Speaking from experience I know how hard it can be to be a student. This is coming from a full-time student who also works part-time for the Students’ Union, has another part-time job, has to try to make time for a social life, stays active and still remembers to keep hydrated and mentally sane all at the same time.
I suppose everyone works in their own different ways; some people couldn’t handle having doing several things at once. Others work better that way. In this article I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks about how I keep on top of my time and get everything done.
Wake up Early
As painful as it sounds, waking up early gives you more time in the day to do more things. The more hours you have, the more you will get done. If you’re not an early riser, you will surprise yourself with the productivity that lies within those three extra hours you give yourself at the start of the day. Whether it was doing college work, going to the gym, or actually having time to have a proper breakfast; waking up early is key.
Start your week on a High
So many people hate Mondays. It could be because they’re not prepared for their week, social media hates Mondays, and because Mondays mean ‘doing it alllll over againnnn’ my solution for this is doing something every Monday that makes me happy. It could be having an over the top breakfast in my favourite café/restaurant or it could mean buying a new packet of highlighters for the stationery junkie that I am or it may be as simple as meeting a friend for a morning coffee. Doing something I like on a Monday automatically takes away that Monday blues feeling.
Plan your Week
You don’t necessarily need to plan your week down to a T, but have your weekly objectives in mind. It is important to have guidance to stay on track. Know what your priorities are and estimate how much time everything will take. There are so many ways to do this and everyone has their own unique way of organisation.
I use a combination; Google calendar, a daily diary and a black A5 hardback that I write all of my to-do lists in. Never under-estimate the satisfaction of crossing out tasks you have completed on your to-do list.
- Google Calendar sends notifications before events happen to remind you when you have to be somewhere.
- Using a daily diary guides you through the day when you have several things to do. I can also tell when I look in my diary if I’ll need to bring more food in with me, If my day is busier than usual.
- To do lists put everything into perspective for me. I can tell by looking at my to-do list for the week, or for the day, if I’m going to need help.
- This is important, as sometimes you have to acknowledge that you won’t be able to do everything by yourself.
Know Your Priorities
Think of the rock, pebbles and sand analogy.
If there is a large empty mayonnaise jar. And you fill it to the top with large rocks and the jar is full.
You could then add small pebbles to the jar, and give the jar a bit of a shake so the pebbles could disperse themselves among the larger rocks. The jar is still full.
You could even pour sand into the jar to fill up any remaining empty space. At this stage the jar would be completely full.
The jar represents everything that is in one’s life. The rocks are equivalent to the most important projects and things you have going on, such as spending time with your family and maintaining proper health. As a student of DIT an important priority would also include getting a good quality education. This means that if the pebbles and the sand were lost, the jar would still be full and your life would still have meaning.
Be mindful of what you’re giving your time to.
Learn how to say NO
This can be so hard for people to do; I’ve often wondered why there aren’t enough hours in the day, for more productivity. If you are really up to your eyes with work, CA’s, events you volunteered for, meetings to go to etc. why would you take on more? It’s not malicious to say NO. You’re just not able to do the task. Also, don’t feel guilty. The contrition will impede your work ethic and slow down everything you need to do.
Time is so valuable to me, as much as I would love to spend hours scrolling through the ‘Fenty Beauty’ Instagram contemplating on what I’m going to buy for myself on my next pay-day, or Watching Sherlock on Netflix. I know that I could prepare for a tutorial, reply to emails or read a chapter of Equity Law which I still cannot wrap my head around. Nobody knows you better than you. Acknowledge what distracts you from getting things done and stay away from them when you are doing important things. It could be social media or it could even be the people you surround yourself with.
Take care of yourself 🙂
Some of the mirrors around all the campuses have ‘This is the person who is responsible for your safety’ written above them and they are absolutely right. You have to look after you! Take a break when you need a break, I will never encourage procrastination, but you have to be careful that you don’t burn yourself out. One of my favourite lecturers Ger Hussey told me that it is important for students to allocate time to do absolutely nothing. No slaving away in a restaurant, no academic reading, nothing that could possibly physically or mentally strenuous. So when you’re planning out your week, make sure to designate time for ‘Chillin’.