If there is one thing I’ve learned while attending graduate school, it’s the importance of developing the ability to effectively manage your time. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have or how smart you are, without effective time management you will find it near impossible to achieve success. The good news: effective time management is half the battle. A major part of graduate school is learning how to handle the massive amount of work due each week which can be extremely stressful and scary at times. Hopefully this post will give you a few approaches and ideas to help manage your time for efficiently.
To-Do lists are simple, easy and highly effective even though most people tend to ignore them and try to manage a mental list instead. You will be surprised how much more productive you become when you spend five minutes every morning writing a to-do list and structuring your time around it. In addition to becoming more productive, the act of crossing off work on your list will give you a sense of accomplishment and will keep you motivated throughout the day. So, get yourself a Moleskine notepad or if you prefer using your iPhone, try Evernote.
One Day at a Time
I would recommend that students take it one day at a time – don’t focus on that huge project you have due in two weeks- focus on the reading you have tomorrow. When you focus on the “hurdles” down the road, you easily become overwhelmed- which not only affects your productivity in the present, it hinders your ability to stay focused on the tasks at hand throughout the current week. Try to practice the “one day at a time” mentality and you will become much more relaxed and productive in the long run.
Do a Little Everyday
To add to the last section, focus on each class for thirty minutes to an hour everyday, no matter what. Many students decide to focus only on one or two classes that have a lot of work that week and easily get behind in another class the following week – this all creates stress and ultimately affects your ability to effectively manage your time and be productive. Try to get in the habit of focusing on the homework due the following day and reviewing other classes with the remaining time you have in the day.
Johnny Schroepfer is a Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Student at Northwestern University. He is currently the Strategy & Content Director at the Medill Vitamin IMC Blog: http://www.vitaminimc.com. Connect with Johnny on Twitter @jbschroe or visit his website:http://www.johnnyschroepfer.com.