Time Management Tips for Students

Graphics & Words by Caitlin Chuah

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail; many students struggle with meeting assignment deadlines and exerting consistent effort into their studies; emphasis on “consistent”. Yes, the workload in university is a lot more than in school. However, as a university student myself, I can assure you that by utilizing these time management tips, you can say goodbye to last-minute cramming and dreaded all-nighters.

1. Create a to-do list

First, start off by creating a list of all your assignments and tests for the semester. Next, jot down the deadlines of each assignment/test and arrange them in a chronological order. Lastly, break down each assignment into smaller tasks and slot them in one-by-one over the span of your semester, making sure that each assignment would be completed before their respective deadlines.

My piece of advice: do not be over-ambitious! As you plan out your tasks for each week, make sure that it is doable and will not cause you to over-exert yourself. As someone who is very “kia-su”, there have been times where I was overcrammed by schedule and found myself not achieving the tasks that I set each day, which caused me to lose motivation (even though I was weeks ahead of the deadlines). Hence, make sure that you limit your tasks per day to what you believe is feasible.

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2. One task at a time

Many students become overwhelmed at the number and complexity of university assignments. This causes them to procrastinate, because they don’t know where to start, resulting in last-minute and poor-quality work. Thus, as I mentioned before, if a specific assignment involves many different components, break it down into smaller tasks. As you embark on a task, clear your mind of the other tasks/assignments and instead, solely focus on the task at hand. As you begin to tick off the items on your to-do list, you will feel motivated and be able to exert consistent effort daily.

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3. Reduce distractions

Whether it is a noisy environment or social media, you need to be disciplined and reduce environmental distractions whenever you study. For example, I can never study with music on in the background (if it works for you then by all means, go ahead!). Hence, I developed a habit to study in silence, which made me twice as productive; tasks that usually took me 2 hours to complete only required 30 minutes at the most. Another example: if your distraction is social media, then place your phone in a hard-to-reach place, which will discourage you from getting up from your seat to go get it.

Cutting out distractions can do wonders for your productivity, allowing you to “get in the zone” and progress much faster than usual.

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4. Use breaks wisely

Lastly, it is crucial to slot in enough breaks and recreational time for you to unwind and recoup. Remember those distractions we talked about? Well, you can engage in those activities as a reward after completing your tasks. Set aside some time in between tasks or at the end of the day to do things that you love, whether it is scrolling through TikTok, watching Netflix, going for a night out with friends or simply jamming out to music.

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With these time-management tips, you will stay ahead of the crowd and be able to maximize your university life to the fullest. Good luck!

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