Time Management for Hard Classes

I am not the best individual to consult on this topic. As a lifelong, chronic procrastinator, time management has never been my strong suit. However, on rare occasions, I have been able to perform, at least for a week or two, behaviors that suggest time management. In this article I will pass along my advice both on how and how not to best manage your time for hard classes.

Do reserve a time for your work. 

If you know you will have three chapters of reading and notes every week, schedule a time or times where you consistently work only on that class. Maybe this is doing the next section of reading and notes after class or at 1 pm every Tuesday after lunch. Dedicating time to work on the homework for a specific class eventually trains your brain to be in study mode for that class, making it easier to focus and work through the material.

Don’t fall prey to peer pressure. 

If you know you don’t study or focus well in a situation, like with friends or in the library, don’t feel peer-pressured into studying in those conditions. When my friends and I study, no studying actually occurs, but I still always said yes because they wanted to see me and begged me to come study with them. If an environment doesn’t suit your preferred study habits, it is okay to say no. 

Do eat before you study, and have a beverage handy.

If you start studying when you’re hungry, you’re just going to focus on that hunger. Structure your meals and study times so that you’re studying after you eat. You’ll stomach will be quieted so you and your brain can focus on the homework rather than the hunger. And have a beverage near-by so you are not constantly breaking your concentration to go get a drink. 

Don’t think you can binge and work. 

Honey, trust me on this, you can’t. If a class is particularly difficult for you, then your brain cannot effectively watch Netflix and work through the class material. Rather than combining your bingeing and studying time, set aside a time to watch Netflix, like maybe an hour before you go to bed. If you are studying throughout the day then let the last hour before you go to bed be the point in your day where you unwind and relax. Not only does this help your mental health, but if you know that reward is imminent, you can focus harder during your study sessions. 

Do ask others for help.

Talk to your professor, advisor, or the Center for Academic Success and Achievement. These individuals and groups have not only been students themselves but have been around students for years. They are skilled beyond skilled in being able to suggest study strategies to help you maximize your time and performance in a class. If you are really struggling with managing your time, reach out to these resources; they are more than happy to help you. 

Remember, any habit takes time to form, so don’t worry if you don’t stick to your plan right away. If you stay committed, you will carve out the time necessary for your class, finding academic and personal success along the way.