One of the biggest challenges faced by international students in Australia is time management. There is so much to do (and so much you want to do) that time can quickly get away from you when it comes to schoolwork or a part time job. To help you stay on top of your schedule and ensure nothing falls by the wayside, here are five tips for better time management.
Before doing anything else, make a list of every task on your list that you MUST do. This includes anything that absolutely needs to be done on a daily basis. If you have a part time job include this. Include any University deadlines such as a paper or an upcoming exam. The time you set aside for studying and for attending classes should be on this list too. For now, just create a list of these items so you have it set aside.
With the items you know you NEED to do mapped out, create a schedule for life – this can be an app on your phone, a written calendar, a planner, or any other tool that works well for you and your needs.
For now, input all of the must do items into your calendar, block out classes, work hours, and anything else you know you’ll be doing each week. You should also set aside ample time for sleep (7-8 hours a night is vital to ensure optimal performance in your studies).
Life happens. There will be times when you have the opportunity to attend something new and exciting – after all you’re visiting a new country for the first time and will only be here for so long. However, make sure you aren’t so flexible that you run out of time to actually study.
You should expect to spend between 30-40 hours a week on university studies to maintain good grades and perform as well as you would like. That means roughly 15 hours a week in lectures and another 15-20 studying on your own. Block out as much of this time in advance as you can to ensure it doesn’t get tossed aside for something more fun.
Procrastination can kill all of the work you just did and put off the most important tasks on your to do list until the last second. Find the circumstances that lead to your best study sessions – for some people this may be time with friends at a coffee shop while others need complete silence at the library or in their room.
Find the place and time that works best for you and devote yourself to spending as much of that time as possible focusing on your studies. There are times you’ll fall behind – try to minimize them as much as possible.
Finally, and this is probably the most important item on this list, take care of yourself. The average university student gains 15 pounds in the first two years, not only because of a less than stellar diet, but because things like sleep and exercise fall by the wayside as well.
Focus on yourself and treat your body well and you will be rewarded for it in your studies. It might not seem like it makes sense now, but if you study less now so you can exercise and eat a good meal, you’ll do better in your exams.
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