With all the demands of school, learning how to manage your time quickly becomes a priority. Better time management will help you be more productive, reduce your stress, and maybe even free up some time for socializing or sleeping. Here are four tips:
Make a list or schedule
The first step to better productivity is knowing what you have to do. This means making a list, at the very least, although some of us may go all out and create a color-coded schedule. A paper planner might be your thing, or there are many apps to use, but choose one and stick with it. Your to-do list or schedule needs to include everything you need to get done as well as what your priorities are.
Remember that it’s easy to get stuck doing little tasks in an effort to avoid starting bigger tasks, so take that into account when you schedule your time. Be sure to include planning time (like making your schedule!) and breaks in this step so you don’t find yourself getting behind right away.
Adjust your mindset
Procrastination is all about expectation. Do you think it’s going to be hard? Are you nervous about being able to get it all done? Any task becomes easier once you’ve gotten started, and studying is no different.
You can improve your motivation by changing how you think about what you need to do. Instead of worrying about failing, imagine that you’ve succeeded. Then get started. Other ways to change your thinking include taking a power nap or doing some guided meditation. You can find all kinds of meditations on the Insight Timer or Headspace apps.
Schedule regular breaks
Breaks are super important for mental productivity. We can only focus on one thing for so long before we get tired, so regular breaks help us recharge and work more efficiently when we come back. This is relevant both for breaks throughout the day and over the course of the school year.
Build breaks into your daily schedule, allow yourself to relax, and don’t focus on too much when you have longer breaks from school. Even top-level executives take a vacation every once in a while because it helps them to clear their minds so they can get more work done upon returning to the office.
Get rid of distractions
This includes both psychological and physical distractions. For starters, find ways to remove the distraction of social media. Set your phone to silent. Use the Freedom, SelfControl, or Cold Turkey Blocker apps to keep yourself from checking Twitter while you’re working.
With limited space in a dorm room, keeping your desk clear is important for productivity. Spend time decluttering before a big project and commit to maintaining it (you could put a monthly decluttering session on your schedule).
Doing even one of these things can help you manage your time better, so just pick one and start there. Once you see how it helps, you’ll be ready to start on the others. GradGuard is always around to help you with a little more motivation. Be sure to follow us on social media so you don’t miss a beat!