How to Manage Your Time Effectively
Throughout GCSE’s, A-Level’s, and University time management is something I’ve had to work hard at. I like to think that now, in my fourth and final year of Uni, I’ve finally nailed it. I still procrastinate at times or abandon my work in favour of something more enticing, but for the most part I stick to my plans and my multiple to-do-lists and get my work done on time. It’s meant that my evenings and weekends are actually mine. I can sit back and watch a film or meet up with friends without feeling guilty about the work that’s waiting for me at home. Here are some of my tips for managing your time:
I love lists. Absolutely love them. It enables me to visually see what I have to do and it feels a lot less stressful seeing it all written down in front of me. I like to start my week with one giant list, which I can add to as and when things come up. Then at the start of each day I plan all the things I’m going to do, making sure to pick a few things off the weekly list. Keep it realistic! If you overload your daily plan with too many things, you’ll be stressed out and disappointed at the end of the day. It’s always more encouraging to get more done with your day than less.
2. Start Small
When you’re planning your day, start with the easier and shorter tasks first. You’ll be able to breeze through them which will get you into the right mindset for tackling the harder ones. You’ll feel accomplished looking at all the things you’ve managed to check off before it’s even lunchtime!
3. Give Yourself Time Off!
This is something I’ve been doing recently and probably the one thing that stops me procrastinating and mindlessly scrolling through social media. When you’re planning your day, give yourself some extra time to do something that isn’t work related. I like to allow myself an hour at lunch to watch TV/You Tube or maybe run an errand to get away from the desk. My brain can switch off from work guilt free as I’ve already spent the morning working, and I plan to go back to my work after. Just make sure that you do actually return to the work!
4. Stick to ‘Office Hours’
Similar to the last point about giving yourself time off, I aim to keep my work between 9am and 6pm most days. I find that starting work as soon as I’m up and ready for the day stops me from being tempted to do other things. Then by stopping at 6pm (or around dinner time) you’re free to relax and enjoy your evening. This time to unwind before going to bed is so important. If you don’t get a decent night’s sleep, you’re work is just going to suffer the next day!
5. Change Your Work Setting
For most students at Uni, your bedroom is your office. Whether this means working from your bed or the desk in the corner. Spending this much time in the same space can make me feel claustrophobic and cooped up. Luckily, my town is full of really nice cafes, only five minutes from my house. If I don’t plan to go into Uni or anywhere else that day, I’ll go and sit in one of the cafes for a bit and work from there. Most have free Wi-Fi, and as long as you’re buying coffee then the owners are happy for you to stay!
Good luck studying!