Time is possibly the most valuable asset of our lives. Yet, we seem to overlook its importance and lead our lives as if we have all the time in the world. For students, it is much more crucial because using time effectively today will build a better future tomorrow. Today’s time is the building block of tomorrow’s future. Here are 15 time management tips for students that are going to improve your life for the better.
Why is learning time management important?
Time management is self-management. The way you handle your time determines how you handle your life. When you manage your time well, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. Time management tips offer you flexibility in your life.
In today’s world, there are so many commitments to fulfill. If you are not managing your time well, you will probably not fulfill any commitments. Your professional, as well as your family life, can be better with these time management tips.
Here are the 15 time management tips for students
Use the night before
Now, this simple action can alter your whole schedule. You can use the night before to make the next day better. Prepare yourself even before the day begins.
Make a to-do list at night. Make sure to include the time and place of tasks in your to-do list. This will help you to have more clarity when you look at the schedule.
Also, think about the things that you will need to complete these tasks. If there is anything that you can contribute the night before, then do it. Good preparation can jumpstart your day and prevent any unnecessary hassle
Prioritizing your to-do list:
You can have a to-do list with 21 things to do but keep in mind that you can never do everything. There will always be something on the list that will go undone. But if you want to have an effective day, make sure you have completed the most effective tasks.
That is why I recommend using the ABCDE technique. Whenever you make a to-do list, make sure to write (A), (B), (C) according to their priority. Try to complete the A first, and then move on to the B labeled task. This action will help you to remember the priorities of each task in your mind.
Stack your tasks
Even if you prioritize your task, you can only complete some tasks at a specific time. For example, Your assignment might be at the top of your priorities, but you can’t start it alone in the morning without your friends.
That is when the stacking technique comes into play. Try to stack a task with another one. This is one of the great techniques mentioned in Atomic habits by James clear for creating a habit. But you can do this to create a flexible schedule.
Instead of “Start preparing assignment at 2.30 p.m” try to think as “Start preparing assignment after finishing your homework.” This technique will create a flexible schedule that is easier to follow than a tight one with strict timetables.
Start early and start small:
A very common habit among students is to leave things for the latter and then put 120% effort before the deadlines. (Or exams). But this is a really unproductive habit.
Students should start early and do at least some part of the task every day. Break big projects into subtasks and complete them one by one. This will help a student do more in the rest of the day instead of being consumed by a single task
Hell Yeah or NO:
Think about all the times when you didn’t want to go somewhere, do something but still said “Yes.” You probably have wasted millions of hours of your lives on things that you didn’t want to do. If you want to make the best use of your time, you need to change that attitude. I know there are times when you don’t want to hurt a person coming with a proposal. But remember your near ones will not hate you for avoiding a party.
I found this tip on a video of Ali Abdaal when he mentions if you are skeptical about a thing that will be a time-waster, don’t do it. If you feel “Hell yea,” I should do this, then go for it without any guilt.
Identify the time-wasters:
To implement this tip, you need to have a notepad, a pencil, and a curious mind. Track down your day, and after everything you do, check the time spent on that task.
Write everything down (This is an experiment on yourself, and it is going to be worth it)
This will help you to find the things that you waste your time on. Maybe you scroll social media for 4 hours, or you waste your time binge-watching Netflix, or maybe you spend too much arranging your notes. Identifying your time-wasters will help you to be conscious about them.
It will help you to snap out of those vicious tasks and focus on things that matter.
Use the Afternoon Slump
There is a specific time of the day just after lunch when you feel dull and apathetic. Your body wants to rest and procrastinate, although you have many important things to do. As I mentioned earlier about prioritizing your task, do not do high-priority tasks during the afternoon slump.
Try to complete the high-priority task in the morning and keep the lower priority jobs for the afternoon. Don’t waste your time but rather use the time for tasks that require less alertness and effectiveness.
Using the afternoon slump to complete the smaller jobs will help you find time at night for other important tasks. You might even find free time for entertainment if you complete the important tasks in the morning.
If you want to be better at time management, you need to learn to manage your distractions. Whenever you are working on anything, remove every distracting element around you. It could be your phone, your storybooks, your gaming console or anything of a similar sort. If you are on the web, then you will probably be attracted by other social media sites. There is a solution for that too.
Use these two apps for blocking any distracting websites and apps while you are working online:
- Forest (my favorite)
- Cold turkey blocker
Multitasking is a myth that we believe. You can argue against it, but it is true. Even the fastest computers in the world do not multi-task. When you think you are multi-tasking, you are actually shifting between tasks much more efficiently. The only thing you are doing is fooling yourself.
Multi-tasking is a lie that we say to ourselves, but in reality, it harms us more than we know. Multi-tasking reduces focus on a specific task. Not only focus, but each task also takes more time than it would if you did it singly.
It might feel that you are saving time by doing two, three things at a time, but you are doing the opposite. Stop multitasking and focus on one task at a time. Don’t let yourself get carried away until you finish a single task. It could be a challenge in the beginning, but you will get used to it.
The 2 minute Rule to prevent procrastination
David Allen states the 2-minute rule in his book “Getting things done.” It is a good concept, and it really helps you to avoid procrastination. The law is simple, immediately complete a task that can take 2 minutes to complete.
There are so many things that you can do in 2 minutes, yet we leave it for later. And when the day starts ending, we feel that we are going to do it tomorrow.
Let us look at things that we can do in two minutes :
- Wash the dishes
- Tidy your desk
- Put things back in your fridge
- Writing an introduction to a blog
All these can take two minutes to finish (It might be more sometimes, but you get the idea). Whenever you feel you have to do any of these tasks, just do it immediately.
Turn this rule into a habit.
Delegation is a cheat code in our lives that we use so often. The common reason we don’t delegate our tasks is that we underestimate other people. We think maybe they will not do a better job than us.
But this is one of the key time management tips for students of all ages. Delegate, Delegate and Delegate. Even if you have the slightest scope of delegation, do it. Do not think twice.
Make sure to instruct the person calmly. And take feedback from them regularly. Taking feedback will take a quarter of the time than if you have done the task yourself. Delegation can save you hundreds of hours.
Batching tasks together
Batching has been one of the most effective time management tips for me. Do you think it is time-effective to check your notifications/emails every hour of the day? It is not. It is similar to every job in your hands.
If there is a task that you have to do more than once a day, batch it up. Do all the similar tasks together. This will help you to keep the momentum of the specific task. Besides, doing the same task together can improve the overall completion speed. Batching also prevents you from multi-tasking, which is one of the key time-killers.
Batching is a versatile technique. You can use it to complete productive works along with your household chores. You can batch all tasks into chunks to complete in a specific part of the day.
Here are some examples:
- Check all emails of the day in one go.
- Edit all images of the past week at one time
- Brainstorm many ideas together and then start working on them
- Schedule social media posts for the rest of the month.
The list goes on and on.
Stop being a perfectionist; use the 80/20 rule:
The 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle states that 80% of the outcome we get results from 20% of the input. This is completely contradictory to the idea of perfectionism.
Remember, perfectionism takes time. But is it really worth it? Our skills develop over time by repeated performing of an action, not by perfecting a single action. It is important to develop a skill rather than developing a project to perfection. Give up the notion of being a perfectionist and value the time in hand.
Remember, you only need to give 20% of input (the most important 20%) in a task to get an outstanding 80% completion. For example: before an exam, you can study only 20% of the topics to score 80%. Some part of your text is more important than the other parts.
Please find out the 20% of things that impact your life the most and work on them only. If you follow this principle, you are going to get results in dividends.
The Parkinson's Law:
” Work expands to the time allowed to it.”
The Parkinson law is a principle coined by Northcote Parkinson in an essay he wrote for the Economist. But what does it mean?
Let me state its meaning with an example. If the teacher gives you two weeks to complete an assignment, it is more likely that you will take the complete two weeks to finish it. But if the teacher had given you only four days to complete it, you will still be able to complete the assignment.
Now think, what if your teacher gave you a deadline of two years. Do you think you would still finish the task in 2 weeks? No. Because human brains love to procrastinate and wait for the deadline to come at them.
How can you use this time management tip in your student life? Remember always to make imaginary deadlines in your head. A tighter schedule is going to keep you on the run and make you much more productive. You might think it is impossible to complete a task in two days, but it has a higher chance of early completion if you set a realistic deadline.
In this modern era, you all sit in front of your computers for at least 5-6 hours per day. If you learned to use shortcuts in your PC, Mac, smartphone, you would be saving those tiny seconds that can mean a lot.
Your Working speed could improve along with your productivity. Here are some of the shortcuts you should know right now:
Delete a single sentence
- Command+ Del (Mac)
- Not available on PC
Delete a single word:
- Option + Del(Mac)
- Control + Del (PC)
- Command + A (Mac)
- Control + A (PC)
To find a word in your text:
- Command + F (Mac)
- Control + F (PC)
Screen shot :
- Shift + Command + 4 (Mac)
- Windows logo key +PrtScn button or Fn + Windows logo key + Space bar (Pc)
Switch between tabs:
- Control + Tab (Mac)
- Ctrl + Tab (Pc)
There are so many more. You can check here.
Managing time is a skill that you will develop over time. It is important to practice these techniques sincerely to get good results. In this busy world, you need to make time for things that really matter like peace, friends and family. Proper time management will allow you to deal with a heavy schedule and leave spare time to spend with your family and friends.
I hope this article has provided value to your life. Best of luck in utilizing these techniques