Life is busy. There’s university, your family, friends, a social life, sport and other extracurricular activities. With so many competing priorities, time management can become a tricky and stressful affair – especially around exam and assignment deadlines.
We’ve caught up with Senior Student Writing Mentor Barkha Aghicha to find out her top tips for getting your schedule under control and making the most of limited time.
It’s ok to be overwhelmed
First, Barkha says it’s important to stop and recognise if you are overwhelmed and that it’s ok to feel this way.
‘You just have to accept the fact that you’ve got a lot on, and be reasonable with the things you can and can’t do.
‘Be mindful that there is always a lot to do at uni and try to allocate time accordingly.’
Be realistic and prioritise
Barkha’s top tip is to prioritise your workload and focus on whatever is coming up first.
‘Try and make lists and utilise timetables and planners, such as Deakin’s Assignment Planner. This will help you stay on top of what is coming up, where to be and what time to be there,’ she says.
The bonus of lists is that they can be physically checked off, giving you an added sense of achievement along the way.
What to do if you are running out of time
If you run into trouble with your time management and things are spinning out of control, don’t forget to speak up.
If there’s time, chat to a friend or see a Writing Mentor for example. If things are getting really tight, approach your lecturer or unit chair and ask them for advice.
Barkha says that voicing the problem is the first step in moving on.
Don’t go around in circles
If something’s taking a lot longer than expected, you feel stuck, or find yourself going around in circles, put it aside for a bit and focus on something else. Coming back to it at a later stage, often helps with finding a solution.
‘It gives you time to think about it subconsciously,’ Barkha says.
She adds that scheduling 15-minute blocks for study and then having a break can be immensely helpful.
‘In my eyes, taking time out is just as important as studying, as it helps you to re-focus on the task at hand.’
Don’t get complacent
The key to good time management is to never get complacent. This means physically and mentally being there from the start of the trimester and actively engaging all the way through to exam time.
Barkha recommends to keep checking your summaries, and having a clear idea of objectives from the unit guide to save time; remembering what your lecturers and tutors point out as key memory items; taking good notes and attending your classes (in person or in the Cloud).
‘If you’ve attended tutes and lectures you are already half way there – always remember that!’
Deakin has a team of staff and students dedicated to providing free study support services to help you get the most out of your learning experience. Find out more on our Study Support web page.