Here at Brainscape, we’re always on the lookout for tips that can help students (and other self-directed learners) get things done. In the past, we’ve looked at methods for improving your studying, tricks for managing your work, and how to take breaks effectively. But one important topic we haven’t written much about is time management, and that’s what we’re tackling today.
Most time management articles recommend breaking down your day into chunks, making time for eating, exercise, work, family, and other commitments. In this article, we’re going to take a different approach and recommend that you plan your day around a single theme.
Establishing a Daily Plan
The Power of Focus
The problem with having blocks of time during every day dedicated to all sorts of different tasks is that you spend a lot of time switching gears between activities. It can be hard to focus when your time is micromanaged, and while this sort of schedule may work for some people, it’ll be a disaster for others. It’s the same reason why multi-tasking just doesn’t work.
A better option is to focus each day on a specific goal. For example, one day might be dedicated entirely to school activities. Within that day, you might study, go to class, or go to see your adviser. Another day might be dedicated to work, with a focus on earning money, organizing finances, and taking care of other chores that need to be done.
This method can work for fixed schedules (every week has the same plan) or more variable schedules (plan out your next week on Sunday, or plan each day the night before).
The Freedom of Flexibility
These days won’t be entirely focused. You’ll definitely eat (we hope), hopefully have some time with friends and family, and maybe even exercise, so your day won’t be entirely focused, but that is a good thing. These things can be breaks from the daily focus that you’ve applied yourself to all day.
With an overall theme for the day, you may be able to get more done without losing momentum by switching to new tasks all the time. It can help you stay focused on the big picture — your main goals in life — and help you avoid getting sidetracked into the countless distractions that always come up.
Personalize Your Plan
Time management is different for different people, depending on your commitments, style, and schedule. Whether or not you like this method, it’s important that you make a plan for each day. Without some structure, it’s likely that you’ll procrastinate and never get anything done (or end up overworking yourself).
Do you want to try this method? Let us know how it works in the comments, and also let us know if you have any other good time management tips that we should know about!
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