One of the things that distinguishes a stellar student from the crowd is excellent time management skills. However, getting to that level is not an easy task for many students. As a university student, you’ll likely have to juggle a lot of things. From keeping up with your lectures to finding time for personal studies and maintaining a social life, the demands on your time are many and varied.
Fortunately, I’ve got a few tips that can help you become more productive and attain balance. Here are four things you can do to be a productive student.
Track Your Time
If you want to become better at time management, you have to know how you spend it. This will help you identify your time-wasters so that you can eliminate them. Additionally, doing this will give you a reasonably accurate idea of how long it takes you to complete specific tasks.
You can use a time management app to track your time (and tasks that take up your time), although checking the time regularly and tracking that can also do the trick. Write down how much time each of your activities take for 24 hours. Once you know how you are spending your time, you can create a schedule that allows you to achieve your goals.
For instance, consider assigning blocks of time (or apply the elements of Time Theming) for classes, personal studies, and exercise. You could also set apart time for socializing and resting. Anything else can fit into the free time you have. With such an approach, you will focus on the things that matter and still have time for everything else.
Sharpen The Saw
Have you heard the analogy about sharpening the saw? In a nutshell, it argues that you would be better off spending most of your time sharpening your saw so you can cut down a tree in a moment, rather than laboring heavily for hours to cut the tree with a dull blade. This analogy applies perfectly to student life.
Numerous studies show that the brain understands and remembers concepts better if it is well-rested. This means that rest should be a top priority for students. Don’t succumb to the ill-advised pressure of studying for hours on end without taking a break. You will only increase your stress levels and curtail your ability to learn.
Instead, aim to have at least 8 hours of sleep each night. When you are studying alone, take frequent breaks and engage in a different activity.
You may think that getting rest is a waste of time, but the brain actually synthesizes information when you are not consciously studying. This is why regular rest will make you a better learner.
Work with Deadlines
Deadlines are excellent tools that will help you go beyond your comfort zone. Always have personal deadlines that are stricter than the instructors’ because that will ensure that you turn in quality work with time to spare.
Deadlines work particularly well for those pursuing online university study. With online learning, disciplining yourself falls squarely on your shoulders. And the best way to ensure that you remain focused is to create and adhere to deadlines.
Here’s something I remind the people I work with as coaching clients that struggle with this: Stop worrying about due dates and make every day a “do” date. The deadline is the end of the line so you need to make measured progress on tasks with deadlines consistently leading up to that due date.
University education can be demanding and arduous. However, you can attain balance by working on enhancing your time management abilities. Follow the tips I’ve shared above for starters and you’ll be well on your way to becoming more productive and leading a more fulfilling life.