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Time management for students: strategies and tips to build your focus

Being purposeful with your day

Being purposeful with your day

Time management is about taking control of the time you do have available and using it optimally for productivity while creating balance.

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By the hour

This works well for the chronic procrastinator: those who say they will do it later and then wonder why it never gets done.

Instead of getting overwhelmed, tackle your to-do l...

The Pomodoro Method

Rather than trying to work flat-out, break down your day into a series of work-sprints with a short rest period after each session.

Set a timer for 25 min and focus exclusively on your work for that time, take a 5 min break, and repeat.

Some people find that taking a 5 min break destroys their flow. But it does help to break long complex tasks into a series on manageable sprints.

The 2-minute rule

The 2-minute rule is a strategy for quickly assessing and taking action on small tasks so they don’t take up too much mental energy.

Ask yourself if a task is going to take you 2 minutes or less. If so, just do it.

William Penn

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst".

William Penn
Time anxiety

Time anxiety is the feeling that you have not done enough to meet your goals or that you're not using the time you do have effectively.

Time anxiety is more than feeling overwhelmed at times - it haunts your days and causes you to procrastinate on essential tasks.

Your relationship with time changes

The irony is the more we focus on the limited time we do have, the more restricted our time feels.

Time had little impact on us as children. We used to spend our days with mostly unstructured games and learning. As we became teenagers, time started to gain importance. As adults, time becomes an essential and scarce resource that we have to attempt to control.

Building Mental Resilience By Using Indifference
Building Mental Resilience By Using Indifference

There are two main mental biases which add stress to our lives:

  • Time Anxiety: The feeling that we are not utilizing our time in the best way or do not have enough of...
Don’t Do Stuff That’s Stressing You Out

Working on high-priority tasks can be hard, but it is even harder to stop working on them. One needs a weekly or monthly review and reassessment to check what is important to us and deprioritize certain tasks which are no longer serving one’s best interests.

There are various mental biases like the sunk cost fallacy, the completion bias, or the Zeigarnik effect that our brains can experience, making it hard to deprioritize certain tasks.

How To Deprioritize Tasks
  1. Set a limit on the time one has to work on a certain task, creating friction using intervals.
  2. Create a NOT TO DO list of the things you won’t do at all.
  3. Review your priorities on a weekly basis, asking yourself if the task is still important.
  4. Take out the impactful parts of the important tasks and do those first.
  5. Ask someone about how they feel about the prioritization of the tasks.