Chances are, school isn’t the only thing you have going on. Balancing your studies along with other extracurriculars and commitments can be challenging, to say the least. Sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.
Procrastination can be tempting but eventually, it catches up with you. Fortunately, there are some time management habits you can apply to your own daily schedule to ensure you’re making progress.
Use a Calendar
Carving out time each day to do the things you need to do is an important first step. Schedule time for schoolwork each day, whether it’s after your last class or in the evening when you have the quiet time you need. If you have a big project with a due date that is weeks away, divide it into small chunks and work on it a little each day.
We all face distractions in our daily lives, it’s the skill of tuning them out that we all strive to achieve. Along with other tasks, other people can pull your attention away from the work you need to do as well. Temptations like social media and that new binge-worthy Netflix series can keep you from your schoolwork as well. Start the habit of writing out all of the tasks you need to accomplish and start whittling away at it one task at a time.
If you find that larger tasks that take longer are more difficult to stay focused on, set a time for 15, 30, or even 60 minutes at a time and know that until that timer rings, you’re going to be working on that specific task. Some students find that by designating a specific spot to get school work done helps to compartmentalize distractions. Go at your own pace and know that it’s easy to get distracted! It’s getting back on track that’s the goal.
Make the Most of Wasted Time
It’s common to feel like we’re “wasting” time when we have some downtime, but the truth is that you can make the most of that time! If you have that book you’ve been meaning to read or that worksheet you need to complete on hand when you’re stuck in a doctor’s waiting room or commuting back and forth to school, you’re more likely to reach for it and use that otherwise “wasted” time.
If you have a job, find opportunities to work in study time, even if it’s on your lunch or dinner break. If you have extra time to kill between classes, find a quiet spot like the campus library or a favorite café and make at least a small dent in some of your assignments. Using these times to get your tasks done is great, but time management is also about finding time for yourself, so if you feel like you need a bit of a break, that is certainly not time wasted!
One popular expert tip for improving productivity is to create a micro-reward system. Choose something you want to do – such as watching an episode of your favorite show – and promise yourself that once you reach a set goal, you’ll reward yourself with it.
Reward yourself after reaching a milestone, after working for a specific period of time, or as you reach whatever goals you want to set. These rewards can be big or small, and know that each time you reward yourself you’ve reached a new goal! That accomplishment can sometimes be enough in itself.
Take Care of Yourself
Experts now realize the importance of physical health to performance at school. If you aren’t eating well and you get little exercise, chances are you’ll find it hard to focus. It can also be tempting to lose sleep so that you can work in extra time cramming for an exam, but you’ll probably find sleep deprivation hurts your performance when it’s time to take the test or turn in that term paper. Take the time to do something you love and that allows you to feel rested and recharged so that you can focus well when the time comes. This could be as simple as listening to music, or taking a walk.
Finding time to do everything can be tough, but with a few tweaks to the way you do things, you’ll find your productivity picks up. Even as you improve your results, though, it’s important to realize that there’s only so much that you can accomplish in the course of a day. Focus on what you do accomplish every day, rather than thinking about what you have remaining. To get more insight into how to make your time in school more successful, see our blog!