Finding the Time to Study
Learning to manage your time effectively is an important life skill.
Developing and following your own personalised Revision Timetable will be extremely helpful to your studies and increases your motivation as it will add focus, pattern and structure. (See the Revision Timetable in the Revision and Exam Success in the Members Area)
Timetabling will enable you to review each section of your studies, establishing the key tasks involved and identifying the time slots when you will engage with them.
The aim of planning a study timetable is to identify or create regular time slots for study, ideally when you will be at your most alert, free from distractions and able to concentrate.
Split up each day, in a way to accommodate your commitments, if you are a student then mark when you will be attending lectures or seminars, when you will have chance to speak to tutors and when you’ll have time to work on your assignments. If you work, then mark out the blocks of time when you will be at work.
Keep your timetable template and update your timetable each week.
Try to allocate the tasks that require most concentration, writing assignments for example, to study slots when you will be most alert and free from distractions. Tasks such as skim-reading books, periodicals or internet resources, to note if there are any relevant sections, may not require as much concentration.
At the start of each week draw up a task list for that week. Allocate the tasks to relevant study slots on your timetable.
Keep a note of your progress; if you are unable to finish a certain task, try to avoid negative feelings; you may be able to use some of your ‘free-time’ the following week to complete it? As you progress through your study you will come to know how much can be realistically achieved in the time slots available and this will help you to plan more accurately.
Secondary setting personal SMART goal are key to successful time management skills. By setting yourself goals you enable yourself to focus on key learning tasks relevant to the area you are studying, as well as helping to clarify the way forward.
Goals give direction to your personal learning and development and will enable you also to track your progress, boosting your confidence and morale.
All goals should follow the S.M.A.R.T. acronym which are:
Specific – Make goals clear and precise. Exactly what do you want to accomplish?
Measurable – Think of ways to measure how you are progressing with your goal – how will you know when the goal is achieved?
Attainable – You need to make all your goals realistic and obtainable. If you set yourself unrealistic goals, then your self-esteem will take a knock when you can’t achieve them.
Relevant – Make sure your goals are actually relevant – do not spend time working on achieving something that you don’t need to. Relevance also means thinking about the order in which you work on goals.
Time Scaled – Finally, you need to set timeframes, or deadlines for achieving goals. You should make allowances, inevitably something will take longer to achieve than expected. As you become more adept at setting personal goals so your timings will become more realistic.