Time management is critical for university students. University can and should be a busy time. You don't want to miss out on all the exciting happenings. It’s important to get a good balance between academic work and other activities. Managing your time well is essential for success at university.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
Are you a morning person or night owl? Independent study is a big part of what you’ll do at university and it’s up to you when to do it. Knowing what time of day or night you learn best can help you structure your research, reading and revision.
Write things down in one place
It’s easy to lose track of what you need to do, between coursework deadlines, events, cooking, society meetings, laundry, as well as social events and some time to relax. So keep on top of it by having everything noted in one place.
Having a list of things you need to do and an idea of when you are going to do them, is half the battle. Your Student Diary is a good place to start or you can download a weekly planner from the Academic Skills Centre website.
Be realistic about time
Allocate enough time for your tasks (an afternoon to research and write a 2500 word essay? 30 minutes to write an effective application for a job? 15 minutes to do your washing when there’s a queue?) and build in time for the unexpected (e.g. printer cartridges running out or the book you need not being available for a month).
Plan and prioritise
Deadlines tend to come up all at once; create your own deadlines and enter these into your diary.
Treat university like a full time job
Structure each day with tasks and put these into your diary alongside all your “usual” activities (essay deadlines, seminars meetings). Use the timetable at the front of your diary for your weekly commitments. Tasks could include checking your student email account, research in the library, reading around your subject, writing up notes.
Plan to work to a 888 schedule
A simple way to think about your time and how to fit in your different requirements is the 888 model. This means for every day (24 hours) you should aim to have
- 8 hours rest (sleep)
- 8 hours work (study)
- 8 hour activities (societies and clubs, seeing friends, eating)
Focus on your goals
There is so much going on at university, it's easy to get distracted – be clear about what you want to achieve this year and focus on what’s going to help you get there. Good grades, extra-curricular experiences, work experience?
Don’t miss out
There are so many opportunities at university from getting involved in some great student groups to work placement opportunities. Check your emails regularly and sign up for newsletters and e-alerts.
Reward your efforts
If you’ve been working at your PC for an hour, make a cup of tea and give yourself a 10-minute break. Scheduling in breaks from your work is important, especially during times like the exam/revision period.
For time management skills specifically relating to your academic work, have a look at the study support page.