So, as we all know, the schedule of a student at university is intense.
It is action-packed and it can become quite overwhelming when it comes down to having to juggle all your commitments.
Between your academic modules, the co-curricular, personal relationships, and just overall life, it is difficult to be able to fit everything into the same day.
Now I know what you’re thinking, but just bear with me.
I am definitely not wanting to drag this topic out any more than what it needs to be. It has been labored for long enough now so I’ll try keep this read short and sweet.
The very nature of university floats around the principle of flexibility when it comes to any aspect of structure. And so, with this in mind it can be something of an art to time-manage effectively.
So, what is the first step to take towards becoming a time management wizard?
UNDERSTAND ‘BLOCK’ TIME
We all have 24 hours in a day to get stuff done.
Yet some people manage to somehow find time for way more things than others.
How do they manage this?
They understand the concept of block time.
So, what is block time?
It’s a highly generic framework for how the average person might go about their day:
8 hours for sleeping
2 hours for cooking
8 hours for classes
2 hours for social
1 hour for exercise
1 hour for getting ready (showering, dressing, etc)
2 hours to study
When you add all this time up, you get 24 hours.
Now sure, you may well have other commitments in your life that are not mentioned in the above layout, but as a general rule it’s a pretty good starting point.
If you and I are strategic enough about how we juggle this framework I am confident that we’ll identify that we have a fair bit more time than we originally thought.
The beauty of time management is that how you go about arranging it is entirely up to you.
PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE
An obvious point – admittedly – but an essential one at that.
The first benefit of doing this is that you’ll firstly ease any form of lingering stress pertaining to the day that is to come in the morrow.
The last thing that anyone wants is to have just endured a stressful day only to then be met by another wave of stress at its conclusion.
Reducing your stress by planning the night before then also translates into increasing your chances of having some sound sleep.
And I’m sure that we don’t need to bring up the point of the importance of sleep.
There is almost no feeling that is superior to waking up on the ‘right side‘ of the bed after a phenomenal night’s sleep.
The cherry on the cake is that by putting together a POA (Plan Of Action) for the day that is yet to arrive, is that you will be able to adjust to whatever curve ball life decides to throw at you.
So how do I plan for the day ahead?
BUILD A TO-DO LIST
Yeah, it’s a simple and underrated tip.
Not to mention that you’ve definitely had this tip thrown at you all too many times before.
But if you think of a to-do list in the sense of baking a carrot cake, you can’t bake the cake if you don’t have the carrots.
Because they are essential ingredients in the recipe.
Much like a to-do list is for managing your time.
Having a to-do list allows you to easily comprehend the tasks which you are yet to complete.
Being able to easily digest the information from your to-do list allows you to create a visual process of sorts for how you might go about your day.
Related: Power-House Productivity Strategies
Great, I’ve got my to-do list but how do I know where to start?
Often times to-do lists can become immense to the point where you and I just don’t want to even entertain the thought of compiling a list.
The reason why many aren’t able to successfully execute their to-do lists is because they lack direction.
This is partly to pay to the fact of not comprehending the list that they’ve built for themselves, but also because they haven’t given thought to prioritize their tasks.
By identifying which tasks can be classified as important and other less so, you can strategically structure your list to better suit your day.
Prioritizing tasks also has the added bonus of providing a heightened sense of focus.
Being able to better focus on your tasks will allow you to glide through that list of yours in no time.
Okay cool, I’ve got my time management system in check and I am ready to jump right in.
WAKE UP EARLIER
This one is going to get a few raised eyebrows, but even just waking up 30-60 minutes earlier can make a significant difference to how much you are able to get done in a day.
There is nothing worse than having to wake-up and soon after feeling the build-up of stress.
Giving yourself just that little bit extra time can seriously help out with easing stress levels.
And if that isn’t enough of a reason in itself then getting up a tad earlier than usual gives you just that little bit of extra time to liberally explore other things of interest to you, without compromising your customized block time.
Linking to the topic of freedom is our next point and that is:
FLEXIBILITY IS KEY
Beyond the given, that life is about as unpredictable as anything else in our world.
Being flexible with your day allows you to absolutely maximize every single one of the 24 hours in your day.
If you are running a busy schedule then it can be difficult to find yourself in the situation where you literally have blocked time to get your tasks done.
A more realistic scenario is finding yourself with bits & pieces of time here & there to dedicate towards various things.
The value in identifying these segments of time is that they have a cumulative effect.
Meaning that you can complete a big task in bite sizes and thus the previously intimidating task is now not-so intimidating.
But what do I do if I still am just completely swamped with things that need to be done?
Have you ever felt that despite your commitment to improving your time management strategies you are just not accomplishing anything?
In this case it is probably wise to see where exactly you are spreading yourself.
Just like we prioritized our tasks, the same rule can be applied to our commitments.
Granted, it’s likely that many of your commitments aren’t truly flexible and can’t be changed but that’s just the way it’s going to be.
Let’s focus on those things that we can change.
A lot of the time the pressure we feel is self-induced in the sense that we over-commit ourselves.
If you are feeling like you are being pulled in all sorts of directions then possibly consider looking at where you are committing yourself.
THAT’S A WRAP
I hope that these few tips and strategies for time management have been of some use to you.
The challenge is to get creative with how you will go about shuffling and organizing your time.
I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU:
What time management strategy works well for you?
If you feel like anything should be added to this list then let me know in the comments down below!