When you’re a student, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. After all, with 15 hours dedicated to sleep, 5 to eating and 4 hours for the latest Netflix shows… When do you have time to study?
If you’re a poor soul doing a master’s degree and working a job too, it’s surely impossible, right? Wrong!
The problem most of us have with getting stuff done is we don’t know how to manage our time (guilty). However, there are many things we can do to maximise our time and make the most of each of those 24 hours!
1. Apps and tools
Let’s start off with help from our friend technology. Most of our apps tend to be games or social media stuff, but there are some really useful ones to make our lives easier and maximise our time.
Rescue Time is an interesting one, calculating the time you spend on the apps on your phone to hit you with a serious reality check. (I spend how long on Insta?!) On the other hand, you’ve got apps like Remember the Milk which is perfect if you’ve got a lot to keep in your head and get done throughout the day. The app will remind you of everything you need to do so you can be one of those pesky ‘productive people.’
Although apps are great, don’t forget that the smart phone is the enemy of the person who balances everything. If you’ve got important things to take care of maybe shut the phone off for an hour or two… You might be surprised at how quickly the task is done.
2. Friends and family
Just because we’ve got technology to help us, don’t think you should forget about these guys! A strong support system is the foundation of any productive person’s life. Friends, family, partner, kids, they all love you for a reason, and should support you throughout your tough days and your easy ones.
Never be afraid to ask for their help, even if it’s something simple like a ten-minute rant down the phone or doing the washing up for you. Family and friendship is a team sport and should be treated as such. Don’t think of this as a sign of weakness either, everyone needs help sometimes.
If you feel like you are really struggling though, don’t forget that our Health and Wellbeing teams are based in TheHub and are always ready to help. Be sure to pop in for a chat if you need to, and download their app here.
3. Listen to the right things
Podcasts are a great way to absorb information easily, they’re perfect for the commute, when you’re cooking dinner or just on the go. There’re are a bunch about how to manage your time too.
The Tim Ferriss Show is a great one if you like to hear the results of social experiments, which Tim regularly undertakes himself, and tales of guests’ productivity hacks. Or if you’re really strapped for time, Extreme Productivity with Kevin Kruse is only 15 mins an episode and gives you insights into experts’ views on time management and productivity.
If podcasts aren’t your thing, music is a great way to dictate your mood and energy levels. Try listening to something upbeat in the morning, especially if you struggle with getting out of bed. There are plenty of playlists on Spotify and other music sites to give you some inspiration. Conversely, if you struggle to settle down and relax with everything on your mind, try some ambient music to help you unwind.
There are some great examples of the genre in this blog!
4. Creating routines (and sticking to them)
This is the ultimate rubbish new year’s resolution but it really can work. The trick is to be as detailed as possible. Write a daily plan and include alarm times, work shift hours, study hours, lectures and seminars, social time and even rest breaks, because the more you put in the more efficient you’ll be with your time.
Then you just have to be disciplined, which is tough when issues crop up and disrupt your plans, but stay positive. It only takes three weeks for something to become a routine.
5. Be prepared
It’s the boy scouts’ motto for a reason people, always be prepared! There are tons of time saving tricks when it comes to preparing for the day or week to come. For instance, food prep has become massively popular for people who want to keep a healthy lifestyle but are always on the go.
Make big batches of your favourite foods, like pasta bakes, fajitas, curries and fruit and granola mixes, seal them up in little portion pots and load up your fridge or freezer. Although you do have to dedicate some time to do this, it’s so satisfying to come home from a long day at work or studying and find the cooking is taken care of.
When it comes to preparation it’s the little things that save you a lot of time. Make sure you’re getting everything you need for the morning ready the night before. Having your clothes set out, bag sorted and keys, passes etc. all in the same place means getting up and going is a really simple process. Have a think about things that take up a lot of your time, and if they could benefit from a little more preparation.
6. Take care of yourself
As important as it is to juggle your work, studying and lifestyle, it’s also really important to take care of yourself too. It’s obvious that we all should watch our diet and get enough exercise to feel our best physically. But people usually don’t think about the mental benefits of this too. Studies always show how much a good diet and exercise elevates our moods, makes us more productive and increases energy levels.
It’s also essential that you’re getting enough sleep. The student lifestyle is notorious for weird sleep patterns, and if you have other commitments and a job to think about too, sleep is usually sacrificed. Not only will getting your 7-8 hours a night make you feel rested, calmer and ready for the day, but studies also show long-term sleep deficiency is linked with many health problems from heart disease to strokes and diabetes. Maybe add in some nap time to that plan!
Finally, as important as your family and friends are to you, make sure you’re making time for yourself too. Whether it’s watching a movie, going for a short walk or even meditating, everyone needs that bit of ‘me time’ in their lives. Never feel bad that you want to spend some time alone, it probably just means you need time to recharge. And that’s a good thing!