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Uni, work and how to master time management

Posted: June 14 2022

Fiona, International Arbitration and Commercial Law

People often ask me if university students can manage working part-time, socialising, studying, attending lectures, joining a society, networking and doing other activities at the same time.

I often tell them it is quite possible if before you start university, you start thinking about how to get better at time management and organising your day so you can strike the right balance between home, work and university life.

If you can make an effort to master some or all of these effective time management skills, you’re one step closer to being able to take on the full university experience and unleash your utmost potential.

1. Create a schedule - Whether it’s a timetable, a pin-up planner or a calendar on your phone, find an organising tool that works well for you and add it to your list of priorities. There are many time management apps that can help with this too. I use my phone calendar to get important pop-ups in case I forget.

2. Prioritise tasks on a To-Do list - Identify what you need to do, and then prioritise the tasks based on when the assignment is due and how much time you need to complete it. This gives you a set plan for the day. Whether it’s just a list of priorities or a full schedule for the day on a To-Do list, having a plan will ensure you know what to do and when.

3. Create a checklist and reward yourself – Printing or writing out checklists for each class or each day of the week can be a helpful way of remembering everything you need to get done. I have benefitted from colour-coordinating tasks by importance to help me better visualise what needs to get done. Whether big or small, being able to reinforce the work that you do positively will help you establish a routine and incentive to keep powering through. Try to measure your progress and reward yourself for the small changes you’re making.

4. Only do one thing at a time - If you’re trying to juggle multiple assignments and tasks, you’ll likely end up being less productive and exhausted. Turn off any devices that you can and don’t switch to another task until the one before it is complete. This may be a hard habit to break at first, but it’s worth it in the long run.

5. Find a balance – With many things on your plate and having a full university experience, many students forget to make time for themselves, which is a big mistake. I would recommend spending 30 minutes to an hour a day or longer doing activities you enjoy: exercising, watching an episode of a favourite TV show, listening to music, or taking a walk.

Setting up good habits for effective time management doesn’t have to happen all at once to be useful. By taking one or a few of the tips from this list, you can set realistic, small goals and choose a few tips that you feel will be most beneficial to you.