10.5 Time Management Hacks For Students | Academic Support | EWS

10.5 Time Management Hacks for Students

Time management hacks will help make your life at university less stressful and more productive. Plus, it isn't all that bad! Learning how to organise your time effectively is easy and we have 10 and a half hacks to prove it.

Why time management is important for students

Having the ability to manipulate time in your favour means you can spend more time doing the things you love. Like sleeping!

It's proven to reduce stress, which in turn will make you healthier and happier throughout your time at university.

You may also find that good time management will make your learning more effective. You will be more focused in class and less distracted while studying.

Harnessing this essential life skill will also help develop your independence and prepare you for the working world.

The principles of effective time management

There are many ways to schedule your time. But they can all be boiled down to 3 simple principles. Mastery of these will lead to mastery of your temporal future.

  1. Begin with the end in mind
  2. Execute your priorities
  3. Proactivity

Beginning with the end in mind, gives you a roadmap to focus on. Tackling your priorities head on reduces the pressure and makes long term situations more bearable. All of this is achieved through a proactive mindset.

Time management hacks to help you master university

1. Keep things tidy

An untidy work space has a negative impact on your time management. A student who works with a cluttered desk spends around 1.5 hours per day looking for things or being distracted by things.

This accounts for 7.5 hours a week doing nothing but looking for stuff and being pulled off task.

They say that out of sight means out of mind. When it comes to effective time management, this is a good thing. Things in sight are on your mind and a potential distraction that can waste your time.

2. Plan ahead

Did you know that 1 hour of planning can save 10 hours of working? It's true. Planning ahead epitomises the principles of good time management.

Planning requires you to think about the end goal in a proactive way. You can isolate your priorities and tackle them before they get out of control.

So crack out the planners and the highlighters and work out everything you need to do and how long you have to do it. Once you've planned, you don't have to worry about the big picture and you can tackle each task with 100% focus.

3. "Eat the frog"

20% of the average day is spent on "important" things. The other 80% is spent on things that have little to no value.

With this in mind, think about how you want to manage your time. "Eating the frog" means doing the hard thing first. Don't procrastinate, just do it. That leaves the rest of your day to do less valuable (more fun!) things.

4. Learn to say "no"

This applies to social occasions and studying. Good time management means having the right balance of work and play. If you have work to do, learn to resist peer pressure to go out every night.

At the same time, saying no can help you balance your workload. If you're doing project work, resist the urge to take control of everything. Delegation and collaboration are your friends.

5. Take regular breaks

Research shows that working in blocks of 40 to 50 minutes is optimal for productivity. Time your study tasks and structure your day into blocks. In between those times, relax and focus on something else. Get up and go for a walk.

A break of half an hour between study tasks will help you get more done. Good time management isn't about having your nose to the grindstone for hours on end, it's about working as effectively and proactively as possible.

6. Get 8 hours of sleep every night

It's proven that a lack of sleep affects your brain in negative ways. It affects your concentration, memory, mood, and overall health. To be a productive student, make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

There probably isn't a student in the country that will actually take this advice, but we can hope. Just remember – rest is good. Get some.

7. Use technology

Time management tools and student support apps are there to help you. Many of them include time management tools such as calendars, timers and to-do lists.

The best ones use gamification techniques to enhance your studies and make every task feel more rewarding.

7.5 Also, abandon technology

This tip appears in every piece of advice to help student time management, so it's only a half point. Reduce the number of distractions you can get by putting your phone on "Do Not Disturb" mode. This will give you a few hours of peace and quiet from your group chats.

You don't have to uninstall Twitter or anything drastic like that. Just put your phone on silent or do not disturb, turn it upside down and keep it out of sight. (Remember: out of sight, out of mind).

8. Crank up Classic FM

Classical music is proven to help both your mood and your memory. You don't need to know the names of anything or who composed it, just let the music play.

Listening to classical music increases brain wave activity, which is linked directly to memory. So, if you need to memorise some stats or quotes for a uni paper, Mozart is your man. The tempo of most classical pieces is similar to the tempo of the human heart. This synchronisation of beats has been shown to ease both anxiety and depression.

All of this puts you in a productive mental space, which allows you to optimise the time you spend studying and working.

9. Give yourself wriggle room

Jumping immediately from one task or meeting to the next may seem like a good use of your time, but it actually has the opposite effect. There will be many times that a task you think will take you an hour, actually takes two.

So, when you're planning your study time, give yourself plenty of wriggle room. And again, don't forget to schedule your breaks! Without that break it’s more difficult to stay focused and motivated.

10. Stop trying to be perfect

Students who are perfectionists are also the ones who are most likely to procrastinate. Perfectionists can often make rods for their own back.

If any of these statements sounds familiar…

  • "I can't start the next task until I've finished this one"
  • "I can't work until I've tidied up"
  • "I need to be in the right mood to study"
  • "I can only study in my perfect environment"

You’re a perfectionist and you're procrastinating as a result. Learning to let go of those little habits is one of the hardest things to do, but if you can overcome them, you will find yourself more able to manage your time.

Effective time management is a key skill for university survival. Mastering this essential study skill will make you happier and more successful at uni. Hopefully, these tips can help!

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