A university student’s guide to time management
Our minds can be deceptive sometimes. We never actually have a great deal of time to get all our work done, but just enough, if, of course, we focus properly on the task at hand. However, achieving laser focus can be quite challenging, especially when our mobile phone starts to feel like an extension of our own body after endless hours of scrolling through Instagram Reels.
The best way to manage time, therefore, is to simply stop letting ourselves become distracted for hours on end. And yes, this does mean that watching one extra productivity hack video on YouTube will be detrimental to this journey.
Now that we have the restraint part covered, it's important to acknowledge that research done by experts has shown that there is only a moderate correlation between the ability to manage time and the quality of performance. This, however, should not discourage us from learning the art of managing our time. At the end of the day, learning to make the most of our day is not a temporary skill but something that will eventually pay off as a form of discipline long after we have tossed our graduation caps.
When learning this skill, procrastination is our enemy. Many students almost instinctively procrastinate on their most important tasks. We cannot let ourselves be deluded by the belief that one works better under pressure because everyone performs optimally at different times. Instead of deciding to study everything in one night, be realistic about your ability to concentrate at a given time and then schedule small time slots for studying.
Razeen Islam, a third-year Finance major who juggles an internship and a teaching job on the side, weighed in on time blocking, something that allows him to navigate through his daily duties. He says, "I rely on a few simple things. Firstly, I am strictly committed to finishing my to-do list. I wake up early and depend on ride-sharing bikes to save time on my commute. What really helps is time blocking, which is basically allocating specific tasks for specific times of the day."
While these strategies are very effective, sometimes, for students pursuing a time-demanding degree in the field of art and design, life can look a bit different. For instance, Architecture students and Fashion Design students may have to spend long, seemingly endless hours in their design studios. If one is not intentional about how they want to spend their time, they will almost certainly head for burnout.
Ennessy Morshed, a final-year Fashion Design student, is someone who believes in a strict commitment to to-do lists. She shared a few tips that have helped her strike a balance between her studio hours and leisure time throughout university.
"Being a fashion designer means always having your hands full with one task or the other, which can be very draining at times. To avoid being in this cycle of waking up in the morning and realizing I haven't accomplished much during the day, I always try to schedule my time and write it down. I've also picked up on the habit of working around my personal deadlines to make sure I get everything done well before the last minute. Also, working on more than one project at a time is a big no for me," she says.
She also emphasised the importance of self-care and added, "Taking breaks here and there is necessary to keep ourselves refreshed and passionate about our craft. It's what keeps me away from burning out and negative thinking."
Even with all the right strategies, university life can still be hard. We all struggle from time to time, and more often than not, the blood, sweat, and tears we put into our degrees will seem like a major sacrifice. So, one's commitment to their ambitions will be their greatest ally in staying on track.
Sanjida Subha, currently studying at United Medical College, said, "Medical students are not known to have a lot of time to themselves. The academic pressure is huge, and we don't really get enough holidays or vacations. It takes a lot of gruelling hard work, and exam seasons can be exceptionally daunting." She informs us that she has learned to get by quite well within her first year as a medical student and quips, "Not all parties are important, not all hangouts are meant for me."
It's a mantra worth noting for the next time we are struggling to say no because as students, we have to learn to prioritise our commitments wisely, attend the gatherings that nourish our soul, and unapologetically skip the others.