Time is a limited resource that plays a very important role in every person’s life. In fact, if you think about it time is much more valuable than money. As a student, you may feel like you never have enough time to get anything done. From your part-time job responsibilities to the upcoming projects, tests, quizzes, etc. student life can make you feel overwhelmed. Hence why so many students want to learn how to manage their time better. If that includes you, read on to learn how you can better your time management using these 10 proven tips.
Have you ever started working on a project and then 10 minutes into your work you start looking up funny cat videos? With the recent advancements to technology and social media, getting distracted has become easier than ever. And that’s why eliminating distractions when you need to work on an important task can improve your productivity by a lot. Such distractions not only waste your time but also decrease your efficiency in completing tasks. But don’t worry as there are multiple effective ways of eliminating distractions. First and foremost, you should start by putting your devices on silent so that notifications don’t bother your work. In addition, you can implement useful apps such as Forest and Tomighty (only for desktop). These apps will time your focus session and force you to focus on one task only.
Efficiency is the key when it comes down to time management. In order to stay efficient, you need to be in the right environment. For instance, many students find themselves losing focus when studying or working in their rooms. However, they tend to be much more productive in a library or school setting. There are multiple aspects that contribute to the effect of your environment on your productivity. For example, some students find it easier to study in a quiet study space while others prefer studying in places that include background noise in them. You may enjoy studying in a coffee shop since you can have constant access to coffee or maybe you like the chatter in the background. Thus, your right workspace may not be the same as most students since your workspace must meet your needs.
So you have four different projects, a midterm and your driving test coming up and you have no clue what to focus on first. Situations like this can be quite distressing and further decrease your time efficiency. Hence why writing down and prioritizing your tasks is so crucial. Studies have shown that people perform better when they have written down what they need to do. It makes sense when you think about it. To-do lists help dampen anxiety caused by constant thoughts about tasks. They also give us a structure and a plan that we can stick to. Furthermore, they provide us with proof of what we have achieved that day, week or month. Thus, when you prioritize your tasks and write them down in a to-do list, you will be able to focus better on your most important task.
Reinforcement is a wonderful tool that’s often used to improve learning and focusing on tasks. Reinforcement is a simple concept. Basically, when you do something that rewards you, you tend to enjoy doing it more and thus will do it more often! For instance, to make studying or working more enjoyable you can give yourself a small treat like a cookie after you complete a task. Or after completing a big project, you can reward yourself with a short trip to Vancouver Island. In addition to improving your time management, reinforcement prevents burn out and reduces stress!
One of the most important tasks in your life should be getting enough daily sleep. Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function including cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance. Hence why the less sleep you get the less time-efficient you will be during the day. In addition, lack of sleep can cause lower memory performance, high blood pressure, risk of heart disease and much more!
Most often the hardest part of getting a task done is gathering up the motivation to start on it. But the truth is if you want to get things done faster and better, then you should start on your assignments earlier. In order to do that, you have to set an early specific date and time to start up on the task. But if that’s not enough, start by breaking down the assignment into smaller sub-tasks. For instance, if it’s a paper you must be working on, break the paper down into sub-parts such as information gathering, forming an outline, making an introduction, etc. This process will help you view your tasks as achievable and help you start on them earlier.
Studying in short intervals has been recommended to students since forever. This is often referred to as the Pomodoro technique. In this method, you will break down your study sessions into 30-minute long study/work intervals followed by a 5-minute break in between each interval. The logic behind this technique is simple and it all comes down to evolutionary biology. The human brain can’t focus on a single task for long periods since our brains are meant to ensure our survival. And that’s why the deactivating and reactivating of the brain through short intervals of work allows us to stay focused much better. And thus improves our productivity and time efficiency.
As you may know, there are a lot of health benefits to regular exercise. But did you know exercise also helps you improve your focus, memory, and thinking skills? Aerobic exercises are proven to boost the size of the hippocampus region of the brain which is involved in verbal memory and learning. Moreover, exercise indirectly improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety as well. Hence why regular exercise can be so beneficial for time management (both directly and indirectly) especially for students who deal with tons of cognitive tasks from their school work.
Let’s say you have 3 different assignments and two of them are from your Math course and one on your English course. You have the choice to complete the math assignments first or work on one math and one English assignment. Which one would be the time-efficient choice? The answer is working on math assignments. Hence by focusing on tasks that are on the same topic, your brain will be able to better transition from the first task to the second one. If you suddenly switch from Math to English, different areas of the brain need to be activated for the new assignment hence why you wouldn’t be able to be as time-efficient.
Good time management skills are more necessary than ever for students in this day and age. With all the high GPA expectations, overwhelming job requirements, tougher curricula, etc. student life has become really dependant on-time efficiency. But worry not, as with the above proven-techniques you can become much more time-efficient when approaching your tasks.