Time management, reducing procrastination and staying motivated are key factors for success but often something we all struggle with at one point or another. Here are some strategies to help you stay on track.
Establish a routine for your studies and use calendars as a tool to keep up with your coursework. Identify specific tasks, prioritize and review regularly.
- Semester Calendar
- Prepare at the start of the semester and include key dates and deadlines.
- Provides ‘big picture’ and helps you to prepare for demanding weeks.
- For larger projects, such as a Thesis, consider building a GANTT chart to show the whole scope of the program.
- Place in a location where you can view it regularly.
- Weekly Calendar
- Identifies when you are going to complete specific tasks required for your coursework.
- Start with set commitments (courses, work, family) before adding projects and tasks.
- Consider your tasks:
- When do I need to finish the task by?
- How much time will it take?
- Is it a priority?
- Is it specific, measurable and attainable?
- Include flex time, personal time, evening cut-off time.
- Review each week and adjust for next week.
If we can identify why we procrastinate, we can build tools to defend against it. Here are three common factors that can lead to procrastination and strategies to overcome them.
- Environmental distractions
- Cell phones, social media, web browsing
- Use ‘do not disturb’ features, screen time limits and productivity apps
- Put phone/lap top away if not needed
- Family and friends
- Set clear boundaries for when you're 'in class'
- Schedule in free-time with them
- Quiet, organized, free from distraction
- Physical well-being
- Stress, illness, fatigue
- Get enough sleep
- Eat nutritious food, drink water
- Exercise regularly, get outside
- Practice stress management techniques
- Consider seeking professional support
- Psychological well-being
- Fear of failure or success
- Start somewhere, anywhere
- Reduce perfectionism
- Positive thinking - you can do it!
- Lack of knowledge
- Speak with your professor, teaching assistant, classmates, librarian
- Widen your scope of knowledge
- Low motivation
- Prioritize the task you are avoiding
- Determine your ‘why’ and write it down
Get creative about ways to motivate yourself. When motivation isn’t there, just get started anyway.
- When we don’t have motivation, replace it with discipline
- Change the way you think about it
- Beat resistance – start, even for just 15 minutes.
- Stack new habits onto ones you already have
- Create accountability by committing to someone else
- Build in rewards for yourself
- Accept that hiccups happen and keep moving forward
Time Management Apps
Here are some apps that can help you to stay on track:
- MyStudyLife, Egenda - schedule/planner
- Flora, Forest, Focus Booster – encourages focused time
- Clockify, Rescue Time, Moment – reports how much time is spent on projects, apps and websites
- Freedom, Offtime, Flipd, Cold Turkey – app and website blockers
- FocusMate, Social Pomodoro – matches you with an accountability partner
Time Management: https://youtu.be/Waaemd1WC8c
Reducing Procrastination and Building Motivation: https://youtu.be/-Kiu7I4p7cs