When we're left to our own devices, we can find it difficult to manage our time and our workload. We've put together some top tips on time management to help you use your time effectively.
Learn how to plan
The best way to manage your time is to plan it out properly. Not only does this make sure you're spending enough time on each of your subjects, having a plan will help you feel in control. There are several ways you can do this:
- Make a timetable or daily planner. Every time you get set a new piece of work, write it down and the date it’s due. Having this to look at will help you know what you're meant to be working on at that time.
- Make a list. Get in the habit of making a list of everything you need to do that day each morning. This will help you focus on the important things and give you a sense of achievement for each one you tick off.
It’s always a good idea to have goals for the short, medium, and long term. Not only does it give you something to aspire to, but it also means that you’ll be able to manage your time accordingly. No matter how big or small your goal is, once it’s set, you’ll be able to work towards it.
Having ambitions gives you the chance to think about what you need to do to achieve them. In turn, this lets you schedule and manage your time to work towards that goal. This works whether it’s an academic goal (‘I want to get x grade in this exam’) or a personal one (‘I want to learn to play the saxophone’).
There’s nothing worse than being sat trying to force words from a textbook into your brain. When you know the pressure is on, the temptation is to sit and plough on until you fall asleep at your desk. But studies show this is often a counterintuitive approach, as not giving your brain regular breaks makes it less productive.
Taking breaks is important. Sitting down for too long can be bad for your health, and you get more done, have more time, and feel fresher with frequent short breaks. Set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to step away from your work.
Do the important things
The American writer Mark Twain once said, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." Why are we telling you this? As you've probably noticed we're obsessed with frogs here at Unifrog. But more importantly, it shows the importance of prioritising tasks to get things done.
The frog in this analogy represents the difficult tasks that we don't want to do. Doing these first not only clears them from your schedule, but also gives you a boost for completing them. The next tasks you have to do won’t seem so bad. Do the things you have to do first, then do the things you want to do.
Improvise, adapt, overcome
Even with the best planning, well-thought-out goals, plenty of breaks, and prioritising tasks, things might not always go according to plan. It’s therefore important that you’re flexible enough to deal with the unexpected.
You may also find that the schedule you’re using isn’t working for you as expected. It's ok to adjust it and try a few ways of organising your time. You’ll soon find a rhythm that you can get into and start being more productive.