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via Redbrick : It’s a familiar feeling: you’re about four weeks into the semester, Reading Week is looming, then Reading Week goes by all too fast, then suddenly it is deadline central even though it was week 1 literally five seconds ago. No need to panic! There are ways to help yourself out – here are some of my tips for managing your time during the semester.

Dates, dates and more dates

It sounds obvious, but buy a diary (your department may even offer diaries for free) or make use of the calendar on your computer. Here you can write all your commitments, appointments and deadlines – whether that be important assignments or day-to-day tasks, it will help you to see clearly what needs to be done.

Forward-thinking

Try to work a week ahead of time so that you know roughly what is coming up and can plan accordingly. Deadlines and workload can become overwhelming towards the end of term and hard to balance with other commitments but at least if you already know about it, you will feel a bit more in control. See below!

Weekly planning

Use a weekly desk planner (I’ve seen so many cute ones around recently – Ohh Deer, Paperchase and even Sainsbury’s have a good selection). This is my own no. 1 time management tool. You can write on each day of the week when you have spare time to fit in uni work or other tasks. You won’t panic about running out of time because you can see that, for example, on Tuesday you have two free hours in the afternoon and can fit in your seminar prep then, or on Thursday lunch you have an hour free and can meet a friend. If this seems too ambitious for you then try a daily plan instead.

Prioritise

I used to be rubbish at this and would try to do all the work at once. At uni, when you have different commitments and responsibilities and can become short on time, prioritisation is your BFF. It is easy to pick the piece of work that feels the easiest or the most interesting at the time but is it actually due in first?

Ask yourself which is the most urgent piece of work and do that – you’ll thank yourself later. Try not to overwhelm yourself by thinking of everything else that needs doing: once you’ve completed the most urgent task, address the next one, and so on. Let everything else go for now.

Time limits

Maybe you are a procrastinator or a major perfectionist who wants everything to be just so. Maybe you are neither. Either way, things often take longer than we’d like them to. So, try and set yourself a realistic time limit. You may work better knowing that you simply do not have more time to dedicate to the task, and you will be able to move on to the next thing quicker.

Use your time wisely

Make sure you know your timetable for the day so you can bring work for any free hours. Think about whether you will need computer access and where you could go to work. Ask yourself if it is worth walking home and back when you could get more work done at uni.

Filing

It’s boring to talk about filing, I get it. But it can really help! Everyone has different systems but perhaps allocate a folder per module or a plastic wallet per seminar, for example. This way you won’t waste time looking for resources and notes and can just get on with it.

Timetabling

If you are consistently struggling to fit something in, why not allocate a set time for it? For example, do the reading for Friday’s seminar on a Wednesday evening before dinner. This can apply to anything: you could do admin for a society on a Sunday afternoon; you could fit in exercise on a Tuesday after dinner.

A bit of balance

It’s not all about work, deadlines and commitments – make sure you remember time for yourself! You will feel well-rested and happier and may even work more efficiently and productively as a result.

 

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