Sunday, April 7, 2013

So Many Tasks, So Little Time

The end of the semester is approaching at break-neck speed right now for most students.  A common lament is that there is not enough time to get everything done before exams.  Students are frantically working on papers and assignments while trying to find time for extra final exam studying. 

Here are some ways to carve out time when you feel that you have none:

  • Look for time that you waste during each day and corral that time for exam studying or writing papers: Facebook or YouTube or Twitter time; e-mail reading and writing; cell phone time; chatting with friends in the student lounge.  Most people fritter away hours on these tasks.
  • Become more efficient at your daily life tasks: prepare dinners in a slow cooker on the weekend to heat up single servings during the week; wear easy maintenance clothes to save ironing/dry cleaning tasks; pack your lunch/dinner to take to school instead of commuting time to eat at home; clean the house thoroughly once and then merely spot clean and pick up.  You can garner ample study time if you cut down on these types of daily tasks.
  • Curb excessive exercise time, but do not give up exercise time entirely.  Your normal gym workout of two hours five times a week is most likely a luxuary at this point in the semester.  Cut it back to two times a week or make it one hour three times a week.  The guideline for exercise is 150 minutes per week.  You need to focus on strengthing your brain cells rather than your abs right now.
  • Consider getting up earlier each day, but do not get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.  If you tend to sleep in on weekends and days when you do not have early classes, you are losing productive study time.  Go to bed at the same time Sunday through Thursday nights and get up at the same time Monday through Friday mornings; do not vary the schedule more than 2 hours on the weekends.  You will be more alert and better rested if you have a routine.
  • Decide whether you could study an hour or two longer on a Friday or Saturday night if you currently end at 5 or 6 p.m.  You want some down time, but may be able to go a bit longer than previously in order to gain more study time.
  • Set up a schedule so that you delineate for each day when you will read/brief or outline for each of your courses.  Then repeat the tasks at the same days/times each week.  You will waste less time asking yourself what to do next.
  • Break tasks down into small pieces.  Small pockets of time (under an hour) can then be used effectively to complete tasks.  You may be able to study a subtopic for a course in 20 minutes but would take 3 hours for the whole topic.  Any forward movement is progress!
  • Use windfall time when you gain unexpected time: a class is cancelled, your friend is late picking you up, a meeting ends early.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by everything you have to do, take control of your time.  Conquer each course one task at a time.  (Amy Jarmon)

      

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