Alarm clock with a dull background to show the time

October 14, 2022, by aqykd2

Time management at University

I’m sure it’s been quite an eventful summer for all of us! The first years were probably excited to graduate and move to university. Whereas it felt like a much-deserved break after the final term examinations in the last academic year. But irrespective of whether we’re starting or returning, one aspect of student life that many of us struggle to deal with is time management. It is difficult to transition from a schedule-free summer to term-time when you’re always out and about. Additionally, it is difficult to find a balance between your academics and social life. Although writer-to-reader, we both know we have a preference 👀. 

As a second-year student who is involved in a society committee, works a part-time job, and has been (trying to) complete her readings on time, I thought it might be useful to share some tips about time management. 

1. Write a to-do list

It’s common to feel overwhelmed by only thinking about the number of tasks you’re being expected to complete with deadlines. This could lead to you feeling burnt out quite easily. What I found helps best with this is always maintaining a to-do list of the things I want/need to complete. It is especially helpful to keep adding to these lists considering my poor memory! I like to include the most trivial tasks such as hoovering or doing laundry, because they can still be time-consuming. This also helps me break my work down into smaller units and gives me the satisfaction of throwing in little check marks next to the task. 

2. Have your priorities set straight

It is easy to get derailed when some tasks seem more fun and appealing than others. But it is crucial to think about your long-term goals and make decisions accordingly. For instance, I try to prioritise anything university-related or academics over say, my job (that brings me money to be able to go out!) If something doesn’t require your immediate attention while you’re already busy, you could always push it to the next day’s list. Don’t forget to leave time for self-care and your own interests either!

3. Plan ahead; delegate time for everything 

This is the most useful advice I follow for myself, and I strongly recommend everyone to follow as well! You could be using so much more of your free time if you just take 5 minutes each day to plan ahead and create a mini-timetable for yourself. I mostly add lectures, meet-ups, and work to the calendar on my phone as I plan for my day. It helps me stay efficient and productive by giving me more control of what I do with my time. As someone who stays in a house and has to cook for herself, I also like to plan my meals at least one day ahead. This is helpful because it saves me the trouble of walking into the kitchen famished and then deciding what I can cook. 

4. Don’t procrastinate 

This has probably been said enough in the discourse of time management and I’m sorry for bringing it up again but DON’T PROCRASTINATE. We love to sit on the bed and do nothing but scroll through our social media for hours but get going! We have work to do! That five-minute break could turn into two hours very easily! This is why it is also important to avoid distractions while working. I simply leave my phone in my kitchen because I know I would be to lazy to get back and bring it while I’m working (It helps!)

5. Reward yourself

Finally, reward yourself for being productive! It’s the best feeling to be back home in the evening and finally lay down in your bed knowing you’ve been productive and that you deserve the rest you’re going to get. You could also treat yourself to some good food, Netflix, or anything else you like! 

Pat yourself on the back because you have now had a well-planned, productive day! With an understandably overwhelming beginning to our academic term, it could be difficult to choose and prioritise work life, entertainment, or even yourself for that matter! But I strongly recommend starting off slowly with small steps to manage your time as they could make a huge difference!

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