For many university students, time management can be a challenging aspect of their everyday life. Being able to allocate your time for studies, actively participating in extra-curricular activities, and still maintain a healthy social life is indeed not an easy thing to do.
Therefore, learning how to effectively manage your workload and prioritise tasks will help you a lot in striking a good balance between academics and social life. Additionally, it will help you to maximize your potential in university in a holistic manner.
Want to improve your time management skills? Here are my top 5 tips to help you get the best out of your 24-hours in a day:
1. Develop a To-Do List
Keeping a to-do list or action plan is necessary in order to create a work schedule. After your to-do list has been developed, it is also important to categorise the list by sorting out your tasks based on their importance and urgency. A great way to prioritise and perform this exercise is by referring to the Covey Quadrant (the 2×2 time management matrix popularised by Stephen Covey). This can help you to optimise your productivity and invest your time wisely.
You can develop your to-do list digitally on your laptop (via sticky notes or other relevant programs like Evernote) or physically on your schedule boards in order to keep you on track.
2. Create a Timetable and Stick to Your Plan
After defining your to-do list, the next thing is to develop an appropriate timetable, which consists of your daily plan for the week and your execution timeframe. Some of the common ways to create a timetable today include utilising time-organizing apps, pin-up planner board, or simply in your notebook. By creating a timetable, you can effectively gauge the time required to complete specific tasks.
Planning your work through a to-do list and timetable is indeed a great way to organize time efficiently. However, it is also important to note that what’s more important is having the discipline to follow through and stick to your timetable and plan. Having the focus and tenacity to maximise your productivity during your working hours will help you to create more free time for you to either rest and enjoy, or venture into other opportunities.
3. Minimise Procrastination
Often times, students subject themselves to stress because they procrastinate on things, delaying their course work and waiting to the very last minute to prepare for their tests and assignments. Procrastination typically occurs when you are forced to complete a task or revision within a few days, that was originally supposed to be done weeks in advance.
By procrastinating, you also risk the chance that you jeopardize the quality of your work. Having less time to complete also means less time to review and refine your work after the first draft. That’s why it is important to formulate a good strategy and foster discipline to avoid procrastination and always finish your tasks ahead of the designated deadline.
4. Drink Enough Water and Sleep Well
Due to the intensity and hectic schedule of college life, one thing that many students tend to neglect is their health. In the long run, maintaining a good physical and mental well-being is almost as important as having great academic achievements. Your health plays a significant role in your future success and sustainability of your career. You wouldn’t want to burn out in your late twenties or early thirties, would you?
A small but simple step to appreciate your body and maintain good health is to drink at least 2 litres of water and have 7 hours of sleep on average on a daily basis.
5. Take Some Time Off on Weekends
Life will be extremely stressful if you spend 7 days a week just studying and working. It is essential to balance your college days by also having some fun with your friends. Go out and socialise, do a karaoke session, and have a good laugh with friends. Having some downtime on weekends can really help alleviate a good portion of your stress, rejuvenate your mind and spirit, and be well-charged to take on a new week!
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