Time Management Methods for Students to Get 10 Times More Done!

Applying each of the time management methods below can increase your productivity significantly. If you successfully apply the methods below, there's a high chance you can get at least 10 times more done.

The key time management methods discussed are:

  • Get organized to reclaim lost hours
  • Planning for success
  • Dealing with procrastination - tackling important tasks
  • Manage your energy for productivity
  • Applying the Pareto Principle to get maximum results

Get Organized

A survey by Brother International Corp found that 38 hours of employees' time was spent looking for misplaced items![1] As students, there's a high chance we waste unnecessary time searching for things. Imagine how much we can achieve with that much time.

There are 2 simple things you can do from now:

  • Organize your home environment, room or study
  • Make it a rule to put everything back in the right place

Your productivity can shoot up when you stay organized - it's well worth taking some time off to organize yourself for success!

Planning with Master Lists and To Do Lists

If you have scattered plans and lists all over the place - it's time to get serious. Stop writing your "to-do's" on post-it notes or scraps of paper!

Instead, create a master list. Take each goal or target for each subject, write down everything you need to do in order to achieve that goal. After that, put a deadline on each of the task.

Next, create a daily to-do list. Choose the most important tasks from your master list which has the earliest deadline. Transfer it to your daily to-do list. Next, prioritize each task by using the ABC method. "A" being the most important, followed by B and C.

This is one of the most important time management methods you can use to take control of your schedule.

Eat That Frog! Tackling Big and Important Tasks

Eat the ugliest frog first. In Brian Tracy's book "Eat That Frog", he urges readers to see the most difficult and important tasks as "ugly frogs". He recommends eating the ugliest frog first!

What a great concept!

The simple reason is that ugly frogs ain't gonna get any prettier if you keep staring at it. So pick the "A" tasks that you listed down - those are usually your ugliest frogs.

Work on it, concentrate on it UNTIL it's done! It won't get any easier the more you procrastinate on it.

Energy Management - Boost Productivity Dramatically

Manage your energy levels for maximum productivity. Human energy is a precious resource!

If you want to boost your productivity, go beyond the usual time management methods (such as scheduling and planners). Increasing productivity is about managing energy. We need ENERGY to complete our tasks.

Below are simple ways to keep your energy levels high:

Exercise - If you want to get the most out of your study time, create a program to start exercising 2-3 times a week. The productivity benefits are tremendous.

British research found that exercise improves job performance. Participants of the study at the University of Bristol were found to be managing their time better and experienced improved mental sharpness.[2]

Unwind - Make sure you have enough rest. A study found that employees who had "positive unwinding experiences" had a HIGHER level of energy the following day![3]

The same applies to students. If you want more energy during your study sessions, get a proper rest!

Smaller meals - Rather than eating 3 full meals, have smaller meals more frequently. Ideally, nutritionists recommend 6 meals per day. For me, I think 6 meals is almost impossible to fit into my schedule - ok, some people can do it, but come on, I don't think you want to be spending time preparing 6 meals a day. Realistically, I say aim for 4-5 meals.

Personally, I have found eating smaller meals more frequently (rather than 3 big meals) makes me feel lighter and more energetic when I get back to work.

Drink enough water - Keeping yourself hydrated. It maintains your productivity levels. If you're constantly dehydrated, your body and mind would not be performing at the optimal level. Heck, maybe even performing sluggishly.

Most people don't drink enough water. Ask yourself, are you drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water everyday? According to Dr Howard Flaks from Beverly Hills, the minimum we need is 8-10 eight-ounce glass per day, and more if you live an active lifestyle.[4]

Majority of you who are reading this now are most likely dehydrated. Make a conscious effort to drink the minimum amount required from now on.

Remember, you can be excellent at all the other time management methods, but if you lack energy, you can't work efficiently!

Focus on results, not on the time you study!

Every student has the same amount of time. Some put in the same amount of hours of study, but get different results. Why?

Top students channel their efforts on getting results. It's not just about how long you study or how much you read.

To get maximum results, apply the Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule). The principle suggests that 20% of the tasks represent 80% of the result!

This is one of the time management methods that can help you study smarter.

I remember not getting the score I desired for one of my subjects despite reading all the material given to me. This was not optimal use of my time. Studying hard could only get me so far, I changed to a more results-oriented strategy and it made a big difference.

Stop focusing on reading through every single material you have. Instead, tune in and extract important points during classes - identify the 20% of things that bring 80% of results.

Find out the key learning objectives of each subject. Work on those objectives. Zoom in and study examinable and important material. Go for comprehension rather than just skimming through material.

Be effective. Focus on the 20% of tasks, it will bring in powerful results.

To Your Time Management Success!
Gerard Goh

References/ Notes - Time Management Methods for Students:

  1. Moran, G. (2011). How to clean up your business. Entrepreneur, 39(5), 76-78.
  2. Exercise boosts work productivity
  3. Sonnentag, S., Binnewies, C., & Mojza, E. J. (2008). "Did you have a nice evening?" A day-level study on recovery experiences, sleep, and affect. Journal of Applied Psychology, 3, 674-684.
  4. Are you drinking enough water?