Today I thought I’d write about something which personally impacts me on a daily basis, and that’s struggling to manage my time.
I’m currently at university doing a postgraduate MSc, while also working a part-time job as a receptionist at a gym. This makes it hard to find the energy and motivation to ensure all of my university work is completed while also having time for myself to relax and see my friends – and I know that this is something many people at university deal with. While having a job at uni isn’t ideal, it becomes an issue of needing a job to pay rent / bills.
So with that, I thought I’d discuss my top tips for being able to manage my time, workload and general life while being super-duper busy!
Firstly – Organisation is KEY!
Personally, I couldn’t live without a diary. In order to be able to remember and plan everything you have to do, you need to ensure you’ve made a note of it!
This means writing down absolutely everything, from your coursework deadlines and work hours to the lecture hours you have. Literally everything.
A diary is honestly the most useful way to start ensuring that you have everything organised and in check, whether this is the one on your phone or a paper diary (which is my personal preference).
It may seem ‘pointless’ as timetables and submission dates tend to be online, however on more than one occasion I have nearly missed a submission deadline as I forgot to write it down, and therefore forgot it existed. I wish I was joking.
In terms of general organisation, I also like to ensure that my desk looks extremely tidy and pretty as I feel as though this makes me want to sit at my desk more and ultimately do more work. For me, this means having some flowers in a vase or a candle on my desk while I work, but for you, it could simply mean having nothing but your laptop, pens and a notepad in sight.
Make your bed as soon as you wake up.
Each morning, the second I’m awake, I’ll make my bed. Every morning. This triggers my brain into being more awake and ready for the day, and within 5 minutes of being up, I’ve already achieved something, which has had a really positive impact on my productivity.
Try it for yourself, I know it isn’t the most fun task in the world but it takes 5 minutes and makes me want to be productive.
Create a to-do list every morning.
Now, I know this seems like a lot of effort, but it really works. Each morning (or the evening before if I know I won’t have time in the morning) I’ll make the effort to write down everything I need to do that day, and it doesn’t just have to be about work!
Some days I write a little note to remind myself to drink enough water or take 10 minutes to breathe and go for a walk. It’s the little things.
Writing a to-do list each morning ensures that I know what I need to achieve every single day. It’s also a nice way to keep track of everything you’ve done, and serves as a reminder on days where you feel like you’ve achieved nothing that you are accomplishing so much!
If you’re studying – TAKE BREAKS!
During revision, take breaks every half an hour to recharge your brain and keep your concentration up.
Eat some snacks, drink some water – do whatever you want to do, but take a break. Don’t go overboard however and take 30-minute breaks after doing 20 minutes of work, keep the breaks limited to 5/10 minutes which is enough time to get up, stretch your legs and have a drink.
Now for the hard one… Stay off your phone.
This is something I struggle with a lot, and the screen time monitor on the newest iPhone update has really helped with this, especially as you can set limits for how long you can use each app for each day.
I recommend using this feature if you do happen to have an iPhone compatible with iOS 12 as the timer allows you to keep track of how many times you pick your phone up per day, which app you spend the longest on, how long you’re on your phone a day and so forth. It’s actually shocking to realise how long we spend on our phones, including myself. It’s allowed me to see that I am spending 3-4 hours on my phone each day – that’s insanity! In that time I could do SO much work, see my friends, go to the gym or do literally anything.
On the other hand, it’s very easy to mindlessly swipe through social media as a form of procrastination when you’re meant to be working, trust me, I know. For this, I recommend ensuring your phone is absolutely nowhere near you while you’re trying to be productive. Where you choose to put your phone is entirely up to you.
I often leave mine across the room on do not disturb to try and maximise my productivity. Seriously, put the phone away – the facebook meme’s can wait (for 20 minutes).
Schedule in time to workout.
It’s been proven that exercise can help to boost your brain function. By scheduling in time to workout at least once a week, you’re going to give yourself that much-needed energy boost to continue to work hard and get things done!
There are multiple articles about this on google if you wish to learn more – such as this one.
Finally, do small / short tasks right away.
If a task is likely to take under 5 minutes to complete, do it right there and then, don’t wait and push it back until later. Small tasks can build up and result in having masses to do which take up way more time than they originally would have.
Small tasks include sending an e-mail, putting your washing on and ensuring all your notes are put away etc. They’re all tiny tasks but quite often I say to myself “I’ll put that away later” or “I’ll tidy that later” and never do until everything has piled up too much.
In summary… Keep yourself organised using a diary and to-do lists, while also scheduling in time for yourself in order to keep your mental health and wellbeing the top priority.
Time management is hard, but with practice it becomes easier. Find the things that work for you and stick to them.
– Shannon x
All photos on this post are obtained Royalty Free from Pexels.