10 Tips for Time Management and Productive Studying
A student from Saint Mary's University shares her top tips for how you can keep up with your assignments.
Keeping up with assignments, papers, quizzes, and readings may get unruly without a set plan to help you manage your time and get things done. And even so, it may be challenging to focus your mind on studying or doing schoolwork when there is so much going on around you. So, here are a few tips to help you manage your time and get you in a mindset to study.
1. Make a list
The first step towards organizing your time and ensuring you get all your assignments done is making a list. Write out the tasks you must complete to physically visualize what needs to be done. You can do this on a piece of paper or electronically. Make sure that you include the tasks in order of importance on that list. Prioritizing will help you organize when you need to do something at a required time.
According to the Eisenhower Box, you should complete the urgent and vital tasks immediately, plan to complete the critical but not urgent tasks, delegate any urgent but unimportant tasks, and forget about any not urgent and unimportant tasks.
2. Make a plan
Once you know what needs to be done, set a specific time and date to work on that assignment. For example, if you know you’re a restless person who cannot sit down and complete a task when you plan for it, then give yourself a timeframe instead of a set number of hours. Additionally, filling this out in a calendar might help you keep better track of your tasks and assignments.
3. Set realistic expectations
Although making lists and plans are very effective in ensuring you don’t run out of time to meet deadlines, if you don’t set realistic expectations, you might as well have no plan. Be aware of your capacities and capabilities in studying. If you can only focus on one assignment a night, don’t plan to do more than one because it will be neglected and postponed to another day, complicating your schedule and organized plan.
4. Take productive breaks
Managing your time with organized schedules is excellent for staying on top of deadlines. However, working incessantly on assignments and readings doesn’t guarantee effective studying. Instead, make sure you take a break every 90 minutes to ensure excellent results. You can even take a break every 50 minutes if you feel you need extra study breaks. Try stretching, exercising, eating/drinking, or decluttering your area during your break to increase productivity and avoid fatigue.
5. Don’t leave things until the last minute
Procrastinators will be very familiar with leaving assignments until a few hours before the deadline to get done. Try to allocate a specific time or time frame to address your assignments as soon as they’re given to you. Getting things done before the deadline will reduce stress and worry and ensure the high quality of your work since you won’t be rushing.
6. It’s okay not to be in a ‘studying mood’
Sometimes, when several assignments need to be written, working on any of them seems out of the question. To battle your ‘non-studying’ mood, try doing something you enjoy, like watching a quick episode of your favourite show or exercising a little. Accept your feelings but don’t dwell on them. Acknowledge that you won’t study, think about studying, or even look at your textbooks and notebooks for the next few hours. Then, move on to something else that will uplift your mood, and allow yourself to let go of any worry.
Once you’ve taken a few hours, an afternoon, or even a whole day (if you feel you need it), go back to your calendar and reorganize the tasks that you were supposed to do during that time. It’s completely normal to fall into a rut occasionally. Just make sure you’re productive with your time and take an extended break when you need one.
7. Take advantage of your biological primetime
Time management focuses on planning and organizing your tasks to avoid procrastination. It can help your time-management skills if you find the time of day that your mind works most effectively and productively. Your biological primetime is the time in which you have the most energy, which means you’re more likely to work quickly and efficiently during those hours. Once you know what time of day you have the most energy in, try to schedule your work so that it falls into that timeframe.
8. Start with simple tasks
When you have several assignments, such as readings, papers, and studying for a quiz, try to find the task that seems the least difficult and which you would be most willing to work on and start with that. Pick an assignment from your favourite course to begin with, and once you’re done with that, you’ll likely be in the mindset to move on to other assignments.
9. Break things down
For more significant assignments, focus on breaking them down into smaller and separate pieces to not overwhelm yourself. By breaking down a large assignment into smaller tasks that you can complete at different times, you can make sure it gets done without the pressure and worry that comes with it.
10. Minimize distractions
If you’re distracted by something around you or something on your mind, you’re likely to end up procrastinating, and if you do manage to get the work done, it’s unlikely to be your best. Sit in a quiet room if you can’t focus with noise or sit in a crowded room if that’s how you work best. Regardless, make sure that you minimize distractions. Yet, some people don’t have complete control over their surrounding environment and may find themselves in a noisy living area. If that’s the case, try getting a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or finding a quiet spot elsewhere.
Every person has different requirements to effectively study and various time management methods, and the tips mentioned here are just a few of many. Find your own techniques and organization methods that can personally help you stay on top of tasks and assignments without missing deadlines.
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