Time management is something that many people struggle with, especially busy students. And when it comes to the end of the school year, it can become even more challenging to stay organized and on track.
This is one of the many specific areas that our tutors help their students with. When a busy university student is struggling with time management, it can disrupt even the brightest students’ attempt at managing their studies. For this reason, we’d like to give some additional advice to take with you on how you can improve your own time management skills. Whether it is a big problem for you or something you only struggle with from time to time, time management is something most of us need to hone in on.
Avoid procrastination and distraction.
Procrastination is often the biggest culprit when it comes to time management struggles. What procrastinating really comes down to is simply putting something off unnecessarily, most often due to some level of anxiety or fear. With that being said, one of the first things to analyze if you are someone who does struggle with procrastination is the underlying reason – whether big or small – as to why you find yourself having a hard time getting things done earlier on. This is something that will be unique for everyone, so really try to do some personalized observation on this one. It has been said that asking yourself why 5 times gets you to the root reason as to really why.
Something that helps overcome procrastination is to trick your mind into taking your task into incredibly small, bite-sized pieces rather than looking at its entirety, which can be daunting. If you have a paper which is due on Friday you are feeling overwhelmed about, make a list of the small to-do’s that will get you towards the final finish. For example, instead of having “submit assignment/project” as your task, try breaking it down into even smaller increments. If it is a writing assignment, on Monday, one task would be to finish the first paragraph. Check it off when completed. Second, write the following paragraph. Check off when completed, and so on. Breaking down tasks into smaller tasks tricks your mind into not feeling so overwhelmed by the big picture.
Work on one thing at a time
Following our tip on how to overcome procrastination, it is only fitting to bring your attention to our second strategy, which is to work on one thing at a time. It can be tempting to meld into your next task as you are still on the first one when one or more large projects are due. You want to get it all complete sooner than later, which can take you all over the place in a messy, no-order sort of way. This can cause burn-out and can lead to habitual procrastination as the next time you have the assignment to work on, you feel as though the same thing will happen – that everything will again pour into your focus at one time. By making a clear and manageable plan before beginning and sticking to it, you will have much better chances of getting things done in the grand scheme, and creating healthy habits for any future projects.
Tackle small tasks to start.
With that being said, when setting a clear and concise plan to follow in order to complete your work on time, try putting your smallest tasks on the top of your list. You will feel more accomplished earlier on, and thus more compelled and liberated to continue onto your heavier tasks.
Set goals for each week, followed by scheduled rewards.
Something that has helped students tremendously in mastering their own time management skills, is to set goals to complete by the end of each week, and also plan rewards to enjoy after those goals have been completed. This incentivization gives you something to look forward to before your task is even complete, and will keep your chin up through the thick of it.
Plan ahead by creating a to-do list.
To-do lists can be a lifesaver. Writing everything down and creating regular lists isn’t natural for everyone, but if you can learn to create this habit it will help immensely in the long run to become a more organized and structured student. Creating these habits will help you with all of the above tactics in order to conquer your own time management adeptness. Try creating weekly to-do lists before beginning each week, and see how it feels for you. When creating these lists, make sure to follow the above strategies;
- Break down tasks into mico-increments.
- Ensure you do not move on to your next to-do until the prior is complete.
- Write clear, manageable tasks in order from smallest to greatest.
- Include the scheduled reward(s) to look forward to in your list, so that it is shown in the entirety of your week along with your projects and assignments!
Time management can be a tricky thing to master, but with the right manageable strategies to follow day-to-day, anyone can become proficient and efficient when it comes to their own busy student schedules.
Working one-on-one with a tutor can be exceptionally helpful when it comes to having accountability and support for these routines in order to create the necessary healthy habits that will stick, eventually becoming second nature!