Techniques to Manage your Time Well at University

Techniques to Manage your Time Well at University
2020-11-02

When you are transitioning from school to university, there are some major changes and adjustments to get used to. Maybe it’s your first time living away from home. It is normal to feel a little overwhelmed at first (or even after years). Time seems to be rare and running through your fingers. Here are some tips on how to manage your time well at university.

Prioritize.

You will feel like you always have two million things to do. Cleaning, meeting friends, working out, schoolwork, lectures, family, deadlines…there are a lot of things to juggle while being at uni. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your tasks. Maybe you work with a calendar or a to-do list, ideally for at least the whole week. Write down your tasks, your homework and if you have a deadline coming up. You have to treat your studies as your job. You should have definite times when you show up to your job and tasks that have to be done. So, plan uni work first, but do not overdo it! It is also important to make time for yourself. If you are having trouble taking time out, schedule it. Write in your calendar free time for yourself, where you can enjoy a hobby, meet friends or just hang around doing nothing.  

Got a job during your studies? Schedule it as well and be efficient. Find something that will pay you enough with as little hours as possible. Prefer to work a whole day in the week than some hours here and there within the week.

Typically, you should set aside at least one day a week completely without uni. I know there can be exceptions, if you are busy socially during the week or having a deadline ahead. But here comes the next tip: do not start last minute on your deadlines! If you are given a deadline like four weeks ahead, why not start now? You will have time to review your work and therefore it will be better!

Image of a calendar with to do list and goals written down

Keep track!

Speaking of calendars and lists, it is always a good idea to keep track of your work, time and money while being at uni. Always broke? Keep track of your money! Maybe you can save by not picking up a coffee at uni every day or prepare your own food. Maybe you spend way too much money on clothes and drugstore products? Or is your going out habit out of control? By keeping track, you know what you are spending and what you have to earn! Maybe you can cut back on your part-time job and make more time for uni. It is also a good idea to make a shopping list before going to the supermarket, it will save you time and money, so you don’t have to go there every day. And don’t shop when you’re hungry!

Speaking of uni, schedule what you are doing during the day! Do not just show up at your desk and try to figure out what to do now for which class. Make a plan, so you do not get stressed. I can highly recommend the “Forest” App, it will keep you off your phone during study periods. Also, I like to make a reading list for my classes which I can check off, so I know what is ahead of me and how much time I have to schedule in my calendar for it. The same goes for assignments like essays or presentations, it is good to make a list of what to do, what to research or which parts you will have to study for the most. Never lose track about your tasks, because you are an adult now and nobody is going to do the work for you.

Screenshot of a productivity app

Breathe.

You should take a small study break every 45 – 60 Minutes, ideally to stand up from your chair and move a little. Every 3 hours you should take a longer break. Typically, a brain works best for 6 hours a day studying. More hours are not more efficient, especially if half of them are spent procrastinating. This is general advice, of course that can be different for everyone. Just listen to your body and brain! Try to stay active, even if your everyday life gets stressful. Take a walk, go for a run or just enjoy a stroll at the beach. Look after yourself, if that means reading a book every morning, then do that. If it means having a homecooked meal at least once a day, I am sure you can find time, for example pre-cook in the evenings for the next day(s). Do something to cherish your soul every day. Your uni experience should be enjoyable, not torture. I know there is a lot to handle. But let me tell you, you’ve got those 20 Minutes for yourself out of 24 hours every day! It is important, especially now, to look after yourself. You are not a robot that has to function every day. Be nice to yourself and listen to your body during uni, even if it gets stressful.

Published by Students, University of Aberdeen

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