Want to find more time in your day? Use these tips from Harris Casel!
Does it feel like your teachers are conspiring to give you as much homework as possible? Does it seem like your exams all fall on the same day? If so, welcome to the busy life of a student! These tips are designed to help you make the most out of the limited time you have each day. Take a moment, and see how many of these suggestions you are already doing!
Trick #1: Treat studying like a job: Clock in and clock out!
When you are a student, your school tells you what times you need to attend class, but the school doesn’t give you a specific time schedule for studying. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make one for yourself! Create a study schedule by blocking out two to three hours per day. Block it out as though it is a class or a job you have to attend. Don’t schedule anything else over it. Find a space where you can close the door and be by yourself while studying.
Trick #2: Eliminate distractions!
You have probably heard this many times, but it’s true! Distractions such as texting, YouTube, and web searches can waste your valuable study time. Save these distractions for after your study block is over.
- Store your cell phone in a different room while you are studying.
- No TV while studying!
- Tell the others in your household that you need uninterrupted time for studying.
- If you need your computer or tablet for your homework, try to open only one or two windows/tabs. Don’t get distracted by unnecessary web searches. Search only for what you need for your homework.
Trick #3: Check how much time you are spending on screens.
Many of us spend hours each day looking at one kind of screen or another, whether it is browsing YouTube videos, texting our friends, posting to social media, playing video games, reading the news, or searching up interesting facts. If you find you are running out of time for the other responsibilities in your life—such as making meals, spending time with your kids, cleaning up—check how much time you are spending with your screens.
If you are a victim of too much screen time, try to get it under control. You might give yourself just a certain block of time each day for your screens. Set a timer, and stick to it. Or make a to-do list of other tasks you need to complete, and tell yourself you cannot look at a screen until those tasks are finished.
Trick #4: Manage your to-do lists and calendars
Managing your list of things to do can be complicated, but there are many apps and programs that help you get your life organized. Many people are discovering online calendars, cell phone reminders, and other systems for keeping organized. Try to pick just one system, and enter everything into that system. This includes everything from class assignments and test dates to your shopping lists, doctor’s appointments, and social plans. Set reminders to yourself well in advance of important tasks, and check your calendar regularly so you know what is coming up!
Trick #5: Communicate with your teachers.
If the stars seem to align in the wrong way every time, and your projects and exams all occur at the same time, try talking with your instructors. Your instructors may not be aware of the workload that other classes are assigning. They may be willing to tell you in advance when big projects are coming up, so that you can get a head start on them.
Trick #6: Take advantage of the early morning.
Some people are morning people, and others are not. If you can find the strength to do it, try waking up a half hour earlier in the morning. Sometimes this quiet time can be an ideal time to study. Or you can use it to complete another task that frees up time later in your day. Some people like to exercise first thing in the morning, and find that it clears their mind for the day to come.
Trick #7: Seize the small moments
Do you have any short “down times” during your day? Everybody needs some down time to decompress, but you may be able to find some minutes that can be used better. Waiting in line? Waiting for your morning coffee? Commuting to school or work by train? In these down times, you can take advantage of these extra minutes to work in some studying. You can study flashcards, quiz yourself, or read a few pages of an assignment.
Trick #8: Beware of the sofa!
Who doesn’t love to sink into the sofa after a long day? But beware! A sofa can spell the end of your productivity. Try standing up while you study. Make yourself finish your days’ tasks before kicking up your feet. Then when you finally are ready, enjoy that couch and your “you” time!
While students will never have a lot of extra time on their hands, we hope these tips have helped you to manage your time better. With the right planning and a focused approach to your work, you should be well on the way to effective time management!
These time management tips are a service of the Harris Casel Institute. We want to help our students develop positive study habits and find success in their career training programs. For more information, contact us at any time.