As students, we can often feel as though there is so little time to get everything done. This may be for homework, assignments, coursework, or even other commitments outside of school life. Whatever this may be, it can often lead to students feeling overwhelmed by everything they need to get done.
However, trying to manage our time effectively in order to get things done can feel equally overwhelming. This is why it’s important that as students we learn how to properly mange our time and what this actually means.
Continue reading to learn more about time management strategies for students. This article will take you through why time management is so important and give you my own tips on how to manage time better.
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Why do students struggle with time management?
Ever find yourself struggling to keep up with everything you need to do? Well, you’re not alone as it’s a common problem faced by students.
Time management can be difficult for students because more often than not, we don’t know where to start. However, this isn’t just a student problem as according to this article by Acuity Training, only 18% of people have an actual time management system.
Having no time management system can lead to adverse effects, such as increased stress and less sleep, which can also cause more serious problems, especially ones related to mental health. To learn more about this, check out this article by McLean Hospital.
Why is time management important for students?
As mentioned above, the figures for the amount of people who systematically manage their time is pretty low. However, you may be wondering if this really is a problem at all.
To properly understand why having a time management system is important, we first need to understand what time management even is. Time management is “the process of organising and planning how to divide your time between different activities.” This definition is from Mind Tools, click here to learn more about it and what time management is.
As time management is all about splitting up your time effectively, it is important for students to allow us to be productive in our studies. This is so important for us students, especially, as we have so many different things to be doing, from all that we have to study to all our other responsibilities.
How to improve time management as a student
Learning how to manage your time better can be a great way to improve your productivity, organisation and student life as a whole. The best part is that time management doesn’t have to be hard and can be easy to learn.
However, without knowing where to start, it can feel impossible. Check out the following headings for general time management tips for students and tips specifically for university students.
My top 4 time management tips for students
When researching time management methods, loads and loads of different suggestions can come up. While it can seem advantageous to have so many different ones, this can often be counterproductive.
It’s important to know which tips are the utmost important to begin properly managing your time, especially as a student. The following list are the rules that I follow for time management, feel free to steal them as I’m sure they will work for you too!
- Prioritise– Prioritisation is all about making sure that you do the most important tasks first. Whether this is some type of homework or assignment that has the closest deadline or if it’s the hardest topic that you need to revise. Prioritising can enable you to be more efficient with your time as you no longer have these important things to worry about later on.
- Create a schedule– While a schedule can sometimes feel very rigid, it is also a great way for you to stay on track. This is because it allows you to split up and plan your time effectively, allowing you to be able to complete each task fully.
- Stop procrastinating– Procrastination is a major problem that can lead to us wasting time and getting more and more stressed about doing specific tasks. This can throw your time management system off course and leave you with little time to do important tasks. This could even lead to them not being done to the best of your ability, which could affect your grades, if done with coursework or assignments.
- Don’t overload your schedule– Putting too much on yourself can easily lead to you not having enough time to do it. It’s not realistic for you to expect yourself to be able to do everything at once. There will need to be a limit on the amount of revision, extracurriculars and other activities, including working, that you do. The exact limit and ratio for each will depend on what you prioritise, however, it is important that it is a manageable amount so that you’re not burning yourself out.
My top 4 time management tips for university students
For most students, university will be the first time they have moved away from home and have had to be so independent and in control of their own time. Due to this, I have a few more specific tips that can help students to manage time in university life.
- Create a rota for home tasks– While at university, students will have to navigate living away from home and with new people. Important tasks, such as cooking, cleaning or even shopping, can often be an afterthought, however they still play an essential part in university student life. Creating a rota can help you manage your time and to plan when to do each of these tasks. A rota may even be a good idea to have with your flatmates as some of these tasks may be shared between you.
- Learn to say no– Particularly when you first start university, it can be easy to get caught up going to some many different social events and doing different things as you meet new people and adjust to university life. Remember that you don’t need to go to every social event and that it’s important to set boundaries, so you only do what you are comfortable with, that you realistically have time for.
- Schedule breaks– It is important for all students to schedule in breaks and to give themselves time to relax. However, this is even more true for university students as you have more control over your own time and will often not get breaks put into a schedule for you as you would in school or even college.
- Read ahead– In order to make the most out of your study time, it can help if you read ahead and outside of your course. This is in order to give you a better understanding of what is actually covered in your course so that less of your revision time is spent just getting your head around it. This can help you to manage your time by becoming more efficient.
My top 3 time management tools for students
In the age of technology, there are so many different websites, apps and computer systems and software that can aid us in our daily lives. When it comes to time management, this is no different as there is no lack of apps and websites that help you to manage your time.
However, it can be difficult to tell which of these are the best ones and which ones allow students in particular to manage their time most effectively. The following list sets out the best types of apps to boost your productivity and some suggestions as to which of these are best.
- Scheduling apps– Scheduling or calendar apps can be a great way for you to create both you schedule and your rota. These are great as they are already digitalised and can save you a lot of time from trying to create the schedule’s template to begin with. Notable apps in this category include Google Calendar, My Study Life and Apple Calendar. For more on these, check out this article by College Info Geek.
- Distraction blocking apps– Distraction blocking apps can help you to stop getting distracted by your phone when trying to study or do other kinds of work. They can be great for when you have a deadline or just for when you’ve set a specific study session. Notable apps include Dewo, FocusMe and Hold, which is my personal favourite. For more on these, check out this article by Timely.
- To do list apps– To do list apps can be great tools to help you prioritise tasks and figure out everything that you need to do. This can be great for managing your time as it can allow you to be fully aware of each of these takes and encourage you to complete them, which could reduce procrastination. Notable apps in this category are Habitica, Todoist, Google Tasks and TickTick. To learn more about these, check out this article by Zapier.
To learn more about these types of apps and more, check out this article by Top Universities.