BREAK IT ALL DOWN
Make a study plan - set achievable goals and deadlines for yourself for each step
Set your goals clearly
List your tasks - break the assignment down into smaller sections
List potential study problems that could arise
List solutions to these problems, stay prepared for anything
Identify your own strengths and weaknesses
Develop a plan for the whole term
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY TIME MANAGEMENT?
Everybody has different aspects of life to balance, work, family, personal life and studies. In order to benefit from your studies you will need to feel that you have some measure of control over your study time. Gaining control of your time requires some thought and planning.
Ineffective time management means you get less done.
This, in turn, can lead to stress and anxiety, which are common problems when trying to juggle the demands of a busy life. By developing your time management skills you can alleviate many of the triggers for negative stress and work towards finding a positive and healthy work/life balance.
Effective time management also enables you to work your way, systematically, through your studies – breaking large tasks into smaller, more quickly achievable sub-tasks.
This in turn can lead to a greater sense of achievement as you progress, you can tick things off your ‘to-do’ list. This enhanced sense of achievement will help boost your confidence and enable you to develop your study skills further.
Learn to distinguish between important tasks and urgent tasks to manage your time better.
‘Urgent’ tasks demand your immediate attention, but whether you actually give them that attention may or may not matter.
'Important' tasks matter, and not doing them may have serious consequences for you or others.
Of the urgent tasks, which ones are more important?
It is a good idea to list your tasks in order of importance, rather than giving them an absolute ‘important/not important’ distinction.
Of the non-urgent tasks, which ones are more important?
Again, it is a good idea to list them in order, rather than giving them an absolute distinction.
Urgency and/or importance is not a fixed status. You should review your task list regularly to make sure that nothing should be moved up because it has become more urgent and/or important.
OTHER WAYS TO KEEP ORGANISED
Keep tidy! A cluttered space can be distracting, especially if you are trying to concentrate on work. Tidying up can improve both self-esteem and motivation. You will also find it easier to stay on top of things if your workspace is tidy, and you keep your systems up to date.
Keep track of your schedule. By using a diary or digital calendar you can keep your deadlines and appointments organised. You can also use this to preplan a block of time allocated to studying. It is useful if you let friends and family know that you do not wish to be disturbed during this time. You know what time of day works best for your concentration, plan around it!
Don’t try to multi-task. Generally, people aren’t very good at multi-tasking because it takes our brains time to refocus. It’s much better to finish off one job before moving onto another. If you do have to do lots of different tasks, try to group them together and do similar tasks consecutively.
MAKE A TO DO LIST THAT PRIORITISES YOUR TASKS
If you keep a digital To Do list on Google Docs, you can design a drop-down menu that can show the status of each task.
This can be particularly helpful with organising each task into categories such as “urgent”, “important” and “non-urgent”.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks can be very stressful. Remember that the world will probably not end if you fail to achieve your last task of the day, or leave it until tomorrow, especially if you have prioritised sensibly.
Going home or getting an early night, so that you are fit for tomorrow, may be a much better option than meeting a self-imposed or external deadline that may not even matter that much.
Take a moment to pause and get your life and priorities into perspective, and you may find that the view changes quite substantially!