Studying for a degree is great but it can be a challenge at times fitting everything in, especially if you have other commitments like a family or a part-time job to consider. The key to being successful at it is to manage your time effectively so you get the most out of your day without compromising on your learning or your health.
By being clever with your time you’ll work smarter, not harder, you’ll be more effective when you do work and you’ll still find time to enjoy doing the things you love.
Do the things you hate most first
Everyone has tasks they put off doing until they really have to because they are irritating, difficult or just downright boring. But if you put them at the top of your to do list and get them done first thing when you are most productive you’re far more likely to get them out of the way quicker, freeing you up to move onto more enjoyable pursuits.
Don’t do it alone
There are lots of project management tools out there and many of them are free to sign up to. You can create projects, set tasks, deadlines and reminders so you need never miss another one again. In addition, there is plenty of support for degree students. GSM London, for example, has a Student Hub with trained advisors who can offer guidance on everything from student finance and result queries to wellbeing and health.
Build a plan
On any degree course there is a lot to learn and you’ll have a timetable for all your lectures and tutorials to help you plan. But it’s a good idea to create one for your personal study time. Prioritise what needs to be done and when, and break it up into bite-sized chunks so you can quickly move through the less interesting tasks. Consider using Google Calendar or another online app which allows you to split your day up minute by minute. Revising for 30 minutes little and often is far better than trying to cram everything in, in one night. If you build in 30 minutes every day you’ll be surprised at how much you actually achieve over the course of a few weeks and how much you remember.
The importance of saying no
You may be super talented and hardworking but you’re not super human. There is no harm in saying no to people if you have important things to do in relation to your study.
Give yourself a great space to work in
Figure out where works best for you. Are you most efficient in the library or do you prefer nestling down in a busy café with a latte for company as you revise? You’ll be more productive if you’re in surroundings where you feel comfortable.
In addition, if you do a lot of study at home try and minimise the distractions there. If you can, have a room where you can close yourself off from anyone else and concentrate on the task in hand. If you don’t have space for that, try and create a corner which is effectively your university study area and let your friends and family know when to keep the noise down and not to disturb you.
Take a break
This may seem counterintuitive to time management but taking regular breaks can actually aid your concentration and increase productivity. Even if it’s just getting up and stretching or taking a short walk, it can be enough to break the boredom so you come back to your study refreshed.
Treat study as if you’re working
You may have lectures dotted about, an hour here, an hour there but treat the entire day as a work day instead so you are in study mode from 9.00am-5.30pm. Set a definitive deadline to finish for the day so you can go home and relax afterwards.
We would like to hear from you if you have any questions about managing your time. You can call us on 020 3797 4687 or find out more here.