As students, we are constantly bombarded with assignments and new materials to study. It can be difficult to cope if we do not have effective time management strategies in place. I decided to spend some time collating a list of time management strategies that are helpful to deal with our hectic student life.
Time management strategies for students:
- Keep track of your time
- Prioritize the important
- Have a to-do list ready for each day
- Avoid multi-tasking
- Chunking together similar tasks
- Eliminate time waste on trivial matters
- Learn to say “no”
- Take advantage of free-time
Below I will explain further about each of the time management strategy. Additionally, I will include actionable steps you can take today for each time management strategy that I learned from my research on them. At the end of this article, you will have a firm grasp of the time management strategies you can implement into your student life.
Keep Track Of Your Time
The most important time management strategy begins with the knowledge of how your time is spent daily. By knowing how you spend your time, then you will be able to plan, alter and optimize it.
To begin, you will have to keep track of the duration you spend doing every task in your day. If it is study revision, how long do you take to revise a subject in a day? If it is for leisure time, how long each day do you spend on leisure activities?
Record down the time you spend for each task during the day. You may want to consider using a time-tracking software, such as a smartphone application, to record your activities’ duration.
After tracking the time spent each day for about a week. You will have a clear idea of how your time was spent. Now, you are ready to analyze how your time was used.
First, see if you are over-spending your time on non-study related activities. It is common for us to under-estimate the time we spend on non-study related activities. The time tracked will give you an accurate data of the situation.
Second, are your time spent on studying enough? If you find that your time tracker showed that you only spend less than 2 hours on focused study revision time, you might want to consider spending more time on study revision.
Taken together, adjust your next week plan of time to spend on non-study and study activities. Remember to continue tracking your time spent. As next week comes to an end, compare if your newly adjust time plan is reflected on your actual time spent. Repeat and adjust your time.
Managing your time is an ongoing process. You will need to constantly monitor and adjust accordingly. It will be well worth it.
Prioritize The Important
Differentiate between the urgent and non-urgent tasks when planning your day. Prioritize completing the urgent task at the start of the day. Your goal here is to complete the urgent task first.
By managing your time by prioritizing the urgent task, as important, you will get the important tasks completed in time. Your day will be less filled with anxiety about the urgent task. This will help you to keep an emotional balance when dealing with urgent matters.
By prioritizing the important things first, you avoid getting yourself into a stressful situation. That means you can avoid the stressful situation of rushing through tasks. Unexpectedly, such unforeseen rushing of tasks might get mess up your time planning.
At the week planning level, you will want to prioritize the urgent tasks towards the beginning of the week, as well.
Have A To-Do List Ready For Each Day
At the end of each day, prepare a to-do list for the next day. Your to-do list can be a simple tool to help you stay on track with your planned day.
Make your to-do list effective by breaking down large tasks into smaller tasks for a more focused execution. That way, you will be focus, and able to work progressively towards completing your day’s agenda.
Using a to-do list is a great way to monitor and ensure that your day’s goals are achieved.
When studying, you will have many subjects to manage. You might be thinking of multi-tasking between subjects at any given moment. But, you should not multi-task.
Multi-tasking is a bad idea. It drains your energy and focus due to the constant quick switching between tasks.
It is better to focus on one task at any given moment. This is much better for your energy level and focus. A targeted effort to complete a task will be faster than task switching quickly.
Manage your time by doing a singular task at any given moment.
Chunking Together Similar Tasks
An extremely useful time management strategy is to chunk together similar tasks. That means grouping tasks that require similar abilities back to back on your schedule.
The advantage of chunking is similar to the previous section on avoiding multi-tasking. You will want to group together tasks that require similar abilities, as it will save you on mental energy required for switching between tasks that require different abilities.
For example, you can chunk together assignment tasks and study revision session of a subject. Since both tasks are related to the same subject, your mind will be fresh about ideas from the assignment, which will make entering the mental focus on study revision easier and faster.
Eliminate Time Waste On Trivial Matters
It is common for many students to waste time on making decisions for trivial matters. Imagine the number of times a day you spend on thinking about the food to eat? When we wake up, we will spend awhile thinking about what to eat for breakfast. At noon, we start to think of what to eat for lunch. When its dinnertime, we begin to think about what food to eat.
Can you see the amount of time wasted on thinking about just food? Needless to say, the time wasted does not just applies to food. We also spend a considerable amount of time on deciding what clothing to wear for the day.
To avoid time wasting on trivial matters, you can see some of the world’s most successful people, like Steve Jobs choose to wear the same black turtle-neck shirt daily.
What we can learn from the world’s most successful people is to set a form of routine or default decisions for trivial matters. As a result, we can avoid wasting time.
Also, if we make quick decisions on trivial matters, we will have more mental energy for things that matters. This can greatly help to save you time and effort, which you can put into better use.
You can begin to setup routines or default decisions for trivial matters today. Start by deciding on the staple food for each meal, and default to that meal choice if you begin to take too long to decide on your meal. Prepare a simple set of interchangeable clothing that you can easily match and mix without much thinking.
By implementing these approaches to decide quickly on trivial matters, you can start saving your time today.
Learn To Say “No”
Be ready to say “no” to tasks or events if they are not essential. This is because your time is limited, and you will not be able to commit to all request on your time.
Learning to say “no” can help you avoid wasted time that can be used for your studies.
Take Advantage Of Free-Time
We cannot plan our time perfectly each day without any gaps. There are bounds to be gaps of free-time each day. These free-time can be very useful for us.
Take advantage of these free-time to learn something new. Pick up new skills or read more books that can prepare you for your future career plan. This can give you the edge for the competitive workplace you might find yourself in after graduation.
Career ambition aside, you can also use your free-time to explore hobbies. Spending time on your hobbies can be a great way to keep yourself recharge and boost your motivation for your studies.
There are many time management strategies that you can adopt and implement into your student life. The most important time management strategy is to keep track of your time. Only knowing where your time is spent, can you make the adjustment and implement the other time management strategies effectively.
Why is time management so important? Time management is important to get the most out of the limited time we have each day. By managing our time well, we can get more tasks completed each day.
Can I improve my time management skill? It is possible to improve your time management skill. This will take time and effort to implement effective time management strategies. As you practice good time management strategies, you will see improvement in your time management skill.
Time management is something you need to learn to be a successful student. Studying, homework, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, relaxing, and working part-time – it’s not easy to combine all that, but it’s necessary.
These are good tips! Prioritizing and planning are things to start with.