March was by far the hardest, most demanding month. Easter Break fell this semester during the entire month of April and with exams running through the entire month of January, we only had two months of lectures. This meant all group assignments and coursework would be due the same week – the week before Easter Break.
When we originally got our deadlines, we were not worried, as we assumed we would be able to handle them. However, we are students after all – a.k.a. professional procrastinators. On top of our March deadlines, we also were assigned our dissertation topic and specific deadlines per our supervisor.
As a majority of our assignments were group based, it required a unique plan for scheduling, to find a time that coordinated with everyone’s class schedules. With these circumstances, it is crucial to manage your time effectively so you can somehow sleep in between all of these assignments. Here are my tips for how to manage time successfully:
1. Get a planner
This is honestly so crucial to stay organized in graduate school. The planner will allow you to write everything down so you can see how many weeks you have until the deadline to plan accordingly.
2. Individually schedule days
In the second semester you will have four different classes and a dissertation to work on. Well there are seven days in a week, with your five obligations, which leaves two off days. This way you can schedule to do all the work for that specific class, group assignment, and group meeting, on the day you have the class. Do the same when scheduling time to work on your dissertation, because even one day a week will help in the long run, in preparation for the proposal.
3. Break down the assignment
By writing the deadline dates at the beginning of the semester, it will allow you to see how many weeks you have until it is due. Then break up the assignment, so you are only focusing on one or two aspects of it each week. This devotes all attention to the section, allowing for minimal errors, and avoiding procrastination.
4. Schedule break times
If you work, work, work, you will burn yourself out too fast. Make sure you schedule time to just close your laptop/books, take a walk outside, hang out with friends, etc. so your mind can clear and can restart later on.
5. Put your phone away
When you are doing work, put your phone on silent, and at least 3 feet away from you, so you cannot see when it goes off, when you have a text, or any notifications, to fully focus on your work to cross everything off your to-do list.
Following these five tips will ensure you are keeping on track, sleeping, and having a social life throughout your second semester. And trust me, because this is exactly what I did and I somehow made it through the end of the month, so you will too!