We’re now half way through the term and deadlines are probably about to start creeping up. If you hadn’t already, It’s about the right time to develop a study schedule. Not sure where to start? Use these simple tips to help create a study schedule that will last throughout the year… By Rachael Davies
Developing a study schedule might sound tiresome and time-consuming, but it’s well worth investing even just a small portion of your time into. 30 minutes of your time now might well earn you several times that repeatedly later on through efficient use of time.
Identify your productive periods
There is no point waking yourself up at the crack of dawn to plonk yourself down in front of your desk and stare at a screen. There is also no use in staying up late at night falling asleep in front of your books. Identifying the times of day, or even days of the week, when you are most productive is key to establishing a good study schedule.
Time your most difficult tasks to the periods where you work at your best to ensure you that you are at your most focused when you need to be. It is far more efficient to work according to your own productivity and being at university is all about managing your own time. In the workplace, you may have to work to someone else’s schedule, but this time is all about setting your own. Find what suits you and productivity will follow.
Think about your time demands
It’s a good idea to have an estimate of what will be on your plate every week. This may change of course, but if you know that you will always have presentations due on a Tuesday, for example, it’s something that needs to be taken into account. Identify when your regular busy periods will be and work up a routine that accommodates them.
This could also factor in regular activities, like sports or society commitments. Even knowing that you’re going to be at Pop every Wednesday night is something to factor in – namely, maybe don’t leave coursework until Thursday morning if Disco Dave’s Midweek Mayhem is your ideal night out.
Prioritise your tasks
Once you know your personal schedule and ideal working times, it’s also a good idea to rank your tasks. Some people find getting smaller easier tasks out of the way early works for them, others do it differently. Find a system that works for you and stick to it.
Make sure that you leave enough time for the big tasks and once again, use your productivity to its best advantage. Think carefully about deadlines and don’t leave two big tasks too close together. Getting one out of the way earlier will leave your mind free to dedicate yourself to the second.
Carve out some ‘you’ time
It’s not all about academic though. A crucial part of your schedule should be time for yourself, whether that’s to just take a nap, hang out with some friends, or enjoy a hobby. Pencilling in all your academic tasks for the week is all well and good but leaving no time to just be a human means it definitely won’t all get done.
Keep a healthy balance for yourself and have at least an hour a day of peace. Identify what brings you energy; if it’s being by yourself, with friends, or amongst a whole group, find your revitaliser and carve out a space for it in your week. It’s a real investment in your own productivity.
Using these tips to create a study schedule early on could really be a game-changer for your whole year. It only takes 21 days to build a habit, so start now and you’ll be better off for the rest of the year.
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