Time management is a key skill needed in life and one that is extremely relevant at University when juggling deadlines. As a University student, you will find yourself having to simultaneously work on multiple assignments, all while handling various other responsibilities such as part time jobs.
The most important thing you can do which may sound obvious is plan. Without a plan, you will find yourself in the situation where there is a week left to do a hundred tasks and no idea where the time went or how you got there. Now it is easy to just say plan your time but what does this consist of, and how do you plan your time effectively? Here is what I do.
To start, whatever point in the year you are at right now consider when your deadlines are. Write those deadlines out and list what it is that needs to be done for each. This isn’t just a plan for your workload, it is also important to consider what else you have going on, so make a note also of things such as job hours, trips and events and other things that you have going on outside of uni that you need to factor in time for and work around.
Now, it’s time to break it all down. In terms of your individual assignments, ask yourself these questions: How long will it take you to complete each task? And how long will it take you to proof read? When I need to complete a deadline, I split tasks into small chunks and create multiple mini deadlines. When these are complete I can then piece them together to form the hand in. By breaking down a submission like this you will find a lot of the pressure is taken off.
A great piece of advice I’ve been given is to work backwards. So, I will take my deadline day and subtract a day to give myself a buffer, then I consider the time necessary for proof reading and sometimes printing. Then I take the mini chunks of tasks and think how long each will take to complete and place the smaller deadlines in-between deadline day and now. That way you will realise how much needs to be done by when and it will provide piece of mind that you can get everything done on time, if you stick to your plan that is.
A really handy app to have on your phone is Google calendar. You can put all your upcoming plans into it, along with your schedule and to do list. It has loads of useful features and best of all, you can colour code it all to keep everything clear and segmented. This app provides a lot of clarity for me and keeps me on track.
Remember, plans don’t have to be rigid. If you have a spontaneous few days off for whatever reason then all you have to do is re-jig your calendar and make up time elsewhere. With the written plan in place you will be able to sleep easy knowing that time won’t sneak up on you and you will get everything you need to do done.