“If only I had more time to study, I probably would have aced this exam,” I’ve probably said this a million times in my head every time I blankly stare at a questionnaire during exams. Instead of actually thinking about how to answer, I’ll think about all the time I spent binge-watching on Netflix or scrolling through Instagram. I’ll blame myself for a minute then I’ll pretend like it was “time” itself that was at fault.
The truth is, on most occasions, “not having enough time” is just an excuse I make to take the blame off myself. I know that I am not alone in this; many people struggle with this as well. We all have the time, it really is just a matter of using it well. People always tell me this that it’s almost repetitive at this point, but it is true and I’ve learned it the hard way. During my freshman year, I’ve crammed essays up to the last minute. I’ve taken a physics exam clueless. I’ve gone to sleep at 10 PM (which by the way, is way too early for my usual bedtime) unaware of the looming deadlines the next day. I was a mess and so were my grades.
Since my experiences, I really put a lot of conscious effort to managing my time well to effectively juggle my time for research, academics, student org responsibilities, and my internship. Here are some tips I personally do:
- Make a calendar of all your activities
Of course, this is an obvious tip but it is also one that most people struggle with. I find that writing down all deadlines and reminders on a calendar really helps a lot with planning and allocating days for studying and doing research. I also use my smart phone to take note of meetings and due dates so I can set alarms for everything. I need that extra push to have some sense of urgency.
Recommend: Alamat Dream Board Planner
As a visual learner, I find this desk planner extremely helpful as it comes with a vision board that I can regularly customize to plot down my daily plans and activities.
2. Set a “to-do list” for the day and get as much done.
Nothing feels better than crossing something off your to-do list. My personal tip is to really plan your week ahead, each day of the week. Try to do as many of your weekly tasks at the start of the week so that in case you can’t finish them all, you’ll still have time to finish them during the rest of the week. Wouldn’t it feel great to celebrate Fridays without stressing over deadlines? You can finally binge- watch on Netflix without feeling guilty. You deserve it!
Recommend: Pinto Personalizable Journal
I really like this one because you can put all your reminders on the cover of the journal.
3. Think of a reward you can give yourself for accomplishing tasks.
I read an interesting blog post about the psychology of time management. Present-oriented people find it more difficult to do certain tasks because that would mean delaying activities that they enjoy. Whereas future-oriented people understand that delaying gratification can mean better rewards in the future. Future-oriented people are better at planning and managing their time because they always look forward to something they can enjoy without guilt.
Even if you’re not a future-oriented person, you can still pretend like you are one. Just think of a reward you’d give yourself if you accomplish a task days before the deadline (I personally like to treat myself to a milk tea drink). This way, you are finally done with the dreaded essay and you can enjoy your free time drawing or painting without feeling pressured with pending deadlines.
Product in the picture: Fiesta Traveler’s Notebook
After accomplishing your tasks, you can draw and paint on the Fiesta Traveler’s Notebook which can carry your planner, pens, and art tools.
4. Some things are worth more than others.
It always comes to a point when you have 2 exams, 4 deadlines, and 2 meetings scheduled on the same day. No matter how much planning and scheduling you do, there are external factors you just can’t control. When this happens, it’s really important to recognize the value of prioritizing and rescheduling. To efficiently do this, you have to weigh in every single factor. Can this meeting be pushed the next day? Is this exam extremely critical to your passing the subject? If not, then maybe it’s best to focus on other things in the meantime.
Product in the picture: Pitaka Multicard Pocket Wallet
5. Don’t forget to rest!
What good does finishing a research paper do when you can’t even get out of bed to submit it on time? Always remember that your physical and mental health will always be more important than your grades or your professor’s appreciation. I know that there’s a lot at stake, but spreading yourself too thin may actually do the opposite of your intended goal. Remember to take deep breaths and quick naps when you find yourself at the brink of extreme exhaustion. You can even take a day off and go on vacation for your peace of mind. It gives you the extra boost to finish everything at once.
Product in the picture: Artisan II Dual Journal/ Passport Sleeve Journal