Busy students can benefit from these time-management strategies
How many times have you found yourself thinking, “If only there were more hours in the day!” Probably too many! Since 24 hours are all we get, the trick is figuring out how best to use them. When you’re juggling the demands of life as a busy student, it can seem overwhelming to tackle everything that needs to be done. All it takes to make changes—even small ones—is a little self-awareness and a willingness. Those changes can have a big effect on your day-to-day life.
Here are some tips for changing how you manage your time. These can help you now, while you’re a student, and also serve you well in a professional capacity later in life.
- Make a List
Write down everything you need to do, from homework to chores around the house. Then group the items into categories. You could assign each task a number (e.g., 1=top priority, 2=medium priority, 3=low priority, etc.) or use another coding system (red = urgent, etc.)—whatever makes the most sense to you. The goal is to group all the items, so that you can start making decisions about them and ensure that the most important tasks get done first. It might help you see that there are a bunch of tasks on your list that are time consuming but not ultimately all that important to you. Maybe you tend to fritter time away on those. If you make a different decision, you free up some time. This is beginning to take control of your list—instead of it having control of you!
- Get some help
In this society, most of us put it on ourselves to handle everything. But there are often others in your life that could help you with some of the small tasks, without adding much to their burden. But it does require being strategic and thinking ahead, so you can be considerate of their time and give them some advance notice when you make a request. Think about someone you know that could help with one or more of the errands or logistical items on your list. If they say yes, offer to repay the favor—in a way that fits in with your existing schedule. If they say no, ask someone else. People who really want help tend to persist until they find it.
- Be prepared
If you know that you have a busy week ahead, get yourself ready on the Sunday before. Make a little checklist for yourself about doing the following:
- Review your schedule for the entire week
- Lay out your clothes for the next day
- Put all your books and papers in one bag
- Get to bed early. This can make Monday morning a lot less stressful.
- Take care of yourself
When you don’t feel well physically, you can’t do your best. Most of us let self-care fall to the bottom of the list. The truth is, it doesn’t take a lot of extra time to go to bed half an hour earlier, pack some healthy snacks to take with you, and walk around the block during your work day for some fresh air. All it takes is a little self awareness, and a bit of planning (until it becomes a habit). So fake it ’till you make it! You’ll perform better, and be less likely to get stressed out or get sick. Being healthy can save you a lot of time in the long run!
Print this list and post it above your desk, on the fridge and by your bed. Review it frequently and check in with yourself about whether you’re making the most of your time and energy to be and feel your best!
This post is part of the weekly blog of Seacoast Career Schools. We’re committed to supporting our students in taking steps towards a new career of their choice. If you're interested in a professional training program, contact us today to find out more, or to schedule a tour.