Since plenty of the customers who order contacts online from us are university and college students, we thought we’d do you a solid by sharing our best time management tips for students. Being a leader in the online contact lens game takes a certain level of focus and we were university students once ourselves, so we’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. When you’re in college, the workload is pretty substantial and it can be a lot of pressure. Now that you’re on your own, succeeding at school while maintaining your sanity and having a social life means prioritizing your time. Our brains only have a certain amount of energy to expend every day so it’s important to use it wisely. Not sure where to start? Here’s the Fresh Lens guide on how to manage time effectively at college and university:
Using time effectively is almost impossible if you don’t know how long different tasks and activities actually take to complete. For a few weeks, log everything you do from eating breakfast to writing an economics paper and note the amount of time you spend on each item. This will help you figure out how to make a time schedule that’s realistic and you’ll be able to accurately estimate what you can finish in a day or a week. It’s easy to overschedule yourself if you’re projecting a four-hour study session is only going to take one hour. Doing a time audit can also reveal the areas where you’re not so efficient or ways you might not even notice you’re wasting time. Then, you can reevaluate and better organize your schedule.
We’re not saying your weekends or nights have to be scheduled down to the second but finding a calendar or app that works for your needs and creating a schedule for weekdays can be helpful. Use what you learned from your time audit to block out time for everything you have to do each day, including class, assignments, a shift at work and studying. The importance of time management really boils down to ensuring your life has balance. Leave space to hang out with friends, go to parties, relax, exercise and, of course, sleep. Also make sure your schedule is flexible enough to handle unexpected interruptions, which are bound to happen. As for how to manage study sessions for a hard test or other more challenging tasks, think about the time of day you’re most alert and productive. If you’re a morning person, schedule the difficult assignments in the a.m. and if you’re a night owl, pencil (or type) them in for the evening.
You’ll quickly learn one of the secrets of how to manage time effectively at college and university is putting in the work of planning. If you were rolling your eyes at our last time management tip, you could be surprised at how hard it is to know where to direct your efforts without a roadmap. So, spend an hour on Sunday going through your tasks and making a schedule. Get rid of the clutter on your desk or wherever you do your studying. If you can’t find your assignments or things are really chaotic, you won’t be able to keep track of when everything is due and what’s finished and what’s still outstanding. Plus, research shows that when there’s too much visual stimuli (aka clutter) it competes for your attention and decreases productivity. An organized desk = an organized mind.
It’s really, really tempting to give yourself a break and space your courses out but it’s actually not the best strategy for time management for college students. You’ll waste time walking back and forth to classes and you won’t be able to really focus on studying or anything else As soon as you crack open your book, it will be time to head back to campus. Also, let’s keep it real, when you have an hour or two between classes, it makes it easier to just take a nap and skip your next class or check out what’s going on in the twitterverse instead of doing something productive. Schedule your courses back-to-back and if you really want to go for it, try to group them into two or three days to give yourself days off where you’ll be completely free to work, study or do other activities.
If something has an approaching deadline or is urgent, make it a top priority. Sure, certain classes or activities might ultimately be more enjoyable or important to you but you can’t give them the attention they deserve if something urgent is hanging over your head. Finish as many urgent tasks as possible before moving on to anything else. Waiting until the last minute when you’re frantic means you’re not using time effectively and your quality of work will suffer. When you’re determining how to organize your time for a particular day, ask yourself, what do I have to do? It might seem obvious but those all-nighters prove we sometimes neglect to cross the urgent stuff off our to-do lists.
Once those urgent, absolutely must-do items are done, prioritize the rest of your tasks using the 80-20 rule, also called the Pareto Principle. It’s really a foundation of time management and it’s insanely popular because it works. The idea behind the 80-20 rule is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. So, it means eliminating the non-essential stuff from your to-do list and really focusing on the 20% that’s bringing you the most value. This tactic will help you achieve success and free up time for yourself. You can apply it to any area of your life but since we’re talking about time management tips for students, we’ll stick with using it for school.
Say when studying for a test you typically read over your notes from class, re-read the chapters in the book, meet with a study group, look online for information and use flashcards. Now, really think about which of these steps are the most valuable and actually help you do well on your test and skip the ones that are less efficient. If, for example, after taking one test in a class, you notice the majority of the questions are coming directly from the class notes and only two or three are from your book, direct your energy towards reviewing your notes (because you already read those chapters, right?). If for the same test, the study group and your personal flashcard fun both involve some form of visual learning, pick the one that you get more from and eliminate the other from your routine. Boom. Time saved.
Nope. We’re not talking about scrolling through Instagram or digging up your old SpongeBob fanfic blog. Instead, harness the power of the Internet for productivity purposes! Shop online and have necessities delivered every month on subscription instead of spending time shopping and hitting up multiple stores. For example, order contacts online from Fresh Lens. We’ll ship your contact lenses to your dorm or apartment for free and we’ll even keep your prescription on file to make it easier for you. You just knocked out an important task and you didn’t have to use any precious brain power or time doing it.
Another way we use up mental energy is by making decisions over and over and over. One of these decisions, is what to wear during the week. If fashion is your life, by all means, that’s mental energy well spent but if it’s not a priority for you, a uniform can save time and prevent decision fatigue. A uniform worked for Steve Jobs. We definitely wouldn’t suggest dressing up like him every day but there’s nothing wrong with putting your own spin on it. You can get up, put your standard outfit on and head out without thinking about it.
Learning to stop procrastinating is probably the single best thing you can do for your time management in college. Procrastinating makes the simplest assignments overwhelming. Sometimes, you just have to force yourself to do things. Even if you’re drawing a blank trying to write a paper, sit down and start typing. Type anything and eventually the words will come. This will help retrain your brain and improve your focus. Once you’re caught up and you’re using your time effectively, complete things as they’re assigned. That means really reading the chapter you’re supposed to before your lecture, starting on a paper as soon as you learn about it or doing the weekly assignments that will be collected at the end of the semester each week. It’s easier to keep up and complete small tasks than it is to try to cram learning the material for an entire course into the two days before your final exam.
This one is tied to breaking your procrastination habit. If an assignment or task is daunting and complex, break it up into smaller, manageable steps and complete each step in order before moving on to the next one. Spread the tasks out over a number of days or weeks, depending on the due date and what the assignment is. Put each step into your daily schedule and make sure you overestimate just a bit in case something takes you longer than you anticipate. After you tackle a certain number of steps, give yourself a reward, whether it’s a snack, heading out somewhere with your friends or catching up on your latest guilty pleasure on Netflix.
When you’re busy (or having fun), exercise, eating right and taking time for yourself can fall to the wayside. Exercise will boost your energy, improve your focus and mental clarity and reduces stress. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and recharging also play important roles in keeping you functioning at your best. When you feel good, you’re more motivated, you won’t miss classes because you’ve caught yet another cold and you’re less likely to get burned out. Adding more things to your to-do list might seem counterintuitive when we’re chatting about how to manage time effectively at college but your mind and body will thank you. If you can’t seem to commit to working out, put it in your schedule like you would anything else and enlist a friend to hit the gym with you.
Another way to take care of yourself and manage stress is to make sure you spend time with your friends and get out and meet new people. A support system is so important for our mental health and wellbeing. Balance the things you enjoy with your school responsibilities to maintain perspective and have a fulfilling, awesome college experience. Yeah, you have to study and do work but you should also live it up a little.
Communicate with other people, including professors, your roommate, your family and your friends. Be honest about what you need. If you have a huge test coming up, it’s okay to tell your friends you can’t go out with them like you planned, to let your parents know that it’s not the best weekend to go home for a visit or ask your roommate to turn down the music for a few hours. The same goes for professors. They’re human. If you don’t understand something, send your professor an email and ask if they can suggest some resources. If, after implementing different ways to manage time better, you’re still behind, overwhelmed and stressed, reach out for help. You don’t have to do everything on your own and if something else is going on that’s making day-to-day responsibilities seem insurmountable, talking about it with someone instead of struggling on, is your best bet.
Hopefully you can put some of the tips in this handy guide on how to manage time effectively at college and university into action. Planning, prioritizing and streamlining will help you conquer your to-do list and still have time left over for the fun stuff. Want to see clearly while you become a master of productivity (and save time and money in the process)?
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