6 simple strategies for optimising your time

STRATEGY #1
CREATE a CONTEXT (reason) FOR MANAGING your TIME by setting clear goals.

My goals for Semester 1:
Academic: …………….
Personal: ……………..

STRATEGY #2
MAKE YOUR TIME VISIBLE on 3 levels:

DAILY: Invest in a diary or desk calendar (For due dates and to-do-lists).
WEEKLY: Draw up a weekly schedule. This is your personal weekly “rhythm” where you block out certain times each week for certain activities. (Include pre-reading for challenging modules, lecture times, sports and other weekly commitments. NB: Integrate all of these on ONE schedule to create your own personal weekly “rhythm”.)
THE YEAR: Take your planning to the next level and use the “year at one glance” sheet in your diary. (Find the UJ academic calendar on the UJ website under Quick Links to help you break the year into “blocks”, e.g. terms, semesters, exams, recesses, etc.)

STRATEGY #3
PRIOROTISE

Try to do important things before they become urgent! If you have to deal with a few things at a time, prioritise them:
First: IMPORTANT and URGENT
Second: IMPORTANT but LESS URGENT
Third: It has a cut-off date or time but it is NOT SO IMPORTANT
Fourth: NOT IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT

STRATEGY #4
Combat PROCRASTINATION !

Swop your immediate desire with your goal for the moment. (e.g. Chat to your friend on social media AFTER you have summarised your work.)
Divide it into smaller steps/sections and just start with the first one – it will get you going.
Ask yourself: How will I feel when this is done?

3 Types Of Procrastinations

3 Powerful Techniques To Beat Procrastination

How to Manage Your Time Better

STRATEGY #5
CASH IN ON THE MOMENT – CREATE PURPOSEFUL STUDY SESSIONS
  • Have a small goal for the session – “At the end of study time tonight I want to have a summary of chapter 3.”
  • Divide it into smaller parts – time yourself (POMODORO technique).
  • Reward yourself with the “desires” you put aside in order to optimise study time – The feeling you will have for having summarised chapter 3 will be a reward in itself!!

STRATEGY #6

Quality of life

As opposed to..

Improving our organisational skills can make a real difference to our quality of life. But many of us know that we can make big plans to be tidier, to put things away, to be more organised but after a burst of enthusiasm we soon end up back in a mess. We can become more organised by:
  • Assigning priorities
  • Planning skills
  • Managing time
  • Timetabling and scheduling
  • Working to deadlines
ACTIVITIES FOR INSTANT RESULTS
1. De-clutter and organise your study space (room, desk, bag, etc.).
Create specific places for specific things and get into the habit of placing items back in their designated spaces instead of dumping it somewhere to put it away later – which usually never happens. Be practical, otherwise you will not stick to it.
Get creative by decorating empty food tins, glass jars, cereal boxes, etc. to organise stationery on your desk. Look for creative storage ideas with recycled material on Pinterest.
2. (a) Download the academic calendar from the UJ website (see Quick Links at the bottom of the homepage).
(b) Plot out on a year calendar the four terms with recesses, study breaks and exam blocks in different colours. You could buy year calendars at bookstores or you could download calendars in PDF format from www.timeanddate.com
(c) Stick it onto your wall so that you can write all your due dates on it as the year progresses.