Last week, we looked at exam stress. Now that you’ve got that sorted, let’s put your time management skills under the microscope. How are your exams going? Are you wasting more time than you’d like? Do you find it difficult to get stuck into studying with all your other commitments, such as work and your vibrant social life?
If you’re feeling like you’ve got it all in hand, well done and keep up the good work! If, however, you think your time management skills might need some fine tuning, keep reading…
Google ‘time management strategies and techniques’ and you’ll find an abundance of information. In fact, there’s so much information, your exams will be finished by the time you read it all.
Luckily, I’ve done the hard yards, reviewed what’s out there, and come up with some top tricks and techniques that will have you ticking off your ‘to do’ list with time to spare!
Prioritise – start by making a list of all your commitments. What are the current demands on your time? What things are flexible and what are non-negotiables? In the left-hand column write down all the things thatare of high importance and high value. Low importance, low value tasks go in the right-hand column. For example, the exam you have in two days’ time is of high importance and high value – this is a priority. Re-ordering the books on your bookshelf may give you satisfaction but is low importance, low value and is not a priority.
Come up with a schedule – now that you’ve got your two columns, organise your time by first allocating specific periods of time for the important stuff from the left-hand column. This means setting goals for each day of what you need to achieve and allocating the necessary time. If you feel like there are too many priorities in one day, can you buy yourself some extra time? That might mean asking to do a shorter shift at work or putting off those lash extensions until exams are finished. Hey, you’ve just saved yourself two hours!
Let other people know your timetable – managing study tasks has to be achieved in relation to the rest of your life, which means making choices, planning ahead and communicating with the people in your life. Sometimes this means saying “no” to friends, family, or work. Discuss your study timetable with friends and family, place the timetable on the fridge or give them a copy. This means they’re aware of the demands in your life and can help them understand your priorities.
Maintain motivation – sticking to your schedule means staying motivated. A lack of motivation can often come from doing things the same repetitive way. Try mixing things up, for example, use different study methods or locations. Another way to stay motivated is with the support of your peers. You may find the content difficult on one topic, but someone else may understand it well and for another topic, the opposite might be true. It’s worth taking time to connect with classmates by forming study groups. You may just find you get more done with the help and support of someone else.
Be realistic – setting yourself a daily goal of studying eight hours straight for your marketing exam is unrealistic and will leave you feeling strung out. Be realistic in the goals you set, make them manageable and structured. Also, it’s important to create separation: when you’re studying, study, when you’re relaxing – do that, relax, however that looks for you.