Managing your time
Dealing with a new environment and keeping on top of your courses, while coping with different deadlines, can be difficult. When you’re juggling all those different balls it’s easy to drop one or more. Managing your time is essential for balancing classes, coursework and relationships. It’s a skill, one that will benefit you during your time at university and after you’ve graduated.
We all have 168 hours a week. Some may say that how you spend this time is up to you. Not really. If you don’t complete your assignments, it could affect your final mark, which could mean that you have to redo a course. Managing a diary isn’t only for high flying execs. Use your diary to schedule those things you have to do first, even if it means that you have to enter times to sleep, wake up or work out.
2. Create a plan
You’ll have lots to get through. Draw up a study plan well before exams start and do the same for your assignments. It’s pointless to enter these priorities in your diary if you don’t plan for them. Small steps are always easier than big ones so break work up into chunks that work for you. If you have an assignment, you know that you’ll need time to research, compile a draft and probably rework the draft, so plan for these different stages.
Ask yourself, ‘Am I spending my time on the right things?’. Does the value you place on an activity warrant the amount of time you’re devoting to it? You may love mountain climbing and some of the other societies you joined during Plaza Week, but when these activities impact the time you spend on studying or assignments you may have to make some tough cuts. These may only be temporary, until your ‘crunch time’ passes.
4. Get filing
Develop a system for how you’ll store important documents, whether it’s organising folders on your computer and backing these up onto your external or storing hard copies on your shelf. Store related items together so that you can access them easily when you need them.
5. Cut the chat
Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, MXit, SMS, and the regular old phone call can all be distractions. Limit yourself to the essentials. While Twitter’s great for keeping up-to-date on what Kim Kardashian’s doing, sadly, it doesn’t count as an essential. If you can’t bear to break with these tools, give yourself a communications hour, for example, from 8pm to 9pm. It’s probably cheaper too!
Delegating can play a role in groupwork. Different groupmembers can assume responsibility for different tasks so that one member doesn’t carry the load. Delegating can also involve asking for help. You may have a friend or mentor who has completed the course and can offer tips and advice to save time and unnecessary stress.
7. Have fun
Take deep breaths and be kind to yourself. Once you’ve devoted time to a task it’s okay to take a breather. See a movie on a Tuesday night, go for a jog or sleep in on a Sunday morning.
Don’t forget to make time for some fun!