24 hours, 7 days, 52 weeks, 12 months. We all have the same amount of time. In grad school, when time is precious, are you managing your time correctly, rather than your time managing you? Here’s a few time management tips to improve your grad school experience.
Be a to-do list pro
When you’re buried under a mound of intimidating tasks, rise up from under them with the power of an uber-organized to-do list system. If possible, keep one master to-do list and prioritize it with tools like the Stephen Covey Priority Matrix. The more control you have over your to-do list, the less negative control it’ll have over you.
Keep your balance
This is a huge one. One suggestion is to divide up the areas that you’re balancing into program, personal, and relational goals. Program goals include work experience, classes, internships, and research. Personal goals include financial/social goals, and relational goals encompass how you interact with spouse, family, and friends. These areas all need attention, yet if you spend too much time or too little in any particular area, the others will suffer. How much you put into each area is up to you, but staying aware of these categories will help you spend your time wisely.
Make tech your friend
Technology can either be your best friend or archnemesis, so make it your BFF. Plan out your to-do list with tools like Evernote and Asana, schedule out your days with iStudiez, and harness the research power of sites like Mendeley and Google Scholar.
Protect your time
A vital part of grad school time management is the need for productive and restorative time. Both are highly important and should be protected. No matter how overloaded you may feel, going to that concert, taking that long bike ride, or sipping that latte is still important. And vice versa...you’ll have some tough choices to make to get the most from the large investment you’re putting into grad school. Don’t be afraid to say “no” when necessary!
Despite all the plans you may make, life is going to happen, so it’s key in grad school (and life!) to stay flexible and be willing to scrap all your plans when necessary.