It was my second year of college when I got the knack of time management. My first year was spent juggling college, real life, my full time job and blogging. I also spent it hysterically crying, being pressed for time and having no social life.
College has been known and will put you through the wringer and at the end of the day, you’ll feel as if you’re being tugged into a million directions. Before you know it, assignments will start piling up, friends will become annoyed since you’ve yet again bailed on dinner. Or you have now resided to living full time in your pyjamas, in your bedroom. If this is the case and you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, I’ve got 7 ways to better time management.
#1: Study or fail.
One of the things you may have noticed when attending your lectures is allocated study hours. Study hours tell you how many hours you need to be studying that particular subject, so you can pass at the end of the semester. For example, one of my classes said I needed to spend 19 hours studying and my thought was ‘who got time for 19 hours of study?’ Least to say, I’m repeating that subject after discovering I really did need to study for those 19 hours.
When it comes studying and finding time, I suggest writing all of your study sessions into your planner (see tip #5). It not only helps with planning study hours but if you’re invited to dinner with friends, you can see if you’re available. This leads to my second tip.
#2: There is pushing yourself and then there is ‘pushing yourself’ burn out.
College entails hard work to pass subjects, assignments and exams. As a result, this means you experience periods of little to no sleep and relentless productivity that makes you question your sanity. Having discovered how quick insanity kicks in, it’s important to schedule ‘personal relaxation time’ as exhaustion sneaks up and can lead to burn out.
Scheduling a designated ‘day off’ is not only vital for your psychological and physical health but also for those living around you. Because who seriously loves the crazy bitch living in her pyjama’s and breaks down into hysterical tears at any given moment? No one.
Taking a day off is the day you’ve spent studying your little backside off for and is an excuse to lounge around the house in your pajamas’s and chilling. I love days off because this means I get to relax, reboot the system while watching my 27 pending YouTube videos that have been storing up all week. It’s also the day you can catch up with laundry because no one likes 2 day old granny panties. So when it comes to returning to another crazy and caffeine induced week of college, you have clean laundry and no more Bridget Jones styled underwear.
#4: Procrastination: Everyone’s worst frenemy.
One of the things that led to my down fall in my first and second year of college was procrastination. It was also what caused my poor choices of time management or lack of and spending 48 hours express writing all of my assignments on little to no sleep.
When it comes time to quitting procrastination and all things based along those lines, it’s something we really need to commit a full 100% to in order of it being a complete and utter success. This is when scheduling yourself and time for study is important. If you know you have an assignment due, a mid-semester quiz and dinner with a friend in the next two days, make a list of everything that needs to be done.
I do the following when it comes to beating procrastination:
- To Do Lists: these bad boys help with my anxiety while allowing me to keep an eye on what needs to be completed. I write things that need to be completed within the next 24 hours at the top and work from there on downwards to the things that are due later on that week.
- Symbols: I’m a big fan of symbols when it comes to shorthand writing my notes in lectures/tutorials. As a result, it has been brought over into my planner. If I know I’m not able to attend dinner with friends, I always put an asterisk (*) next to things that can be postponed. Exclamation marks means something is pending and needs to be completed. Form your own symbols and it will make your life just that little bit easier.
- 50/10 ratio: I’ve been known to time my study sessions to one hour block increments. Once the buzzer goes off after working hard on one subject, I spend 10 minutes doing whatever I want (which is timed) before hitting the books again. It makes studying and getting back to the task much easier.
#5: Do I or don’t I use a planner?
This one is non negotiable when it comes to planning and time management. Buy a planner to your specifications and write everything down that you’ve committed yourself to. Having that written reminder (where it can’t be ignored like a text message), will set you on the daily path of what needs to be done when you glance over what is due. It will stop you experiencing that gut wrenching thought of ‘oh shit! That 2500 word assignment is due at 5pm and its now 4.58pm’.
Ways you can stop yourself from experiencing that ‘Oh Sh*t’ moment and procrastination are:
- Copy every due date on every syllabus that has been unleashed by your course coordinators into your planner.
- If you belong to a group or club, write down meetings and other weekly commitments. This also applies for work and other social functions that might be expected of you.
- Write reminders 2-3 weeks before each exam so you can study.
- Look at your planner every damn day!
This is where so many people fail as they write down dates but never look at them.
#6: One baby step at a time.
The most common heard phrase of my college that springs to mind after, “wash yo damn hands!” is “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. In most cases, I feel like going back in time and rebuilding Rome in a day and pushing that person off a cliff, who made that quote. When it comes to seeing the large pile of what needs to be completed and the small pile of completed, take those impending items and break them down into doable steps.
Doing this stops you from your internal debate of ‘does this sh*t ever end?’ (yes, when you graduate!) but also helps with stress and anxiety levels. By breaking these items down, it makes your job easier as you’re less likely to procrastinate and become stressed.
#7: Those awkward hours between classes.
There have been times where I’ve not been able to have classes straight after one another. My third year of college, I had a three hour gap between classes and spent most of my time, walking around campus like a lost soul. Instead of resorting to skipping my next class and heading home early or spamming my Instragram account; I used the time to study, write a post/assignment or finish tutorial notes.
Using these hours wisely can help with impending tasks that can be completed. It’s also an excuse to head too the library and see what people are wearing or that gorgeous guy or gal from class/lecture is there. It’s also a great way to get that head start to research for that up and coming assignment of yours as you’re not fighting every other student for that assigned textbook or computer.
Overall, these are some of the handy ways I’ve used to beat the procrastination bug, lower my stress and anxiety levels so I can find time to relax. I hope these 7 ways to better time management will help you long term with your studies and work.
Until next time,