There’s nothing more frustrating than ending your day feeling like you’ve run out of time. But realistically, you likely had enough time to get everything done, you just didn’t use your time most efficiently. Don’t stress out trying to find more time in your day – instead take better advantage of the time you do have! Here’s how to become a productivity master as a busy college student.
Set a schedule
According to something called Parkinson’s Law, it’s our tendency as humans to expand the amount of time it takes us to complete a task and fill whatever amount of time is allotted for it. If finishing a homework assignment only takes 15 minutes, but you give yourself 30 minutes to complete it, you’ll end up using that whole time.
To combat this, set a schedule for yourself to stay on track. Every night before you go to bed, sit down and set a schedule for the next day that includes everything you want to accomplish, and what time windows you have to work on them. When you have a clear picture of what you need to get done, it’s easier to remember those tasks throughout the day.
Prioritize More Effectively
If you feel like you’ve run out of time, it likely isn’t because you’ve forgotten a few small tasks – you probably forgot something big. That means you probably didn’t prioritize your time as best as you could. Organize your tasks into different tiers of importance, and focus on your most important tasks first, such as an essay due tomorrow. If you feel like everything is important, take a step back and reevaluate – it may be time to let go some of your obligations to student organizations or other extracurricular activities.
Stop losing track of time
If you find yourself looking at the clock, surprised by how much time has passed, you need start tracking your time. Just as it’s important to track your spending so you can stay within your budget, it’s important to track your time to get everything done in a day. Set alarms and create notifications for your time, or use a time tracking software like Toggl. This also makes it easy to look back and evaluate how long it takes you to accomplish regular tasks, so you can plan better for the future.
Focus on one task at a time
Multitasking may seem more efficient, but the brain doesn’t work that way. A study from Stanford University even went so far to say that multitasking can damage your brain. Focusing on one task at a time will help you get it done faster and easier.
Take advantage of small windows
Instead of using a break between classes to browse social media, take care of small tasks. Email a professor, read over notes, or make a to-do list for the rest of your day. All those ten minute increments of free time you find during your day can add up quickly, making you much more productive if you take advantage of them.
Being a full time student is demanding and time-consuming, but there are ways to make it easier! As you start working these strategies into your daily routine, you’ll see how much more effectively you can get tasks done, giving you more time on school, internships, or just to relax!