Thursday, December 15, 2011

Time Management Tips (Finals!)

Hey everyone! Oh yeah! Finals are done, I can finally breathe and get ready for Christmas now! How were your exams? I hope everyone did well and that the hard work pays off. I must say I'm quite happy with this quarter. It's been quite challenging, dealing with an internship and tough courses at the same time. However, I think everything is worth it when I look at the results and, hopefully, the grades will reflect that!

I have had to develop my time management skills a lot this quarter. I did not have enough time to procrastinate or to leave everything for the last minute, and I think that has been the toughest part. That's why I thought it would be interesting for you if I wrote some simple time management tips that helped me a lot.

I found an article about time management that was very interesting. You can read the whole thing here link. I'm taking the tips I think can help you the most and adding some personal advice as well:

"Study difficult subjects first
." I really try to follow this one. I'm one of those students who prefer doing the hard thing first so that I can relax later on... However, I understand sometimes everything looks just as tough. In that case, just make sure you start early enough!

"Avoid scheduling marathon study sessions." That's very important to me. If you make a study plan, make sure it's not a 10-hours session with no break... no human brain can take it! From my own experience, I need to plan study sessions smaller than 2 hours. Otherwise it's pointless... after a couple hours I need a break or I will not be able to focus anymore. What I do, for instance, is two hours of study, and then one hour work out. After that I do two more hours and then I go and cook some dinner and relax for a bit... and finally two more hours. That way I'm much more productive.

"Be aware of your best time of day (when your energy is highest)." In my case, I work better at night. That causes many problems sometimes, because I need to wake up early and that means less sleeping time. However, two hours at night are worth much more than two hours in the middle of the day for me. You need to find what's best for you and plan your study sessions accordingly. 
Use waiting time. (Such as between classes, waiting for appointments, etc.) I recommend using those bits of time for reviewing. If you've been making mind maps or summaries, this is the time to revise them. 

"Don't get too comfortable." Or you will fall asleep! Not that it happened to me... ok, it did happen more than once when trying to study laying in my bed.
Agree with living mates and or family members about study time. If you share your study plans with someone who's living with you, you will be forcing yourself to do it so that you don't let them down. Try it and you will see how it will motivate yourself!

"Get off the phone." I would also add: gett off your laptop, ipad or whatever gadget gets on your way. Don't fool yourself with the common "I need to do some online research" excuse. I'm sure you have your books, notes or print material to keep you away from the Facebook monster.
Learn to say "No, not now; perhaps later." I always repeat to myself: there's time for everything, but first things first! And I think that's enough said.   

"Ask: Would I pay myself for what I'm doing right now? If my occupation were that of a student, would I pay myself for the job I am doing right now?" The fact that no one is supervising you when you're studying gives you that extra freedom. Make a favor to yourself and look at you as if you were your own manager. Would you want your manager to think you're a lazy procrastinator? I don't think so!

I hope these tips can help you get on your books. I wish you the best if you're still doing finals! Good luck!