Choosing to pursue a higher qualification is a huge decision. It means you are solidifying your career future, following your dreams and making sure you have the right knowledge and foundations you need to succeed. With that said, there is a lot of work to get to that point, and managing your time for studying isn’t something that comes naturally to all. For some people, time management can be a real issue, and something they struggle to take control of.
If you’re having a hard time getting all your studying done, these tips are meant for you. Learn how to better manage your time when studying for a higher qualification and make your life a whole lot smoother and less stressful as a result.
Understand What’s Expected Of You – Time Commitment Wise
A great place to start when trying to manage your time is to understand what is expected of you. This means taking a close look at your program, the modules, and any additional requirements such as clinical placement. The accelerated BSN program offered through Baylor University consists of courses that run between three to 10 weeks, plus a two-week on-campus requirement and a clinical placement. It equates to a practicum total of 720 hours.
By breaking it down into a time commitment, you start to get a better understanding of what is expected of you in that year, month, week and even daily – making it much easier to create a realistic schedule. Without a proper understanding of the time commitment for your higher qualification, it’s really difficult, if not impossible, to properly manage your time.
Use Planning and Scheduling Tools
It’s also a good idea to check out the various planning and scheduling tools available to you, picking one that meets your needs and wants. Perhaps you’re the old-school type that likes a physical calendar or day planner to jot things down, or you may appreciate more high-tech options like planning apps.
In terms of what the best tools are, apps tend to be top of the list, since your schedule will always be available at your fingertips. You can set reminders, make changes in real-time and take advantage of all the extra features that will help you maximize your time. Keep in mind that these types of apps have their unique hooks so it’s important to check out a few options and determine which one would work with your lifestyle and planning style.
Learn How to Prioritize
Part of learning how to better manage your time for your studies is learning how to prioritize. This is a lesson that can be used throughout your life as there will be many times where it’s important to prioritize. Learning how to prioritize means you can clearly understand and determine which tasks are the most important and pressing, and then place them at the top of the list. That doesn’t mean the other items aren’t important or that they won’t get done; it just means that you have identified the most urgent tasks.
Here are some tips from the experts:
- Make a visual list of all the tasks that you need to complete
- Label the most important tasks
- Figure out how long each task will take
- Make sure not everything is listed as “urgent”
This is a process that can take practice, so go easy on yourself as you learn the art of prioritizing.
Distractions Are Your Enemy
If there is anything that can set you off course, it is distractions. Even the smallest distraction can send you off the rails and have you struggling to complete your tasks on time. Distractions can include everything from social networks, chatting with friends or family, a television playing in the background while you study, trying to study in public places and more.
If there is something that is capturing your attention and drawing it away from your studies, then it is a distraction.
Some good tips on how to set up a distraction-free study space include:
- Choose an area that you can close off, either by a door or by partitions to ensure privacy while you study
- Make sure you don’t have a television in your study space or at least turn it off
- Make sure you don’t have a phone in your study space
- Speak to those you share a home with and ask for privacy while in your study space
Do You Have Everything You Need?
It is amazing how much time can be wasted during your study session if you have to constantly get up and go look for things. These things could include textbooks, your laptop, a snack, notebook, pencil/pen, study notes and so forth. So, before you even sit down and get to work, you want to take a few minutes to gather everything you possibly could need.
By getting everything laid out and organized in front of you before you begin, you’ll find that you can have a much more productive session. You may even find it helpful to keep a list of necessities in your study area so you can just gather everything up, checking it off the list as you go.
Study During Your Most Productive Hours
Each person is also unique in terms of what their most alert and productive times of the day are. Being self-aware will help you to take advantage of your most productive time. Maybe you’ve been saving all your studying for the evening hours and you find yourself nodding off and losing focus. If that’s the case, try waking up earlier and doing your studying first thing in the morning, since it could help you to stay more focused and productive. This may take a little trial and error as you figure out what the best timing is for you.
By using all of these tips and being more mindful of how, when and where you study, you’ll start to notice that you get a lot more out of these sessions.