Helpful hints for managing time

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Planning

  • Begin as early as possible.
  • Take time to plan.
  • Draw up a weekly schedule of activities with daily routines.
  • Set time limits for tasks and stick to them.
  • Be realistic about the time you have. You can't fit a quart into a pint pot!
  • Keep plans and schedules in one visible and accessible location.
  • Prepare for work by having all you need at hand.

Clarification

  • Make sure you know exactly what you're meant to be doing and ask for clarification where necessary.
  • When your goal is clear, do something about it straight away.
  • Be specific about your tasks: rather than saying 'Read', say 'Read Chapter 2 of XX'.

Prioritising and organising

  • Concentrate on the most important work.
  • Don't put off important but unpleasant or difficult work.
  • Do one thing at a time, while keeping an overview of the next jobs.
  • Avoid interrupting yourself: jot down a suddenly remembered idea for attention later.  
  • Do jobs of a similar type in sequence.

Motivation

  • Fix definite times when you don't want to be disturbed, and tell other people when these are; say 'no' if people try to distract you while you're working.
  • Split work into small units so that progress is visible.
  • Work in an environment where you feel comfortable.
  • Try to complete at least one major task per day.
  • Attend to minor things when you can't cope with anything major.
  • Do things adequately well, rather than aiming for perfection; if time permits you can always go back and improve.
  • Address any issues – eg lack of motivation or anxiety – that make it difficult for you to use your time effectively. Find out how to overcome obstacles.  

Rest and relaxation

  • Allow definite times for routine matters.
  • Rest and relax before it becomes necessary.
  • Arrange breaks at times when you work less efficiently.
  • Don't try to study for too long at a stretch. Aim for 50 minutes, then a 10-minute break; with blocks of no more than 3 x 50 minutes. Plan for a maximum of 6 x 50 minutes sessions per day.
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