For many of you right now, exam period is about to hit… bleugh. While a little exam stress is totally normal, it can sometimes feel completely overwhelming, which is not so good. For lots of people, time management is key to success. So, if you’re stressing out about getting everything done in time and need a little help, have a read of our top tips from those in the know at the Goldsmiths Careers Service…
Use a timer
Set a timer on your phone for a period of 20-40 mins. Work on one task without stopping until the timer goes off. Set the timer for 5 mins and have a break. Set another for 20-40 minutes and repeat.
Urgent vs important
Make a 2x2 grid with ‘Important’ and ‘Not important’ across the top and ‘Urgent’ and ‘Not Urgent’ down the side. Allocate your tasks to the four squares in the grid. Trust us, it works!
Put up a sign by your workspace with the question: ‘What is the best thing you could be working on now?’ Alternatively, put something up that will remind you about a task in a place where you have to notice it.
Create two ‘to-do’ lists
The ‘master’ list includes everything you have to do and is ‘open’ (you can add things to this list at any time). The ‘daily’ list is for things you will do today. The list is only ‘open’ at certain periods during the day (e.g. start/lunchtime/whenever you need a break). The rest of the time it is ‘closed’ (you cannot add anything new to this list without taking something off it).
Ensure that there are slots in your day/week that cannot be booked out for other things and which can be used to accommodate unexpected tasks or over-runs. And if you actually find yourself ahead with studies, give yourself a break and a pat on the back!
Devote a particular time of day to repetitive tasks such as filing or checking emails. Don’t do any of these things outside of that time. You’ll maintain your focus for longer with less stopping and starting.
Race the clock
Estimate how long a task will take you. Set a timer for 10% less than your estimate and see if you can get it done in that time. That way not only will you get your task done, you’ll also feel super accomplished. Win, win.
Group tasks by similarity i.e. same location, involving same people, using same resources. Do similar tasks together. Simple.
Try to schedule particularly demanding tasks for times in the day when you tend to have most energy - so if you’re buzzing first thing, take advantage of that time.
Change your location
If you’re having trouble starting a task, move! The change of location could produce a change in thinking or attitude to do the thing you’ve been putting off.
Credit: Goldsmiths Careers Service, part of The Careers Group, University of London. If you'd like to sign up to a Time Management Workshop on Friday 1st February- 11am-12.30pm - MMB 220 head over to CareerSPACE now.