How to manage your time between study and other commitments
How do you manage your time? Many of you, particularly online students, are probably fitting your studies in around full-time or part-time employment, family and other life commitments. You’re going to need time management skills to balance your studies with everything else you have going on in your life. Explore our list of tips and resources and see if any of them work for you.
To-do lists are a great way to organise yourself. An urgent/important matrix takes your to-do list to the next level. Write down everything that you need to do for the month. Then organise your list of tasks into four quadrants:
Important and urgent: These are the tasks that you have to complete right away. They are usually things that have either been left to the last minute, or have cropped up out of nowhere. If this quadrant is full, then you need to seriously rethink how you’re approaching your time management. You might also need to reflect on the source of any urgent tasks that suddenly appear without warning.
Important but not urgent: These are the milestones that you need to reach to achieve your goals. You’ve planned out all the tasks you need to do, and you have plenty of time to accomplish them. Make sure you complete these tasks before they become urgent.
Not important but urgent: These are the tasks 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? Reach out to your support network and see who can lend a hand with some of these distractions.
Not important and not urgent: These are total distractions to achieving your goals. Get rid of as many of these as you can!
Once you’ve organised your to-do list into these quadrants you can prioritise your tasks accordingly.
Eat the frog
There’s an old saying when it comes to time management, ‘Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day’. Basically, try and think of the worst, most distasteful task that you need to do today, then do it before you do anything else. Once it’s out of the way, everything else will feel a lot lighter and easier to accomplish.
Time boxing is the process of designating blocks of time to the completion of specific tasks. The blocks of time should be between 24 to 45 minutes long. Take a task from your to-do list and estimate how many blocks of time you think it might need to complete.
For that entire block of time, concentrate on nothing else but the task at hand. Put your phone on silent, don’t check your email, don’t answer any phone calls and don’t log in to any social media. At the end of each period of time, take a five to ten minute break.
There a few benefits to time boxing. By making an effort to concentrate on one task for a period of time, you can end up completing more work, much faster. Taking breaks between the blocks of time allows you to keep your mind fresh. Work in a few desk exercises or a short walk around the house and you’ll also be doing a lot for your health and wellbeing.
There are a few time management techniques built around time boxing. The Pomodoro technique is a well-known version of time boxing that has inspired a multitude of free time management apps.
Study workload planner
Our study workload planner is a great way to find a balance between your life commitments and your studies. You can easily block out time for study, family, work, sleep and any other important part of your life. Build your schedule today!