Do you ever feel like you're trying to squeeze too much into one day? Are there just not enough hours to accomplish all of the things you need to do? Time management can be a tricky skill to learn. Some people seem to have a knack for juggling a wide variety of commitments while still leaving plenty of time for friends, family and hobbies. Others struggle just to finish the bare minimum each day. In order stay on top of your psychology studies, effective time management is essential.
1. Keep Track of Your Daily Activities
Before you develop an effective time management strategy, you first need to record and analyze how you are currently spending your time each day. Keep track of your daily activities for a period of several days. Write down exactly what you are doing at each point of the day and note how long you spend on each activity.
2. Evaluate Your Priorities
As a psychology student, you probably already realize that understanding the underlying cause of the problem is the first step toward solving it. By taking a serious look at how you spend your time each week, you'll be able to see areas where you lose significant amounts of time. After keeping track of your schedule for a few days, you might be surprised to see just how much time is wasted each week. A couple hours sifting through junk email, several hours watching television shows that you don't even like, a few more hours playing games on Facebook - it all adds up quite quickly. By prioritizing how you really want to spend your time, you'll be far more productive, accomplish more and even have time left over for the hobbies you enjoy.
3. Establish a Schedule
The next step is to set a daily and weekly schedule. Start by writing down the basic things that you must accomplish every day such as going to work or attending classes. After those items have been accounted for in your schedule, start filling in the rest of the week with the other things you would like to do.
You might opt to spend a specific amount of time each day completing assignments and studying, or you might instead set aside certain days for different tasks. For example, you might complete assigned readings on Mondays, study your notes on Tuesday, complete homework on Wednesday and Thursday and leave Fridays open for various things that you would like to focus on a bit more.
4. Get Organized
Now that you have a schedule in place, it is time to get organized and stop wasting time looking for the psychology textbooks, notes and other information you need. First, organize your study area. Make sure you have all of the supplies you need.
Grace Fleming, About.com's Guide to Homework / Study Tips, has some great organizational tips and strategies for students:
5. Set Aside Time for Rest and Relaxation
You know what they say about all work and no play. Be sure to add a little time for leisure activities each week. Save your rest and relaxation for the end of the week to give yourself something to look forward to as you complete tasks that are not quite so enjoyable. Waiting until the end of the week also ensures that you won't have any deadlines or other worries looming over your head and interfering with your leisure time.
As a busy psychology student, finding time for everything can be tough. By implementing some good time management techniques, you'll be able to finish all of your obligations and still have plenty of time for friends, family and fun.