also an important strategy.Each week, review your assignments, notes, calendar,say on a Sunday night. Be mindful that as deadlines and exams approach, your weekly routine must adapt to them!
What is the best time in a week you can review?
- Prioritise your assignments
When studying, get in the habit of beginning with the most difficult subject or task. You will be fresh, and have more energy to take them on when you are at your best. For more difficult courses of study, try to be flexible: for example, build in reaction time when you can get feedback on assignments before they are due.
What subject has always caused you problems?
- Achieve “stage one” –get something done!