During a semester, there are many tasks that need your time, energy, attention, and care which can get stressful. To achieve your desired academic goals, you must find a way to balance the required tasks with your time, energy, attention and care. This section can help give ideas on how to find and maintain an academic balance to be able to do things you want to do, in a less stressful way.
Managing your time and energy so you can complete everything you need to be a key part of school. Poor management of these resources can lead to negative consequences such as poor productivity, decrease quality in assignment, and missed opportunities to further your learning and understanding. It can make achieving your goals more difficult and add unneeded stress.
An important part of managing your resources is that conflicts will occur. You will get new tasks to do when you’re already busy. To help you deal with this, the next part is about prioritizing your workload.
Knowing what assignments to do first, second, and third can help reduce stress, improve your resource utilization, and improve your academic balance as you work towards your goals. There are multiple methods of planning and prioritizing you can use but each has their positive and negative outcomes. Depending on the situation you find yourself in, the methods below can be used to help you focus on your important priorities.
This method of planning prioritizes the most important and urgent assignments to complete so you can stay on track to meet your goals. The other assignments are secondary.
Using this method will keep major activities moving forward and can be effective when you want to finish multiple assignments or tasks quickly.
Be aware of
This method requires you to pick the most important assignment to do, which can be difficult when you are given too many important assignments. Also, that the other less important or less urgent assignments can nag you and make you worry about not having enough time or resources to complete them.
Similar but opposite to Method 1, this method to prioritize is to do the easy and shorter activities first. The idea is to build momentum by completing smaller or easier tasks first then the larger, more important tasks.
With this method you can get more things checked from your to-do list, so you are able to get ahead in school. Every time you complete a task, it can give you a boost of motivation to continue studying.
Be aware of
It is easy to spend too much time and energy on minor tasks, so you may not have enough time or energy to do the difficult, important tasks. To use this method effectively, you must not make the short-minor task into long-minor tasks.
Method 3: Relative prioritizing
This method of planning incorporates parts of Method 1 and 2 as it takes into accounts your resource capacity by mixing short, easy activities with the longer, harder activities. Instead of doing all the easy or hard activities back-to-back, you mix it up based upon your motivation for each activity. You can begin working on the major activities when your mind is fresh, then take it easy with easier assignments as you recover and rebuild momentum to tackle the next major activity.
This method can reduce the chances of getting mired down by the constant work demand of school. Changing the thing you are working to align with your resource capacity and motivation provides a better solution than Method 1 and 2 on how to keep productive.
Be aware of
To use this method effectively, you should not make short minor tasks into longer minor tasks. Finishing these shorter tasks is a way of building momentum to tackle other tasks quicker and better
Regardless of which method you feel best suits your situation, it is always recommended to write down the tasks and assessments.
- Working on a study assignment from start to finish in 1 sitting can end up taking a longer time than working on the same activity but in 2 or more times. Try to rotate between other study assignment or tasks to increase your productivity.
- After studying for numerous hours, you may get fatigued or receive diminishing returns for time and work quality. It can be an innovative idea to take a small break to refocus. Below are some recommendations from students:
- Get up and stretch for a few minutes after sitting down for so long. Yoga stretches can be used to stretch out your body and to refocus your thoughts.
- Spend a few minutes looking away from a computer screen, especially looking longer distances. Going for a short walk can be a part of this.
- The length of the break will depend on how fatigued you are. Sometimes the length will be a longer one day but shorter on another day.
- Grab a quick snack to eat. Refueling your body with food will help energize you and recover from a fatigued state.