How do I manage my time at university?

Samantha is a second year student studying International Business, who loves taking time to meditate and connect with her inner self and with nature. 

So how do I manage my time at uni?

Well that is an interesting question, that I’m still trying to sort it out!
I think it is important to have in mind that balance is key but patience is too – with time you will get to manage your time at university in a way that fits your daily routine.

Set up a life-schedule

I have always been very picky when it comes to routines and to-do lists. I think they are the best way to get your university life on track, especially when living in a big city like London where you can get caught up by distractions so easily.

Perhaps the very first weeks of starting at uni you might feel pretty lost, and that’s okay! You might get lost finding your lecture room (or getting on an online tutorial) or entering the wrong class, but that’s the fun part of it all as you will meet people who will be as confused as you are.

You will probably feel more comfortable after a couple of weeks of waking up slightly early, attending seminars, meeting new people and so on. At this point, your confidence starts kicking in as you feel the pieces of the puzzle are slowly but surely put back together – you are building your university life schedule.

It is important to make time for the activities you have during the day and respect the time slots for each activity to make the most out of it. For example, if you are meant to be in class at 9am but then have a seminar at 1pm, be aware of that lunch break you have – perhaps you can meet new people, grab some food or start with your very first uni assignment.

To do list

Most importantly, be flexible but realistic! Routines are important to schedule your day, but these will change as life doesn’t always go as expected. Things will surely come up your way, but with time, experience and practice you will be able to stick to your routine by allowing some flexibility and enjoying the change of plans!

Set goals to measure your progress

I excel at making to-do lists as I truly love them! It feels so satisfying when you accomplish all your daily duties.

You can use this method to set small or medium goals, it doesn’t have to be something too hard to accomplish like ‘Passing all my modules’, it can be something as tiny as ‘Complete today’s lecture notes’ or even ‘Responding to my emails’.

We often spend so much time in our heads thinking on the things that need to be done, instead of writing these down and getting them done!

Goal setting diary

A good way to practice meeting your  short or long-term goals is to ask yourself: What can I do every day that will get me achieve my ultimate goal? This can help you see the bigger picture, keep you alert on how and what to do towards your goals and allow you to make a wise choice.

Follow your body’s natural energy

This tip has helped me go through even the most stressful times at university, so make sure you listen to your body. We are so often caught up in the mind that we forget our bodies are constantly firing and wiring signals for us to identify how we feel to then act upon it.

We all have moments in the day where we are more alert and energetic. But if you want to maximise the time you do have each day, you cannot fight against your body’s natural state.

This means that if your body feels more alert and awake in the mornings, then you can use this on your advantage to get uni work done or even go for walks or any type of exercise that can help you zone out from the exterior world –  my mood 24/7!

With this in mind, you should do your most important work when you have most energy. In this, you can schedule your to-do list by doing writing or more intense projects during energy highs (whether that’s in the morning or evening) and schedule more passive activities such as reading when you are more naturally low on energy.

My final tip

young people jumping in joy

Always leave a time slot in your day to have fun and do the things that you love, this is part of your life balance too!

So, make sure you give yourself the space and time that is often needed when university stress starts kicking in.

You can also read Samanthas’s post on Managing your time and our LEAD team’s tips on essential study skills for university 

Our Academic Skills Team have also put together this helpful PDF on Managing your time.

Find out more about Samantha and her International Business course.

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