There are 24 hours in a day. 8 of those should be reserved for sleeping. For students, 8 more hours are usually taken up by school, including travelling time. This leaves 8 hours in which students must eat, shower, relax, socialise, exercise, complete their homework and study. Doesn’t sound like a lot of time, does it? A lot of students I speak to feel overwhelmed by the large amount of tasks they have to complete in this time. If they are studying for a test or exam, working on a difficult assignment or simply trying to stay ahead, students can often feel as if time is ticking away too quickly. In worst case scenarios, students sacrifice sleep and leisure time to keep up with their responsibilities. Does this sound like a familiar story? If so, then my 4 tips on how to make the most of your time are sure to get you back on track!
1. Do Small Tasks Everyday
Imagine if, every month, you had to brush your teeth for an entire hour without stopping. Or, imagine if, once a year, you had to take your dog for a 112 kilometre walk. Sounds tough, doesn’t it? It’s much easier to break these tasks down: brush your teeth for 2 minutes every day and take your dog for 2 kilometre walk every week. Often, students forget that they can treat their studies in exactly the same way. Students feel pressured for time when they try to complete a large task, such as writing an essay, all at once. The trick is to break this task down into a number of smaller tasks and, most importantly, do at least one of these tasks every day. Instead of waiting until you have 3 hours free to sit down, plan and write a full essay, take half an hour each day to do a little bit of the job. You will find that the seemingly immense task suddenly becomes much more easy to handle.
2. Have A To Do List
When I am feeling under pressure, I find that it is always a good idea to write a list of things I have to do. Writing a to do list can be intimidating, especially if it is a long list, but it is not meant to overwhelm you. You should use it as a chance to prioritise your tasks, figure out how each task can be broken down into smaller jobs, and how much time you need to spend on each job. The more you can actively take control and plan what it is you need to do, the more chance you have of working efficiently and effectively under a time limit. As the saying goes “measure twice, cut once.”
3. Work In Efficient Blocks
Have you noticed that, after an hour or more of hard study, your brain starts to become a bit useless? This is because the brain, like any other part of your body, gets tired after being used for an extended period of time. Students who continue studying for hours on end, long past the point where their minds are losing focus, are not making the most of their time. While an hour’s worth of work at night is good, an hour’s worth of work at 2 in the morning, when your mind is wandering and you are working inefficiently, is not nearly as valuable as a good night’s sleep. In order to study and work as efficiently as possible, you need to make sure you work in efficient blocks. Study for an hour and then take a break before returning to study. The extra time spent resting and recovering will definitely pay off.
4. Make The Most Of Wasted Time
Spare time can be found in the most unexpected places. Think about your day. Are there any periods of time that you could be using more efficiently? Could you look over your spelling words while you brush your teeth each day? Could you read a chapter of your English book on the way to school? Could you mute the television and do a maths problem during each commercial break? These moments of time, while small, can add up. I’m not suggesting that you need to study every moment of every day; good relaxation time is not wasted time. But if you took all the minutes that you spend staring blankly out the window, playing on your phone and watching ads for vacuum cleaners on TV, you might just find that you get a LOT done.
How do you make the most of your time? Let me know in the comments!