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College Guide to Effectively Manage Your Time
During your high school days, you can easily ‘wing’ your subjects and pass it with flying colors. Good for you. However, we hate to burst your bubble, but the case is different when you enter the university. Subjects are twice, even thrice as hard. And so it is crucial that as early as now, you know how to manage your time. You need to learn this skill not just to finish your degree, but you can use it once you are working or whenever you have bigger responsibilities such as having a family.
If you are clueless where to begin, here’s a quick guide for you.
Evaluate How You Spend Your Time
First of all, you need to check how you are currently using your time. We encourage you to log your daily activities for at least three days. Once you are done, review how you spent your days and see if there are less important activities. Maybe you’ve been watching Netflix for four hours. Or perhaps, you waste two hours just browsing through your social media.
This exercise will help you eliminate unnecessary activities, which in turn can essentially free up more time.
Know Your Goals and Priorities
The reason why most people fail to manage their time is that they do not understand their goals. Simply put, there is no direction, and it is nearly impossible to create a plan. And so before you list down the things you need to do, the first logical thing is to identify your goals. From there, arrange it according to your priorities.
Some of us are not fond of literally writing down our plans. But this is proven to be effective if you want to manage your time. In addition, place your list where you can always see it. It could be on your fridge, a bulletin board, or your study table. You can also use apps or software that can help you manage your tasks. Trello is a popular choice and easy to use as well.
List Down Specific Plan of Action
Imagine if you have to write a ‘10,000-word reaction paper for philosophy’ on your list. Apparently, it looks overwhelming and undeniably stressful to think about. What you can do is to have a weekly or monthly calendar where you can plot specific actions targeting your goal. Break your task into smaller pieces before listing it down. Using the example above, you can break it down to this.
- Create an outline
- Do your online research
- Start researching offline
- Interview resource persons
- Write your draft (2500 words per week)
- Polish and proofread your essay
If you will notice, the list above looks more feasible.
Choose an Area Where You Can Focus
Establish an area where you can be highly productive. It could be your room, the library, a coffee shop, or a co-working space. Just make sure that there are fewer distractions. Likewise, identify which times of the day you are productive. Follow your body clock and make the most out of it.
Use Short Breaks to Scan Your Notes
Most college students are used to studying intensely days before the exam. But that could cause stress as well. What we encourage you to do is to scan your notes during your short breaks. Perhaps, do it while you are waiting for the bus. If allowed by your professor, record the lesson, and listen while you are commuting. Again, doing these small tasks can help you free up time, and you can do more things.
Go For a Quick Run or Rest
An effective time management plan should also include a rest period. This will give your brain time to relax, and you will end up being more productive and creative. You can have a quick coffee or run outside to breathe fresh air.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help
As passe as this may sound, ‘no man is an island’. You can only take so much, and it is good to seek help. If you can outsource people to help you with your research or your homework, then go for it.
Studying in groups is also beneficial. You may want to have specific topics assigned to different members and discuss them together during your study session. This eliminates the need to individually study everything which can also take a lot of time.
Remember that even if you plot your schedule, you should always leave a buffer. There are instances that you have to adjust. Thus, it is important that you are flexible too. Also, do not feel frustrated if you failed to follow your schedule every day. It’s hard during the first weeks, but once you get the hang of it, managing your time will be your second nature.
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