Ever had that moment where you regretted having all those flatmate bonding sessions, night outs and the procrastination sessions and wished that you could have spent all those time finishing your piling assignments and university work?
I do. But being a student is not just about being a student – we also want to be normal-functioning humans who are having the time of their life. So the question is not about how to not waste time, but rather on how to make the most of our day, having minused the eat, play and sleep parts (and the list goes on).
After some trial and error (took me 6 weeks, oops!), I think I got my answers.
1. Diary/ Planner/ Google Calendar
Mental notes are unreliable. You might have a list of to-dos drafted out in your head at the start of the day, but ended up forgetting half of the list at the end of the day. So write them down! Be it upcoming social events, assignment deadlines, to-dos for the day or even what to cook for dinner. Jot them down on your daily planner, or for me, I chose to put them all up on Google Calendar.
Doing so and referring to them from time to time allows you to have a general grasp of what is going to happen next and what you can do now. A social event/ society’s committee meeting later this evening? Better start preparing for my upcoming tutorial since my study time is going to be occupied. Class starting late tomorrow? I can stay up late to finish off my to-dos. Or alternatively, go to sleep early and wake up early, depending on your preference.
Which brings us to the next point.
2. Identify your ‘zone’
Knowing the right place (and right time) to study can maximise the benefit you can get out of your study time. Is the library or your study table a better environment for you?
We thought we would know. But just to be sure, give these places a try, even though you might end up wasting a few precious hours in the process. I once agreed to go on a study session with my flatmates at the Diamond. We booked a group room for 4 hours but ended up chatting away for 2. Since then I would think twice before going to a ‘study session’, because I feel like I can do more when I’m alone in my room.
Also, consider the nature of the work you wish to accomplish.Who knows? Maybe you write essays better and faster when you are in your room but study better in the IC?
3. Take sufficient breaks before you get back in the game
Completing your assignment when you are not at your best not only will compromise the quality of your work, but is also a waste of time. Instead, spend that time on a little nap or anything else that can help to feel refreshed. Also, take periodic little breaks when you are in intensive study session. A little rest goes a long way.
We humans will opt to do things that won’t require much effort (e.g. watching YouTube videos). As university students, we are given the freedom to do whatever we want, therefore we are especially at risk into falling prey of doing nothing productive (e.g. watching YouTube videos). But with certain freedom comes certain responsibility, we have to train ourselves to be disciplined. It takes time and effort to be disciplined at the start, but it’s good practice and is something good that we can carry for the rest of our lives. So, set certain rules for yourself and make sure you stick to them accordingly.
That’s all from me! Hope the semester has been going well so far and enjoy the upcoming reading week! 😀