How To Manage Time Effectively At University (And Still Have Fun)
Keeping productive at university can be very challenging, with this new and exciting experience now a huge part of your life, you want to ensure you’re making the most of it, right?
Whilst at University, you’re bound to find yourself being asked to go on plenty of nights out, but deep down knowing you shouldn’t because you need to study. Perhaps your new university friends have asked you to go shopping with them, or out for some lunch, but you need to study for an exam.
Nine times out of ten, you’re going to choose the fun option, and rightly so! You shouldn’t beat yourself up about wanting to have a good time, but the inevitable feeling of guilt looms over you anyway.
Taking constructive and sensible steps will alleviate that feeling of guilt, and allow you to still have fun and enjoy that night out you’ve been looking forward to.
We’ve compiled a step by step guide to help you manage your time effectively whilst still having fun at university, to help you make the most of your time studying:
Find a designated study space and time
It’s super important to find a designated study space for your university work, it needs to be somewhere you know you’ll be able to concentrate and focus. It’s all down to what works best for you, if you prefer working with people, take a trip to the library with some snacks as motivation! If you prefer a quiet setting on your own, make sure you don’t shut yourself in your room all day. Setting aside time is the best solution for studying, if you work for too long you could become overworked and bored, meaning less focus.
We’d advise making your student accommodation as tranquil as possible with lots of natural light to improve productivity and positivity. If you set aside certain hours in the day with optimum concentration, you’ll be ready to enjoy yourself and let your hair down in the evening. It’s important you do your work at some kind of desk as opposed to in bed, if you work in bed you’ll find yourself feeling generally groggy. Ensure you shower and feel fresh ready to start your few hours of study time.
Being realistic about what you can achieve in a day is very important. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to study for 8 hours straight because it’s very unlikely that’ll happen and you’ll end up feeling stressed and disappointed in yourself. If you set a realistic time frame where you know you’ll be able to achieve a good chunk of work, you’re bound to feel much more positive at the end of the day.
Breaks are also really important to break up your day, take a nice stroll and go for a walk to take your mind off what you’ve been doing to really give yourself some headspace. Once you know you’ve done a substantial amount of work for the day, you can reward yourself with some leisure time, it’s really about finding a fine balance between work and play, and not being too hard on yourself.
Find out what works best for you
Just because your friends might be studying all day in the library with countless revision cards, doesn’t necessarily mean that form of studying will work for you personally. Different types of studying works for different people, and you need to work out what the best one is for you.
There’s so many different options out there for studying tactics, whether that be revision cards, posters or voice notes, it’s down to you. It’s really a case of trial and error, and once you know what you prefer, you’re studying experience will be so much more enjoyable and productive.
Make sure you prepare your work load effectively, if you know you’re going to have a day or two off with your friends, prepare for that! It doesn’t mean you have to cram as much in as possible though, if you manage your time effectively and work out exactly what you need to do and when, you’ll be fine. Some students find it beneficial to create an “Urgent” and “Not Urgent” list, so you can prioritise exactly what needs to be done accurately.
Preparation is going to stop you from becoming stressed and bogged down, a top tip is to keep your notes organised and neat, if you see loads of books and notes sprawled across your desk, you’re inevitably going to feel the pressure. Keeping your work station need and organised is a simple yet vital task.
Write plenty of to-do lists
To-do lists are such a simple yet fantastic tool, perfect for keeping you organised during your time at university allowing you to enjoy yourself! It’s really up to you how you write your to-do lists, some prefer to do a morning and afternoon section, others prefer to just put everything into one big list. Be careful not to add too much to your list as you don’t want to be overwhelmed before your day has even started!
There are also some great apps available for your smartphone if you don’t fancy writing it all down, Notes Plus and Evernote are definitely worth a mention if you’re a fan of electronic to-do lists.
Read over your notes regularly
It’s always beneficial to read over your notes, whether you’re just lay on your bed or feeling a bit bored. If you read over your notes little and often, you’re bound to feel more prepared and less guilty for taking some time off! Try to make your notes appealing more aesthetically pleasing, experiment with colours and diagrams to really help you retain the information you need to.
Get your friends to test you on your notes too, if you all help each other, you’re all bound to feel much more positive and motivated! You could even turn it into a game, revision doesn’t always have to be boring.
Timetable your routine
Creating a timetable may sound a little time consuming at first, but it’ll be super beneficial in the longrun with time management. If you create your timetable on the Sunday, your week can be off to a nice organised start! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a simple excel spreadsheet or even a poster you can stick on your wall, whatever works best for you. Once you’ve got a clear timetable infront of you, you’ll be able to arrange plans more wisely, whether that be educational plans or leisure plans.
If you know you’ve got a 9am lecture on Thursday, it might not be a good idea to go out the night before, but at least you’ll know that and you can plan your time effectively and make the most of the next night out instead!
Put some music on
Music is a great tool to improve concentration, different types of music works for different people, some may prefer classical with no vocals, others may prefer the total opposite! As long as you know what works best for you, music can help your with your studying and make it that little bit more enjoyable.
There’s loads of revision and study playlists available on Spotify and YouTube, or you could even create your own. Music can definitely soothe you whilst you’re working hard, and ease feelings of anxiety.
Remove all distractions
Perhaps one of the most hardest things to do when studying is removing all distractions. You don’t have to be really strict with yourself, but everyone knows when you’ve got your phone close by, you’re going to end up scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. Try giving your phone to a friend to look after whilst you set aside a couple of hours in the day, and then reward yourself when it’s time for a break.
As much as you love your friends, they may end up being a bit of a distraction when you’re studying. Politely let them know you’re taking some time out to focus on some studying so you can crack on. You’ll all enjoy the night out even more that way!
A Bit About Our Contributor:
Homes for Students are one of the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation. We have an excellent track record and take pride in the fact that many of our student residents choose to return to us year after year and recommend us to their friends.