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3 Tips to Help Manage your Time More Effectively - Nicola Garnie

“It's not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it” - Seneca

Let's be honest we've all heard the same tips and tricks to manage time as a university student. But do they work? Maybe for some but me, no. As a third-year student, I discovered that time management isn’t about time at all, it's about the individual and the life they lead. We all have different tasks and activities throughout our day, making us uniquely different in how we spend our time. I also learnt that I needed to sort out my priorities if I wanted to manage my time more effectively. This is where practical tips and tricks came in handy. I’ve spent hours wasting time using tips and tricks that just didn’t work. So, as your “older sister” (kind of 😊) I list 3 Practical tips to help you manage your time more effectively, so you can dominate in your studies!

So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit in your comfiest chair, and let me help you save time.

1st practical tip:

Meal prep is key!

Eating, my favourite hobby! It probably sounds obvious, Meal Prep duh. Well for my first year and a half, it wasn’t. I am not the sort of student who can live off 2 min noodles for 3 years, no thank you! I wanted substantial, healthy, and of course delicious meals. I spent every day for 18 months cooking three times a day! I needed to sort out my priorities. I wasted precious time and energy that I could not afford to waste, especially when I had multiple assignments due at the same time. After crying at the thought of having to cook, it dawned on me, “Why not meal prep”, a light bulb moment that changed my life. I felt like a balloon deflated with relief. I hopped onto Google and searched on how to meal prep and came across interesting blogs on meal preparing, for example, This week for dinner. The blogs guided me on what to cook and how to meal prep. I even decided to dedicate Sunday as the day I would hit the shops, buy all my groceries, and cook my meals for that week and freeze them (all labelled of course). After 1 month of meal prepping, I realised I was accomplishing my goals, I had sooo much spare time and I was more energetic! Guys, I cannot stress enough how meal prepping is so important in managing your time effectively, IT DOES WORK!

2nd practical tip:

Morning Sparrow or Night Owl?

This next tip is crucial in managing time more effectively. If you are like me and was new to the whole “study thing”, I was not aware of my “study style”. After a lot of weeks spent struggling to complete tasks ☹, I realized I was a Morning Sparrow. I discovered that I had more energy and could think clearer in the mornings until the afternoon. In the evenings I am slower paced, and I can get groggy very quickly. Once I discovered my “study style” I planned my days to do the more “heavier” tasks in the morning and then the more “lighter” tasks in the evening. Once I got into this flow, I noticed I was achieving higher scores in assessments and I was ticking off tasks on my to-do list, as I was no longer leaving “heavier” tasks for the evening when I was more tired and less energetic. If you aren’t sure like I was, do both. Wake up and study the more “bigger” task in the morning and the “smaller” tasks in the evening and vice versa, this should help you discover your “study style”. This was a major shift for me in managing my time more effectively. I believe it will be a game-changer for you too!

3rd practical tip:

Say No!

Guys, I know it's important to keep up with your social life. Friends and downtime are so important but overloading yourself with commitments can have a detrimental impact on managing your time. We’ve all heard the saying, “don’t bite off more than you can chew”. Honestly, it's ok to say no to your friends and family occasionally. I know we all may suffer from FOMO at some point in our student lives but saying no can be the “lifesaver”. You are probably thinking - “Yeah it's easier said than done”. I know and that is why I don’t have a 1 2 3 step process but rather, like me, you will have to muster up the courage and say no. You don’t have to say no to everything and become a hermit but rather weigh out the amount of time you spend out to the amount of time you spend studying. One should never outweigh the other.

Final thoughts

We all have 24 hours in a day, and it is our choice on how and what we spend it on. I don’t believe that there is a cookie-cutter way to manage your time effectively. However, I do believe that these practical tips will help every student, from every walk of life, manage their time more effectively. I hope what I have learnt from the mistakes I’ve made in the past help you better manage your time. As a wise being once said, “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it”- Rafiki.

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