1. Use a Calendar:
Keep track of important dates and events by using a calendar, either physical or digital. Once you have your schedule, put all your class times, assignments and test dates into your planner. You can also fill in extracurriculars, birthdays, and holidays. Using a planner helps you see what times of your day are blocked off by prior commitments and what time you have to yourself. Google Calendar and Notion are great (and free) options for a digital calendar. You can also buy a physical planner from places like Amazon and Target.
2. To-Do Lists:
While a planner helps you visualize big events, a daily to-do list also helps with time management. Every night, take a few minutes to write out all the assignments and tasks you want to get done the next day. Just five minutes before bed can save you from wasting time the next day trying to remember all the things you want to accomplish.
Sometimes it’s unrealistic to finish all the tasks on our to-do list and that’s okay! To get the most out of your day, plan to do your most important or hardest tasks first. Write out your to-do-list in order from highest to lowest priority so if any tasks are left at the end of the day, they are your least prioritized and you are less likely to stress over not having them done.
4. Bye Bye Distractions:
When it comes to actually getting work done, we tend to get distracted a lot. Take note of what things take your focus away, whether it’s your phone or a noisy environment. Then, get rid of them! Putting your phone out of reach during a study session can help you focus on what’s most important. If you get distracted by friends or noisy spaces, try working in a quieter environment and watch your productivity spike.
5. The Pomodoro Method:
The Pomodoro Method (my personal favorite) is a tried and tested technique for those who struggle with procrastination. Break up your time into 25-minute segments, or “pomodoros.” Every 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break. After four “pomodoros,” take a longer 15-20 minute break. You’ll be surprised how productive you can be if you split your time up in smaller chunks.
6. Take Breaks:
Similar to the Pomodoro Method, it’s important to remember to give yourself a break. Burnout is normal but overworking yourself can lead to lowered productivity. If you find yourself getting tired during a working session, take a short break away from your desk. You’ll notice that breaks allow you to return to work with a renewed sense of energy and motivation.
7. Productive Hours = Best Hours:
This one is for my “I’ll just wake up at 5am to cram” people. While this works for some, not everyone is productive before sunrise. There is no point in waking up at 5am to study if your body is not naturally used to working at that time. If you find that you work best at night on a full stomach, use your after-dinner hours to tackle that to-do-list. Your productivity fluctuates throughout the day, so maximizing your peak hours is crucial to time management.
8. The Forbidden Word “No”:
Part of the reason life gets so busy and we tend to feel overwhelmed is because we say yes to everything. However, sometimes the best answer is “no.” When you find that you have too much on your plate, it’s okay to say no to going out or taking on an additional task (always ask for help!) Saying “no” might seem scary or like you are letting someone down, but it’s better than realizing you have taken on too much and can’t finish it all.
9. Quality over Quantity:
As humans, we think multitasking is a superpower. However, multitasking can actually produce lower quality work than we think. Instead, it’s better to focus on one task at a time and give it your undivided attention. Even if you spend just 10 minutes on one task and 10 minutes on another, you’ll find that your quality of work is much better. Think about it this way: do you prefer three complete and well-done tasks, than five uncompleted and not so great ones?
Lastly, and arguably most importantly, get a good night’s rest. Without sleep, the brain can’t consolidate the information you’ve taken in throughout the day. The more tired you are, the less alert you will be and the less likely you will be to remember the content you studied. Getting the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep per night is crucial to managing your time effectively.
1. Use a Calendar: