The first half of the semester is the easiest.
You are learning about your professor’s teaching style, what his or her expectations are, and what you can and can’t get away with.
Normally, assignments given at the beginning of the class are weighed less heavily than towards the end.
Then, the second half of the semester comes, and your workload will increase in both amount and intensity. Not to mention, you’ll have to prepare for the big F word – FINAL.
Here are a few tips to manage your time efficiently without having a nervous breakdown.
#1: Make a Schedule
Each class has different deadlines for different assignments, whether it be research papers, tests, or group projects. Go through your syllabus for each class and take note of every single due date, then arrange them chronologically. You don’t want to be stressing out about a psychology paper due in five weeks when your class presentation for Western history is due next Tuesday. Once your schedule is complete, you will be able to work on each assignment in order so that you’re not focusing on less urgent items before more pressing ones.
#2: Find Your Flow
Have you ever been immersed in a good book, cleaning the house, or writing an essay with such concentration that when you finally pull yourself away, two hours have passed? This is called a flow state, or a time when you are executing the task at hand with complete efficiency. If you start studying, and you slip into this flow state, don’t stop. Cut out all distractions, like TV, your phone, or your email. You would be amazed at how much more you can get accomplished in a flow state one-hour in length as opposed to three hours of distracted attention.
#3: Early Bird or Night Owl?
Do you find that the late hours of the night is when you get the most work done? Maybe you set your alarm early and open your textbooks before you even get out of bed? Most of us have a certain time of day in which we are most productive. If you are unaware of what your period of time is, think back over the past week when you did your most intense studying. If you already know when you are most efficient, plan to do the majority of your heavy studying around this time to maximize the benefit.
#4: Take Time Off
We’re not robots or computers – we can’t be “on” all the time. Taking a full break from your studying is an important part of absorbing information and preventing burnout. When your eyes start to droop, make yourself a cup of coffee and call a friend. If you’re feeling stir crazy, take a walk around the block. One of the biggest mistake college students make is to overdo it – you don’t want to end up sleeping through your alarm on the day of the final!
J. Stephenson is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online schools for Guide to Online Schools.