Racing against the clock is never fun. You feel nervous, can’t focus, and the results of your efforts are never worth the stress. If you are always out of time, let me share three ways I find extra hours for studies and work without losing my mind or my sleep.
Know Your Enemy
Can you say how many hours you spend studying every day? What about watching YouTube, scrolling your Instagram feed, and gaming? If you have nothing but a rough estimate, I suggest an experiment that will make you reassess your time crunch.
Set up a repeated alarm on your phone to sound every 30 minutes. Once you hear the timer go off, think about how you have spent the latest half-hour and write in down. You can be as specific as you like, though I usually write down a ‘category’ rather than particular activity, such as Internet surfing, Netflix binging, working out, studying, etc. At the end of the day, calculate how much time you have spent on each type of activity. It might turn out you are not as overworked as you think you are.
On a side note, I don’t suggest you spend every waking hour hard at work, as you will soon see. However, this quick exercise will help you reassess your time expenditure and let you know how many extra hours you have to complete assignments and more.
If you want a more detailed look at your time expenses, and either YouTube or Netflix is your main enemy, you can take note of the specific content you consume. Write down every video clip or TV show episode, its duration, and try to formulate why you felt the need to watch it. If boredom is your most common reason for mindless content consumption, you might need to reassess your priorities.
Make Every Minute Count
I am a huge proponent of working less and achieving more. You should not have to spend every spare minute on studies, and for that, you need to practice deep work or a state of high-performance hyper-focus. This approach will help you complete assignments quickly and leave more free time for other activities.
First, you will need a realistic estimation of how much time the task will take. If it is over two hours, break the assignment down into smaller tasks, such as research, writing, editing, formatting. Once you sit down for your first deep work interval, set a timer, and ignore anything that is not task-related. You can use your phone alarm or download one of the Pomodoro timers.
The important thing here is to complete the task within the deadline you set. The smaller this time window, the more productive and efficient your study session will be. However, don’t go overboard with time limits or anxiety will prevent you from achieving anything. On the other hand, you won’t be able to support focused work for over two hours, so that’s your upper limit.
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Delegate, Outsource, Share the Burden
If all else fails, remember you are not alone in your school struggles. There are always people around you dealing with the same time crunch, and together you can accomplish more than on your own. Your workload sharing can start with something small, like a dinner cooking and room cleaning schedule. Combining your laundry loads is also a great idea.
Finding people willing to take over your tasks for a reasonable price is also increasingly easy. For instance, you can get an essay, research paper, or exam help at SpeedyPaper. Craigslist is full of ads for many services you can delegate for a few bucks. Start small with outsourcing one assignment at a time while you learn to keep track of it. Once you feel confident in your time-management and delegating skills, you can up the ante.
Now comes the hardest part – implementing what you have learned into your daily life. Start with tracking time expenses, setting up deep work sessions, and task delegation. These three techniques are enough to get you out of any tight spot.