University is a big step in a student’s life and can completely change the trajectory of their future career if their time isn’t managed as effectively as possible. With looming essay due dates and constant course reading, it’s no wonder why you can begin to feel overwhelmed within the first few weeks and completely stressed out by the end of the year without the necessary support to help you through it.
Below are a few tips on how you can better manage your time in university so that you can achieve whatever it is you are striving toward.
1 – Be Flexible
Flexibility is key when it comes to managing a busy semester with various courses taking up your time. There will be weeks where you just can’t devote your time to each and everyone specifically, so you’ll have to decide between doing the course reading for one over another, and that’s not easy.
Learn to recognize where your efforts are better served, such as a course that needs a grade boost and focus on that before moving on to another. University is all about adaptation and that’s a lesson you’ll learn quickly when faced with multiple assignments and exams all in one week.
2 – Know Your Limitations
As much as we’d all like to think we can handle anything our professors throw our way while also maintaining healthy relationships and active work life, it’s obvious early on in the school year that you just can’t. Flexibility with your time can only take you so far and you’ll have to recognize your limitations if you’re going to do anything to the best of your abilities.
If you feel like your course work is suffering, then explain to your friends that you’ll need to focus on that for a while rather than having a steady social life. Spreading yourself too thin or saying “yes” to everything will only leave you giving a fraction of your effort to multiple things rather than 100% to one and moving on to others.
3 – Store Your Documents Safely
Managing your time effectively means being able to take your notes and assignments everywhere with you without concern of them getting lost or deleted. While USB sticks and external hard drives are a better alternative than just storing these documents on your laptop, they can still get lost, damaged, or forgotten when you need them the most.
Instead, opt for a virtual data room that will give you access to your data wherever, whenever and with all the security you need. Rather than panicking when your laptop crashes the week before an exam, rest easy knowing that all your study notes are stored online where you can access them at any time.
4 – Plan Your Week In Advance
An important time management skill to master early on in your post-secondary education is the ability to plan your weeks in advance and adhere to that plan as much as possible. When you know what you have to do a week prior you’ll have more freedom to work other activities and events around it while still ensuring everything gets done.
This is especially important if you have a part-time job that requires you to work a minimum amount of hours during the week. Without a pre-planned school schedule then you’ll be struggling to stay afloat as the months rapidly progress to the arduous exam period.
5 – Get Comfortable On Campus
The easiest way to save time when trying to manage all of your course work is by getting comfortable working from your campus. Considering this is where you’ll be spending most of your time anyway for classes you might as well take advantage of the space and find the best library, café, or shared space to get your assignment and studying done.
It might be more comfortable to pack up after a long day and go home to get your work done, but if you want to make the most of whatever time you have left, then settle into your favourite campus area and use that time to prepare for the next day.
6 – Plan Your Outfit The Night Before
There is a new level of freedom that university students experience and one of those is the ability to wear whatever you want. Coming from high school that typically has a strict dress code or even a uniform, it can be overwhelming to decide every day what outfit you’ll spend the next 8 or even 10 hours in.
The best way to avoid the confusion and save as much time as you can is by planning your outfit the night before so that you can get up and dressed as quickly as possible without compromising any additional time you could have spent studying or having a quick workout.
7 – Ignore Your Phone
Having your smartphone near you while trying to study can be incredibly tempting and time-wasting. Instead, try your best to ignore that flashing screen by putting it away somewhere while you working on an assignment and only looking at it during set break times.
Managing your time wisely means allotting your hours according to your school work and determining what needs to be completed before you spend hours scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube videos. If it’s incredibly difficult to avoid your phone, trying completely turning it off and keeping it another room where even if you happen to walk by it you know that you’ll have to turn the entire thing on to have a quick browse.
8 – Prioritize Yourself
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of full-time school and a part-time job and forget to take care of yourself in the meantime. Give yourself the necessary care you need and push aside school work when possible to do a work out, have a healthy meal, and see friends or family.
Your priorities might constantly be set to what you need to finish for your classes or covering a work shift for some extra money, but don’t forget that without your mental and physical well-being you won’t be able to achieve anything you are striving toward.
9 – Have A Routine
If you are someone who works better with a set plan, then consider creating a routine for yourself and sticking to it every day. Routines give a haphazard lifestyle some structure so that you are better equipped to complete necessary tasks in a timely manner and strive to achieve whatever you want when you feel comfortable to add a bit more to your plate.
Maybe your routine involves a workout first thing in the morning before you get started on anything else or a big cup of coffee to get you motivated to take on the day ahead – whatever it is, find what works for you and stick with it so that you know what to expect during tiring school schedules.
10 – Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed with the amount of coursework that’s piling up don’t be afraid to ask for help from your professors or any campus counselors. Every university has services devoted to helping students succeed or manage their mental health during trying times and they should be used to your advantage if you are struggling.
Ask for an extension on your final paper if you are drowning in work – your professor will most likely understand. And visit a school appointed therapist if you feel like you need the mental support to get you through the next few months. Be proactive when you noticed yourself losing momentum and get any help that you may need sooner rather than later.