6 Time Management Tips & Tricks for Students

Success Strategies
time management myths

Time management is one of the most essential skills for a successful academic life. As a student, you have to learn to find a balance between studies, work, and your social life. That’s not always easy, and it’s why many students end up asking “who can write my essay for me at the last minute?” 

While it’s okay to ask for help, it is also valuable to learn how to control your time properly. Here are a few tips:

1. Track Your Time

First of all, you need to understand how you spend your day, so start with an analysis. Track how you spend your time for a couple of days. Write down everything you do in a day and for how long. You may very well be surprised by what you find because we tend to not notice how long we spend scrolling through social media or playing a game on our phone. It is a necessary step to increasing your performance with time management. Underline the main distractions and habits that are not productive or healthy and cut them out or decrease the amount of time you spend on those activities.

2. Create a Schedule for the Day

This might sound overwhelming, but creating a schedule is a perfect way to plan your activities. Writing a to-do list is good, but you also need to understand how long to spend on each task. There are several rules for such a schedule:

  • Be realistic. You may be too optimistic about how long it will take to do something at first, so when a task takes longer than expected, you can get disappointed and frustrated. Make sure you have some buffer time that can be used for delays.
  • Put in all the things you: meals, homework, commuting, social activities, etc. 
  • Plan breaks. Having a healthy break approximately every 40-60 minutes will help you study efficiently.

3. Set Realistic Goals and Rewards

To analyze how effective you are with your time, you need to set goals. These goals should be established for different periods of time, like a year, a semester, or a week. But also set goals for study sessions. One of the worst feelings is when you are anxious to start on a huge project because you don’t even know where to begin. A helpful trick is to break down huge projects into small manageable tasks. For example, steps for writing an essay might include reading the guidelines and requirements carefully, researching the topic, writing your thesis statement, creating the outline, etc.

Each of these steps is manageable and can fit properly in your schedule. One can also set goals as “read 20 pages” or “take notes of chapter 17” or even “write for 2 hours”. It is essential to know how much you need to do and when the task is finished.

Also, set rewards for the tasks you complete. It can be something as easy as eating a healthy snack, looking at social media, or taking a walk.

4. Do Not Multitask

Many students believe that if they do several things at the same time, it makes them more productive. Recent studies prove the opposite. Multitasking is actually harmful to the brain and can reduce productivity by 40%. Why? Well, because our brain does not focus on several things simultaneously, it just switches very rapidly, which provokes a decrease in cognitive functions.

So do not try to finish all tasks at once to cheat the schedule. Focus on one thing at a time, it’s all about time management.

5. Establish Healthy Habits

No matter how many times students hear about having healthy habits, they often deliberately choose not to follow the advice. And it is a big mistake and a productivity killer. The main factors of a healthy lifestyle are your sleep routine, dietary intake, and physical exercise.

Sleeping is directly linked to cognitive function and academic performance, so sleep deprivation results in poor grades and other possible consequences like stress, worsened mood, and anxiety. Your body needs around 8 hours of sleep to function properly, and it is better to wake up and go to bed at approximately the same time every day. Of course, one all-nighter will not cause great harm, but it is better to not make it a habit.

The same goes for your diet and physical exercise. To boost your brain, you need to take care of the body. Stay out of highly-processed and sugary foods, and choose healthy snacks, like fruits or nuts. For physical activity, one can choose to bike or walk instead of using a car or public transportation. Or you can follow exercise tutorials on YouTube for free if a gym membership is too pricey.

6. Use the 5-minute Rule

If you feel particularly unmotivated to start working, this rule might just help you. Just decide to do the task for 5 minutes. Turn off all distractions, like your phone and music. Focus only on one thing for 5 minutes. Often, the hardest part is to start, but when you’ve done it, you feel more inspired to continue. 

In Summary

Time management is a set of habits one does to be more productive, and it starts with understanding how you generally spend your day to eliminate everything unnecessary. It also helps to establish healthy habits and plan out your time. Just be realistic about it, set achievable goals and reward yourself.

Image credit: Pexels; Jeshoots.com