12 Time Management Tips for Students
1. Eliminate distractions
Get rid of anything that distracts you and allows you to procrastinate from your work. While you are studying or writing, turn off your phone’s ringtones and vibrations and put it in a drawer where you won’t be tempted to answer calls and messages. Allow yourself to check your phone only once per hour. Get off Facebook, Messenger, Youtube and other distractions. Save them for when you are relaxing.
2. Be focused at the task at hand
Have you ever been so focused and devoted to what you are doing that time seems to have flown by? This mental state is called ‘flow’ – when you are completely immersed and involved in an activity. Flow actually makes you feel energized and motivated and increases enjoyment of the activity (not to mention being super-productive). To achieve flow, find a challenge, develop your skills, eliminate distractions, set aside enough time, set clear goals and focus completely on the task at hand.
3. Use a calendar
A calendar is a great way to plan your day. It’ll be an easier way to schedule your appointments and remember your obligations. It can also help you to study in blocks and devote time to different subjects. Set up a calendar on your phone or computer and ensure you stick to it. Factor in extra time in case an activity takes longer than expected.
4. Use a checklist
A checklist is a great way to ensure you stay on task, by listing your tasks and checking them off one by one once completed. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment to tick off tasks when completed.
5. Get organised
Once you have your calendar and checklist set up, you should be well on your way to being better organised. Being organised will save you a lot of time and allow you to allocate and manage your time better. Set up simple systems, such as document filing.
6. Schedule rewards
You need to treat yourself when you do the right thing. Take a few minutes out of every hour to take a break and do something you enjoy, like go for a walk or watch some TV. The break will also allow your brain to relax and be more productive when you return. However, whatever you do, make sure you don’t overindulge until you have completed your tasks.
7. Get a good night’s sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential to make sure your body and mind is rested and fresh for the next day. It can be hard to concentrate if you didn’t get 7 to 8 hours of sleep in the night before. Pulling an all-nighter studying is less productive then consistent study. Manage your time better by including sleep in the schedule.
8. Blocks of study time and breaks
As your school term begins and your course schedule is set, develop and plan for, blocks of study time in a typical week. Blocks ideally are around 50 minutes, but perhaps you become restless after only 30 minutes? Some difficult material may require more frequent breaks. Shorten your study blocks if necessary-but don’t forget to return to the task at hand! What you do during your break should give you an opportunity to have a snack, relax, or otherwise refresh or re-energize yourself. For example, place blocks of time when you are most productive: are you a morning person or a night owl?
9. Dedicated study spaces
Determine a place free from distraction (no cell phone or text messaging!) where you can maximize 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 center, even a coffee shop where you can be anonymous. A change of venue may also bring extra resources.
10. Prioritize your assignments
When studying, get in the habit of beginning with the most difficult subject or task. You’ll 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.
11. Postpone unnecessary activities until the work is done!
Postpone tasks or routines that can be put off until your school work is finished!
This can be the most difficult challenge of time management. As learners we always meet unexpected opportunities that look appealing, then result in poor performance on a test, on a paper, or in preparation for a task. Distracting activities will be more enjoyable later without the pressure of the test, assignment, etc. hanging over your head. Think in terms of pride of accomplishment. Instead of saying “no” learn to say “later”.
12. Identify resources to help you
Are there tutors? An expert friend? Have you tried a keyword search on the Internet to get better explanations? Are there specialists in the library that can point you to resources? What about professionals and professional organizations. Using outside resources can save you time and energy, and solve problems.
Be as specific as possible.
We hope that with these 12 tips, you can improve your time management skills and get the most out of your time, whether it be studying, playing or living.