One of the most important things you can do as a student is develop effective time management skills. Because you have to juggle so many different tasks and obligations, it can be tough trying to find the time you need to do everything, let alone do it well. Concentration and time management are necessary considerations for university students, and this article will provide some time management tips and suggest how to concentrate on the task at hand.
Our Basic Time Management Tips
It can sometimes be difficult trying to focus on a particular task, like studying or writing an annoying essay, especially with all the other stresses and daily worries that come along with being a university student. The most basic time management tips we can offer involve setting priorities and determining which tasks are the most and least important. You can figure this out most easily by evaluating what your ultimate goal is and the requirements of each task. Let’s take an example: say you have a Biology exam and a 12-page essay on American History due on the same day, two weeks away. On the face of it, it seems you will be forced to shift your attention between these two tasks in order to finish them both on time. This is where time management comes in. You will need to evaluate which will take up the most time, which one is worth the most credit, and which one is most important to your degree. Once you’ve decided which is more important, determine how to approach it, whether you can or should split your attention, and how much time you will need to complete it.
Time Management Tips: Details
Our example above is just one of many potential situations you might find yourself in, especially during exam or midterm season. Part of working through your list of tasks is prioritization, which we have already mentioned. There are a number of different methods you can use to prioritize your tasks, and we’ll touch on a few here.
Our example looked at deadlines, potential workloads, effort, the ‘importance’ of the assignment, and the time it would take to complete a task as the main determinates of how to prioritize your time. While this method is an effective way of laying out your schedule, it doesn’t account for the other aspects of your daily life that may intrude upon your school life. Prioritization is just one small step in developing effective time management skills.
Another time management tip that can be used in combination with prioritization is scheduling, which basically involves drawing out a detailed plan of all your activities for a certain time period (day, week, month) and dividing your time between different tasks based on how you prioritized them. To have an effective schedule you should avoid planning around your regular routine; if you normally do something, keep doing it, but don’t include it in your time management plans. The ideal schedule incorporates only the time you have available, instead of every second of every day. This doesn’t mean you should have huge empty space in your schedule for ‘normal activities’, but rather that your schedule should be an extension of your usual routine to ensure you don’t neglect it.
To maximize your productivity, try to schedule difficult tasks at the beginning of your schedule to both get them out of the way faster and to exploit the fact that you fill probably be more productive at the start of your schedule than you will at the end of it. You should evaluate your past performance to determine what time of day you are most productive and when in the week you can afford to devote the most time to finishing your unfinished tasks. You should also schedule breaks and study at the same time each day to maximize productivity and reduce burnout. You should also plan for mistakes by making sure your schedule is flexible; do your best to stick to it, but don’t feel you have to plan for every single possibility.
Long Term and Short Term Planning
In all of this, its important to have a good idea of what your motivation is. Going to school and working toward something is one thing, but that can sometimes feel too distant or amorphous to be truly motivating. Instead, you should set short-term and long-term goals to manage your time. You should ask yourself what your ultimate goal is (long term) and how you plan to reach it (short term). You should also have a short-term plan, like what you plan to do once your school work and studying are finished for the week. These can help motivate you to put the necessary time and effort into your work, which in turn can help you stay on track to completing your schedule. You should also make sure you don’t let the short term interfere with the long term.
How to Concentrate
Even with all of these time management tips taken into account, it can still be difficult to concentrate on whatever task you happen to be doing. We thought it would be helpful to have some tips on how to concentrate for those with distraction-prone working habits. One of the first steps you can take is to create an environment that helps you concentrate. These vary from person to person, but come down to reducing distractions to help focus your attention.
Staying focused on the task is also easier if you don’t multitask, and instead focus all of your attention on one task at once, finish it, and move on. You should also do your best to relax. Stress is a barrier to concentration and being relaxed can give you a chance to better approach the task at hand with a clear and focused mind.
We also suggest incentivizing your work, with small rewards set out at specific milestones to drive you forward. Find the ideal intervals between work and reward, and make sure they don’t become needlessly distracting.
Using and Evaluating our Time Management Tips
This article was meant to give you some ideas on how to manage your school workload and provide time management tips that can help you conquer your often-overwhelming university lives. Aside from dividing your time through schedules and prioritizing your various tasks while cutting out the waste, learning how to concentrate effectively can also contribute to healthy and productive working habits.