Firstly, how did you end up in that position? Will you be able to manage it? This post will explore effective time management.
Time management is an effective skill that can help you throughout life as there are always deadlines that need to meet e.g. bills, deposits and appointments to name a few. University is supposed to enhance that skill as you are constantly writing assignments, and there is always a deadline looming for one module. The question is can you handle it and make sure assignments and coursework gets completed by or before the deadline?
You’re in your lecture and your lecturer goes, the deadline for this assignment is in December 2017 and this lecture is in October 2017. You are thinking you have loads of time. Time is moving like Mo Farah on the last lap of the 5000m, you don’t have much time. Time doesn’t wait for no-one. Rookie mistake, thinking you can leave it to the last week. Don’t underestimate yourself and the distance of the deadline please! One minute is October 2017 and your lecturer is telling you when the assignment is due. The next minute it is the last week before Christmas and you’ve realised you’ve done no work for this assignment so you are running to the library trying to book a computer and all the out of date versions of the books you need and trying to have the space in silent study.
One thing about University, is that you are supposed to be more independent so no one isn’t going to tell you, you need to start your assignment by this date. You should manage your learning and studying and making sure your assignments are on time. People always think they can survive or work well under pressure but a lot of the times, they can’t.
Now, you shouldn’t even be getting to that point where you are working under pressure because your self-control has gone out of the window. As Benjamin Franklin says, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Even those people who are working very last minute, they have done the bare minimum prep behind the scenes. You need to prepare and research for that assignment, even though you might write it up closer to the deadline.
Time management is all about exercising control and planning time effectively over various tasks within a certain period. If you can plan, when you have breakfast, lunch and dinner and your social activities, you can plan your University life and your assignments. Effective time management should allow you to plan, research and write at least a few drafts of your essay before the deadline and making sure that you are happy with your final draft before submitting it online and a paper copy. Most universities deadline is between 12pm and 2pm on that day, so submitting it at least 15 mins before the deadline. Not being rattled, running to your submission office at 11.58am and waiting in a queue to submit one poorly read draft.
Here are some tips that you can use to help to plan your assignments and life;
- Set goals and aim to crush them.
You can work to the SMART module and make sure you are constantly hitting the targets. For example, you could set yourself to read the chapter in the book that relates to that topic of the essay by the end of the week or write up 300 words or finish that paperwork or task by 4pm. This way, you are constantly working and not feeling under so much pressure when the deadline is here.
- Avoid procrastination.
This is so tempting, you’ll concentrating for 20 mins, then get tagged in a meme on Instagram, then you are taking quizzes on BuzzFeed or Facebook. How did you get here, you were just 250 words deep into your essay? Stop the distractions and allow yourself strict time to procrastinate and relax otherwise you’ll be scrolling on the timeline all night and your cursor will be blinking on your word document.
What is more important? Getting those last 500 words done for the essay or going out to Heavenly Desserts to have ‘I’ll have what she’s having’. Think about what needs to get actioned first and do it, the other tasks will still be there to complete later.
- Make and work from a to do list.
I find it really helps and it can help you mentally put things in order. Don’t write down 1000 things then get pushed to tomorrow, then that tomorrow turn into 2 weeks later. Nope, not effective – Write down things needs to get done today and today only and then work from there. Use a highlighter system to focus on things urgent/important and make sure your cross off tasks when completed.
- Review and have a backup plan.
Always review your progress and see what still needs to get done so you are closer to the finish line. Also, have a backup plan. I have been there when you are working on an essay and your computer/laptop isn’t cooperating and or you have lost your USB stick. To rectify this always send the latest draft to yourself via email or have a sharing site like Dropbox or Evernote, so you can pick up where you left off or have a foundation to start from if you lose your work.
- Take breaks.
Go outside and have 5 minutes of fresh air. You need a break and a rest. You can only survive on energy drinks or caffeine tablets for so long. Taking breaks are important but don’t take them too regularly and for too long.
- Don’t think you are superwomen or superman.
Unfortunately, you don’t have the ability to be nocturnal every single night and do everything. Rome was not built in a day, you’ve got to realise that you can’t get everything done and it’s okay. Do as much as you can and it should help you get over that finish line.
- Remain positive.
When things are tough and you have a lot on, it’s easy to be negative but if you keep pushing and believing in yourself you can get it done and smile in the process.