Managing your time while a student can be very difficult.
You have a lot of classes to balance. A lot of students have extra curricular activities and/or work in addition to school work. So managing your time is incredibly important while studying and doing your school work.
Being efficient with your studying and all other academic work also allows you to have more time to pursue non-academic goals as well! It’s a win-win!
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1) Create daily to-do lists
At the start of your day it is so important to make a daily to-do list. It is great to write a daily to-do list for your whole day but this is a to-do list for just your academic needs.
While writing the to-do list try to prioritize it from top to bottom.
At the top of the list prioritize things that are due today and in order of size. For example, if you have an online exam you have to take by midnight and also a 1 page weekly paper due by midnight then prioritize the exam because it will be more work and can’t be rushed.
Your academic to-do list should also include things you need to study. You should also prioritize that portion of the list. The most efficient way to do that is to prioritize studying your “harder” classes so that you are more alert and able to give them more attention.
2) Take breaks
Breaks are essential for longer studying session. Really any study session that lasts at least 60 minutes warrants taking a break.
Breaks are the best way to keep you productive. This is because taking breaks allows your brain to re-set and be re-energized when you resume studying.
You can also use breaks as a little “reward” for studying hard! Allow yourself to do something fun while you are on your break. Just make sure that you set a timer for your break so that you don’t lose track of time.
I have a whole guide on taking breaks that give more advice on taking breaks and what lengths of time and when to take them that I recommend checking out!
3) Know your deadlines
Always. Know. Your. Deadlines.
Knowing your deadlines is one of the most efficient ways to manage your time.
If a deadline sneaks up on you by surprise then you end up spending hours or days frantically preparing for a test or writing a paper. That is incredibly poor time management!
If you know your deadlines then you have time to plan out the tasks that you need to accomplish. Meaning that you can stay on top of your school work.
4) Use a weekly planner
Weekly planners are one of the best ways to keep track of everything and ensure that you can logically plan out your school work for the week.
If you don’t already have one then check out my post on the best 6 academic planners for students.
Make sure to fill out your planner for the week either on Sunday or the Friday before. Never wait until Monday morning because you could have an assignment due or a test on that Monday and you don’t want to put yourself in that position.
For the major deadlines and test dates make sure to fill those out in your weekly planner as soon as you get your syllabus for each class.
Then each week assign different tasks for each class to every day and include major steps that are needed to finish projects or essays.
5) Study smarter, not harder
The main idea of this tip is to not waste time if you don’t have to! If you are efficient and logical with your studying then you can ultimately study less and have time to accomplish more things outside of school.
A few ideas for how to study smarter not harder include:
- Review your notes quickly after class so you can learn sooner what concepts you need to focus on.
- Know if your professor/teacher is teaching in a way you understand. If they aren’t then sooner rather than later find a different source to learn the material. A classmate, TA, online lectures, etc!
- Interact with your readings. Take notes, draw diagrams, etc while you are reading so that you don’t have to go back and do them later!
6) Turn off your phone
Your phone is a HUGE distraction and can really hold you back from completing your school work on time.
At minimum put your phone on silent and turn it face down.
But ideally turn it completely off to help avoid the temptation of flipping it over and checking it.
If you really can’t do that then lock your phone in a phone jail to completely avoid the temptation.
7) Don’t multitask
Multitasking seems like a great idea until you know that it actually decreases your productivity and efficiency.
You lose a lot of time and focus flipping between tasks!
So focus on completing each item one at a time on your to-do list. If possible even keep your background noise calm and not distracting. If you are watching a TV show that your brain is engaging with while you are writing an essay (here’s more essay tips!) then your brain will be flipping between the two tasks which will make it take even longer to finish writing your essay.
So to have good time management you will need to focus on one task at a time!
8) Always know all the requirements
Before you start on any essays or projects it is so important to know exactly what is required.
If you don’t know exactly what is required you could end up wasting time on unnecessary elements or frantically trying to add parts that are required.
Save yourself the panic and work on your time management by just always knowing what is required!
9) Stay on top of readings
The final important tip for managing your time as a student is to never get behind on your readings.
Getting caught up on reading is one of the most time consuming tasks and it’s something that if you rush it you can end up with a poor understanding of important materials.
If you find yourself starting to fall behind in your readings for one (or multiple) classes then make sure to put that at the top of your to-do list.
Looking for more advice for surviving college? Check these helpful articles out:
Make sure to ask any questions in the comments!