Does it feel like time is just slipping away from you? Take back control of your schedule with these simple and realistic time management hacks – tried and tested by La Trobe’s PLAs.
And for more end-of-semester study advice, don’t forget to sign up for the Library’s Spotlights on Success workshop series. Sessions run from Monday 26 September – Thursday 13 October and cover topics such as motivation, exam readiness and more. With an open Q&A at the end of each 30-minute workshop, you can ask and get help with anything study related.
For now, here are our tips for how to manage your time at uni.
Visualise your success and write it down
Karen: Even if you’re not typically a ‘schedule’ kind of person, it can be helpful to start each week with a plan of how you would like the week to run. I personally like to note down lectures, tutorials, work, personal commitments and errands. Allocate a time for how long each will take.
Often having something visual helps our brain with decision fatigue. If you have something written down, you’re likely able to spend more time focusing on what you need to do in the moment.
Prioritise and plan ahead for the future
Beata: I input all my classes, work, other important commitments and holiday periods into Google Calendar to provide myself with an overview of the entire semester. This allows me to plan ahead by identifying busy periods and spreading out the workload.
For each week, I’ll create a checklist of tasks to complete in order of priority and most days I’ll work towards ticking off at least 3 tasks. It helps to break down larger tasks into smaller manageable chunks so that I can realistically achieve the items on my checklist. At the end of each day, I reassess my checklist and make any necessary adjustments. For ongoing tasks (e.g., reflective journals), I make sure to devote a fixed time each week to completing the task. If you find it difficult getting started, I find counting down from 5 then immediately starting a short simple task. This technique helps me gain the momentum to continue working through my other tasks.
Be realistic and don’t over-commit
Karen: Understand and know your limits! I find that through the semester, often our to-do lists can be never ending. It can be really tempting to keep pushing through to try and achieve everything you need to in the day, but often that can land you in exhaustion mode early in semester.
Remember that semesters are often a marathon, so ideally pick two-three things you would like to manage in a day (in terms of extra study and tasks) and do them well! It may make you feel uneasy at first, but trust that at some point with consistency, all your to-do list will eventually be completed.
Fake it until you make it
Hannah: I find that creating a fake deadline for my assignments really helps with my time management. I often create a fake deadline 1 or 2 weeks before the assignment is due in order to complete the assignment with plenty of time remaining.
Get help from other students who have been there, done that
Want more advice on how to overcome time management and other study challenges? Drop-in to see a Peer Learning Advisor (PLA), online or face-to-face on campus. You chat with a Library Learning support staff or PLA for help with your assessments, finding information, referencing and more!