Time Management Tips for Juggling Work And School
Tick tock, tick tock!
As a student juggling work and school, it can feel like the ticking of the clock is always working against you.
You’re expected to both pay your bills and make reasonable grades. But even then, balancing time between work, school and your other life priorities make it really hard to feel like you’re doing this adulting thing right.
As a working student, you have to be more on the ball than your peers when it comes to effective time management. Follow these three tips to boost your time management skills to find better work-school balance.
3 tips to boost your time management skills
1. Identify time-wasters first
You know what we’re talking about.
The endless WhatsApp messages, Instagram scrolling or “productive procrastination” like remaking your bed three times—these are big time-wasters.
Sometimes time-wasters don’t feel like a waste of time. You can always argue that scrolling through Instagram is part of your daily relaxation.
But is it actually draining the time that you have to study or prep for work?
Ditch time-wasting activities first. If you’re concerned about how much time you’re using your phone, install an app that limits how much time you spend on social media.
You’ll be shocked at how much time you’ll find in your schedule once you ditch the workday time-wasters!
2. Batch similar tasks
Have you ever felt like your head is swimming with to-dos, but you don’t have the time to get them done?
Super-productive people create a to-do list and batch similar tasks on that list to get more done in less time.
For example, check all of your messages at set points during the day. By batching when you check your email and texts, you’ll get less distracted by new messages when you're on the clock or cramming for tomorrow's exam.
Also, it’s tempting to shove tons of tasks into a two-hour block, but resist the temptation to multitask. Batching isn’t multitasking; it’s doing related tasks at set times throughout the day.
If you want to get something done quickly, dedicate your full focus on one task at a time by prioritizing. That means no more thinking about work when you need to focus on your paper that’s due tomorrow!
3. Set a time limit
Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It’s the idea that humans will expand or contract our work to fit into a window of time.
In plain English, that means if you give yourself an hour to finish your trig homework, it will take you an hour. If you give yourself 30 minutes, you’ll likely finish in 30 minutes.
That’s the power of setting limits.
If you’re strapped for time balancing work and school, measure how long it takes you to do things. Set a timer on your phone or browser to see how much time you actually need to complete a task. It’s usually less than you think!
Take your time limits to the next level by embracing Pomodoro timers. The Pomodoro method is when you work for a set period of time and take short, timed breaks. For example, you write your paper for 20 minutes and then take a break to chill or put your laundry in the dryer.
By assigning time limits to your activities, you’ll feel more focused on the task at hand, getting more done in the same amount of time.
The bottom line
Nobody said working and going to school is easy. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll have to do in your life. Make things a little easier on yourself by embracing these three time management tips.
Need a little more help around your apartment while you’re working and studying? That’s understandable. Clear out the dust bunnies by setting up a cleaning schedule with your roommate.