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A small white alarm clock

Published 5 June 2018

Three great time management techniques

By Cloud Campus

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Time management is one of the top ways to stay motivated as a Cloud Campus student. When you have competing demands on your time, even a spare half-hour can become a precious commodity. If you plan your time effectively you can maximise the potential of every minute you put towards your studies.

First: write a to-do list

A good list can really help you get organised. It sounds like the simplest time management technique, but there’s an art to putting together a great to-do list.

Start by writing down everything you need to complete over the next three months. It’s helpful to make lists for different categories like study, work, jobs around the house – whatever in your life requires the most attention.

Break up large tasks into easily manageable sub-tasks. An essay will be made up of research time, constructing a plan, writing a first draft and so on. You’ll wind up with a list of all the steps you need to complete your immediate goals. You can then rank those steps in order of importance and urgency.

Be careful not to overload yourself with too many tasks in a single day. Start with one or two tasks a day and see how you go.

You can use an app like Evernote to create your lists and keep track of them.

Then: categorise tasks using the urgent-important matrix

This is a fantastic way to prioritise the tasks on your to-do list. The first thing you need to understand is the difference between tasks that are important and tasks that are urgent. Important tasks brings us closer to our goals. Urgent tasks have to be completed right away and are usually linked with someone else’s goals.

Take your to-do list and put the tasks into one these four categories.

Important and urgent: These are the tasks that we have either left to the last minute, or have cropped up out of nowhere. If this category of your matrix has a lot of entries you may have bitten off more than you can chew. Time to apply for some extensions!

Important but not urgent: These are the tasks that relate directly to accomplishing your goals. They might include studying for an exam or finding the right quotes for an essay. You want to make sure you complete these tasks before they become urgent

Not important but urgent: These are the task that block your goals. You want as few of these as possible! Who in your life can help take some of these off your plate?

Not important and not urgent: These are the distractions. Get rid of as many of these as you can!

You can use an app like GoConqr to organise your matrix.

Finally: get it done with the Pomodoro Technique

This time management technique takes its name from novelty kitchen timers shaped like pomodoro tomatoes. It breaks up a task into units of time called a pomodoro, 25 minutes of uninterrupted work followed by a five minute break. This is the average amount of time a person can stay truly focused on one topic without becoming distracted. It’s also a great reminder to stand up from your desk and stretch every half-hour. This technique becomes even more valuable when you track how much work you’re able to complete with each pomodoro. Soon, you’ll be able to tell exactly how many pomodoros it will take to complete specific tasks, and then find those half-hour spaces in your schedule to get them done.

You can use an app like focus booster to time yourself and track your progress.

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