New School-year Resolution Le Deux. This year I will…
2. Manage my time better …
Though I really, really don’t want to jinx myself, I usually do pretty well in school. And I should… after all, as any of you who have read, well, any of my entries can probably tell, I’m a total geek.
So I’m about to let you in on a secret (one even more shameful than listening to All-American Rejects, still). I am awful with time management. I always have been. My first all-nighter happened in grade 10. Grade 10!
After careful observation, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are different kinds of challenged time-managers at U of T. There are:
- the brilliant procrastinators, who were often able to do really well in high school last-minute or on the fly
- the tough adjustment folks, who have trouble getting used to the self-discipline of university work
- the early starters who suddenly just can’t seem to get it done
- the uber-keen stress baskets who take on too much, and end up doing well, but working round the clock
And, in case my posts about 12 hour days at Robarts didn’t give me away, I fall safely into the last category. I am an uber-keen stress basket who way overestimates the amount she can do, and ends up a basket-case. I get things done, but to the detriment of my mental and physical health.
Looking at the list, one thing is clear: all the students are smart. This has certainly been my experience of fellow students here—we’re all pretty smart. So, what separates the As from the Ds? The well-rested from the sleep-deprived? The sun-loving from the vitamin-D deficient? I think it’s time management skills, for starters, which is why this year I am determined to be better about managing my time.
The good news is, there are loads of tips on this, and several people employed by this university expressly to tell you about them. The Academic Success Centre (ASC) at U of T holds workshops to build all kinds of skills for academic success, all the time. Specifically with respect to time management, registration is still open for a “Stop Procrastinating!” workshop October 21st, and a “Time Management” workshop November 18th. Scroll down and check out the ASC schedule .
In the meantime, you can get started by checking out their tips for better time management.
Though all were very helpful, I starred a few as especially applicable to me. They suggest:
Keeping track of your sleeping patterns, most effective study times, and how long it really takes you to do readings so you can make a realistic schedule. This is definitely big for me. Every night in first year I would plan out all the readings I would do in the morning, and every afternoon I’d wake up around 1 pm. If that’s your sleeping schedule, lucky you! I have all morning classes now—just kidding. It’s no problem if you are more effective with a certain amount of rest, or at specific times of day, as long as you account and adjust for it in your plan, so you can actually get everything done.
Prioritize! One thing you’ll figure out quickly is that you can’t get everything done—sometimes, you’ll simply have too many assignments to do all your readings that week, or too many readings to finish every last one to the depth you’d like. That’s ok! In fact, it’s normal, and as long as you prioritize you’ll be fine. Talk to your TA or prof for advice, explaining that you have an especially full plate that week, and ask whether there’s a reading to focus on, or a reading to skim.
Finally, write everything, everything down in an agenda! Go through your syllabus and highlight due dates, etc., and watch out for weeks with more than one assignment due. It’s totally possible to do well and, I hear, lead a healthy and happy life, but it requires organization and realistic planning.
On the plus side, this totally gives you an excuse to splurge on a Moleskine.