Hello everyone 🙂
Having just finished my second year of part-time university study, well kind of, part-time study means I complete 2 subjects a semester over a 6-year period, although this sounded like a ridiculous amount of time to me, so I usually study the trimester of Christmas, so I can then complete my degree over a 4-year span! The reason I chose to study this way is that I work 4-5 days a week. My job can be pretty crazy sometimes and always involves something different each day. I am a personal assistant/office manager for an awesome lady called Brooke, who runs 4 businesses of her own. While I love my job, sometimes after work I really don’t feel like coming home and jumping on my computer to study. I know there would be some people out there who can study full time and work full time, but If that’s you, I would really like to meet you and ask when you find time to sleep? Ha-ha.
In my first year I found I struggled a little to manage my time well, as I mentioned above that If worked all week and preferably made it to the gym every day, the last thing I felt like doing after working on my computer all day was coming home to write an assignment into the night, but if I didn’t complete this on weekdays, it then meant I needed to schedule out my weekend. While this always sounded like a good idea, it usually led to me being social ALL weekend and madly catching up on Sunday evening. SO I needed to find a good balance and this last semester I felt as though I had a good one! I wanted to offer a few tips on time management and how I try to be more productive 😊
Wake up early in the morning to read textbooks and watch lectures
When it comes to absorbing information my brain usually works best in the mornings when I first wake up. On days that I know I need to watch a lecture or have a textbook chapter read, I wake up at around 5:30am and study until about 7, as that’s usually when I need to start getting ready for work. If I can get this work done during the week it spreads out the workload and leaves my weekends to do my assignments. I used to work out in the mornings but have adjusted to going after work. I know then after I finish in the gym I can just come home and chill. I am lucky that I’m not a late-night person, I love the mornings. I have always been in bed by 9:00pm/10:00pm, so it’s generally easy for me to wake up. I know for a lot of people that is not the case, eventually, your body forms routines and it does become easier. If you have trouble getting to bed early, see my post on how to wind down after the day, here.
Learn to say no more often
Sometimes on the weekend, I have a habit of saying yes to everything and suddenly every day is full of plans. Obviously, I would much rather go to the beach with my friends than sit at home doing an assignment, but I have started to say no to a few more plans during the day which then allows me to really enjoy the evening as I know I had a productive day.
I also have started saying no more often to staying out until 3:00am drinking. Being hungover and sleepless really wastes a full day the next day. While I have had some really good times out with friends, this isn’t that hard for me anyway as I have never been a big fan of late nights. If I do want to go out, and I know I have to study the next day, I try to take myself home at around midnight. This way I can still enjoy the night with my friends but also have a semi-good sleep (I know, I’m that grandma friend). I’m such a morning person though that I would rather spend Sunday morning going for an early morning jog and having a smoothie anyway!
Start assignments at least 4 weeks before they are due and do a little bit every few days
I try to start my assignments a few weeks out before they are due. I find starting something the hardest part, but it feels so productive once you do, even if you just get the introduction done, at least you have started. If you do a little bit each weekend for a few hours over a span of 4 -5 weeks, it doesn’t feel like such a big workload or stress. Even though I find myself still working a little harder when the due date does come up, at least ¾ of it is already completed and I just have to refine it. This does take some self-discipline on weekends but it’s worth it. I would rather lose 2 hours on a Saturday and Sunday than spend a full weekend cramming and stressing at the last minute trying to get it done.
Hide your phone
This seems so simple, but it really is very effective. This sounds so bad, but I usually put my phone downstairs or hide it somewhere I know I won’t be bothered to get it. This way you don’t even get the temptation to get distracted by social media. Also, recently I have deleted the Facebook App off my phone, so I can no longer scroll and have to log into my computer if I want to check it. This really helps as I only check Facebook about once a day now. While I enjoy using social media, I find it a massive time waster.
Work from a desk
Sometimes I take my laptop into my bed in the morning or on the weekend, I work for about 10 mins and then either get distracted or have a nap. While it sounds like a comfy place to work, it’s not as productive as sitting at a table or desk. If I need to get something done quickly, I know now to just go straight to my desk first.
I hope these tips will help you if you are also juggling a few things at once! 🙂