When you start studying, you’re taking a huge step into the world of adult responsibility; and if you thought you had a lot on your plate before, higher education takes that to a whole new level. Fitting everything in is therefore a skill well worth learning. Here’s how to do it:
Start with the full picture
Do an “audit” of all the activities you need to fit into a specific time frame – per week is a good place to start. Then, if you have things you need to do once or twice a month or once a year only, add those into the mix too. The kinds of things you’ll want to include would be: lecture and practical times, plus time for studying, part-time work, groups you belong to, exercise, etc
Using some kind of calendar, whether electronic or on paper, write in the activities that have specific time slots you need to stick to, like lectures or club meetings. Also take into account any travel time to and from wherever you need to be. Then schedule the things that don’t require a fixed time slot, like studying, hobbies or exercise, around those. If you have large projects you want to complete, break them up into bite-sized pieces and schedule each piece. Don’t forget to include some time for socialising and chilling out!
There are likely to be some things on your daily schedule that absolutely MUST be done within a given time frame, and others that are “nice-to-haves”. If you know what the essential things are up front, you can do them first to get them out the way. By prioritising you won’t need to agonise over what to focus on if you suddenly find yourself in a time crunch.
Once you have a plan, put it to the test in real life. You may well find that you need to adjust a few things, and if you do, be sure to update your calendar with any changes. In reality, you probably won’t stick perfectly to your schedule every week, but if you manage to follow it most of the time, allowing for unforeseen circumstances, you’ll be way ahead of the pack!