When studying at school or university, you will normally be enrolled in more than one subject or course each semester. The busiest and most stressful time of a semester is when examinations and assignment deadlines are approaching, usually all at the same time! But you can easily reduce the stress this can cause or even avoid this situation if you have good time management and motivation.
The first thing you need in order to organise your time is a schedule. It is not easy to remember everything without putting it down in your schedule or planner. This can be a paper planner, which you can buy from a bookstore or download from a website, or you can make your own DIY planner. It is best that it contains a yearly planner, a weekly planner and a daily planner. Alternatively, if you are a technology expert, it is a good idea to use an online calendar or planner such as Google Calendar or any online planner that you can use to create to-do lists, make notes, and set reminders to remind you about an activity or event via email or text message.
To manage your time effectively, you need to practise good self-management. Your plan will not be successful if you cannot manage yourself well enough to follow the plan. Planning how and when you will study and complete your assignments is crucial, and you need to stick to your plan as much as possible. When you make your plans initially, you should note them down, even though you may change them later. Sometimes, you may not be able to complete a task or an assignment according to the plan. You can be flexible about this depending on the situation. If you need to cancel a plan or change it, it must because there is something more important that must be done at that time. Do not postpone the completion of tasks just because you are lacking motivation or prefer to have leisure time. It is important to manage your daily life, family issues, employment and hobbies to ensure you have enough time left for studying.
When managing your time, you can organise yourself by determining the priority of each task. A task that is due to be completed sooner should come first. For tasks that need a long time to complete, for example, studying for your final exam, you can divide it into sections. This will make it easier and less boring than if you did it in one sitting.
Some tasks may be hard for you or you may not want to do them. For example, you may have an assignment from a difficult subject that you do not like. You must find the motivation to complete it. A good idea is to list the benefits of completing the task as well as the disadvantages of not doing it. When you have written this list, it enables you to make your decision through reason rather than emotion.
If an unexpected situation or a problem comes up, it is likely that you will be able to deal with it easily once you have made this good start with time management and motivation. This planning will give you enough time to prepare yourself to effectively complete any task!
Updated 6 March 2023
Ellen McRae, PhD, AE (IPEd), MNZSTI
Senior Managing Editor
featured image by psyberartist