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Over the past three and a half years at college, I have learned some helpful tips on how to manage your time.
My first tip is to create a schedule, both daily and weekly. My daily schedule that I made at the beginning of the semester is shown above. This breaks down what I generally should be doing hour by hour. I took my class schedules, work schedules, and meal schedules to create it. I also have a week-by-week schedule with all my due dates and a monthly schedule on my phone for future events. Make sure to put down everything you know into this planner and keep adding in new deadlines, so you do not fall behind
After making a schedule, keep using your schedule. I know from experience how hard it is to continue using it with all the daily activities, but do not forget about your planner. I check mine in the few minutes before each class or meeting starts, so I know what I need to get done when I get back home. If that does not work for you, try checking your planner as many times as you log into MyRU.
My second tip is to learn your working style: do you get more work done and concentrate better by doing a little bit now and then or do are you better off doing your work all at once? Personally, I work better when I have many assignments to do because I can go into a “zone” and get it done. If I give myself too much time to work on something, I will probably find something to distract me until the last minute. If you are the other type of worker, I suggest a few moments out of your weekend to spread that week’s homework out over the weekdays.
This brings me to my third tip: put a limit on yourself as far as homework goes. Compare this to working out: you want to push yourself, but you know to stop when your body has had enough. It is the same way for working out your brain.
Natural Healthcare Canada’s definition of sustained attention says that people only have an attention span of 45 minutes. This fact was found in multiple studies from the 60’s and 70’s. Natural Healthcare Canada says the most efficient way to take a break after focusing on one thing for 45 minutes is “shifting your attention – whether to another task or get up and move away from the environment entirely.” For example, if you are studying or writing a long paper, every 45 minutes get up and exercise, walk around the room or eat a snack. Anything to get you away from the books or computer screens. I usually take 15-minute breaks so I can keep track of the 45-minute mark better.
My fourth tip is to prioritize what is most important to you. Would you miss going to a party with friends for a chance to get the best grade on a test as possible? Would you sacrifice your sleep for an assignment worth five percent of your grade? 20 percent? 50 percent? Only you can decide what to sacrifice in your schedule.