Time management strategies

Michelle Du Toit is a third year student at the University of Wollongong, undertaking a double bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts and Communication & Media Studies. During her time at UOW she focuses her efforts on volunteering at AIME, mentoring for disadvantaged Aboriginal and Pacific Islander children. When not volunteering she is found knee deep in paint or blogging about all things media. Read more here
The ABC’s of time management
Since starting my university journey, I can easily say that the most challenging aspect was learning how to balance the increased work load and level of responsibility that comes with this new life. Managing my time well and keeping track of all these new tasks was challenging; while my current system had served me well up to this point, I soon found that my plan of attack had to be drastically altered in order to survive.
It took many attempts to find a system that really worked for me and ensured I was using my time efficiently; and once one was established, sticking to it and adapting to the new demands required nothing short of a Rocky training montage. So to help you out I am sharing my top 5 tips, that you can implement today to ensuring your maximising your 1,440 minutes a day.
In our busy lives we have so many things fighting for our attention and time, so it is important to prioritize each task, use this formula A + B + C ; here A is time, B is effort and C is significance. You need to evaluate how much time and effort it will take you to complete said task, compared to the significance and make allowances accordingly.
2. To multitasking or not to multitask
While multitasking is a necessity to many aspects of our daily lives, neuroscientists however have found that it is detrimental when completing complex tasks such as studying and information retention, as these tasks demand immense focus. Studies conducted by Hembrook in 2003 found our ability to effectively multitask when learning is at best limited and worst virtually impossible. So cut out all distractions and spend quality time studying, truth is that your time previously spend ‘studying’ will decrease dramatically as you won’t get side tracked by the next viral cat video.
3. Learn when to say NO
During your time at university you’re going to be presented with many opportunities wether their academic (internship), financial or social (parties, clubs). Learning to say NO to opportunities because other tasks already require your time is hard, but it’s a decision you will be faced with often. I have found using the ABC method here; can put the task into perspective and assists in making the decision.
4. Be creative
When it comes to time management everyone is different and everyone has a different system, feel free to experiment and test them all until you find the one that suits you. I like to do a lot of my readings while commuting via public transport to my university, and spending those saved hours to do more enjoyable activities. Other students I know like to save lecture recordings and listen to them instead of the radio; so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
5. 80/20 rule
At the end of the day it’s all about balance so fill 80 percent of your time doing the things you have to do like that dreadful concept of studying and working and spend the remaining 20 percent doing fun recreational activities like socializing with your friends or catching up on the latest episode of your favourite show. It’s all about work life balance and at the moment you will be working more than you’re accustomed to.
Sometimes you will be saying NO to social events as your studies require your attention, but then again no one said it was going to be easy, but if you plan your time right, more often than not you can have your cake and eat it too.

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