time management

Time Management 101 to Achieve School-Life Balance

School-life balance should be the number one priority of every student. 

Even if you are in the finals exam season or in midst of cramming that paper due at [11:59] PM today, you still need to rest and avoid overstraining yourself. 

No matter how out of reach and hectic your schedule may be, you should still try to have a good night’s sleep, exercise, and healthy food to eat. 

After doing my own research and looking through the best essay writing service reviews, we found out that school-life balance can only be achieved through proper time management. 

That said, we have created this guide to help you manage your time more effectively as well as make time for quick relaxation in between your hectic schedule. 

What does school-life balance look like?

Time Management

School-life balance is simply studying and doing other things you care about in moderation. 

This means that despite the workload and hectic schedule in school, you can still make time for your hobbies or spend leisure time with the people you care about. 

The John Hopkins University, one of the best-med schools in the US and the world, recognized the importance of having a school-life balance. They even published this excerpt on their website:

“In order to optimize functioning, it is necessary to find a balance between the various roles one plays. A student often wears many different hats: partner, worker, friend, classmate, etc. Often times these roles are in conflict, and a student must be adept at attending to a variety of factors and assessing priorities.”

Excerpt from the John Hopkins University Website

Almost all students have a hard time managing their time and wearing many different hats. 

This has long been the problem of many students, especially when the exams are approaching. Some even power (cram) through an entire week of studying without any breaks or rest whatsoever, without knowing that it can take a toll on their mental and physical health. 

Time Management as a Solution

Many students often disregard the power of time management. 

Even though you managed to pull off an entire week cramming and studying without breaks, it is still not a solution to your growing problem. 

If you continue cramming your way into every task or exam, both your mind and body would eventually fail you. It is a solution that you cannot maintain in the long run. 

That said, you should manage your time more effectively so that you would not have to stress and cram throughout your finals week.

Several studies have shown that proper time management can significantly impact the way you absorb and process information. 

Let me ask you this, weeks after cramming through your finals week, do you even remember the information you studied and memorized? 

Once you manage your time more effectively, you can remember everything you read and studied for the exams. 

Since you are not rushing or just cramming a load of information into your brain, you would be able to process it properly and even remember for a long time. 

Relax and Reboot 

Time Management

If you want to keep your motivation and productivity level high, then you should take breaks in between your study session. 

Your brain would get foggy and you would have a hard time processing information. 

In the end, you would just be wasting your time because, even though you are technically studying, your brain is unable to process, grasp, and absorb any information. 

That said, we have listed a few tips on how to take a break and reboot your brain properly in between breaks.

This way, your brain would not be too overwhelmed with new information and you would not get too distracted once you take breaks. 

Work for an hour at a time

Studies have proven that people who work more than an hour without having a break tend to lose concentration and, consequently, their productivity level decreases. 

Thus, when you work long hours and get zero chance to rest, you may find it hard to pay attention and stay focused. 

As a result, you may feel too exhausted to study and unsatisfied with all the progress you accomplished. 

For this reason, you shouldn’t work more than an hour at a time. Try to have at least a 15-minute break in between one hour. This way, your brain would not feel too exhausted. 

Don’t Feed Your Procrastination Habit 

We all get bored with work and studies from time to time. 

As a result, we seek distractions to gain some rest and reboot from routine. 

However, these distractions are often the reason why we lost track of the things we need to do. 

When you are in between breaks, avoid the obvious and try to do other activities instead. For instance, rather than scroll through social media during your 15-minute break, try to break the habit and go out for a 15-minute walk instead. 

If you already know that scrolling through social media is one of the main reasons why you often get distracted, then you should avoid it at all costs. 

Another helpful tip is to simply forego all the distractions. For example, you can turn off your phone or put it in another room. This way, you would not be tempted and you have one less thing to worry about.

Avoid Social Media

Just like our example earlier, social media is one of the main causes why we often get distracted and experience several missed deadlines. 

Dragging your phone out of your pocket in the middle of your study session and mindlessly scrolling through endless and repetitive messages would surely make you unfocused. 

You would just kill your momentum and productivity if you use your phone in the middle of your study breaks. 

That said, try to save your mindless Instagram scrolling towards the end of your study session. 

Create a Schedule 

Creating a schedule helps you manage your time properly. You can easily track your progress if you have a schedule to follow. 

A timed study session can also help you prioritize urgent tasks and achieve your study goal more efficiently. 

When you have a schedule to follow, you can focus and allot more time on your weak subjects. 

Having all your subjects lined up and scheduled would give you a better idea of what you can realistically accomplish with your time. 

Thanks to this, you can make corrections to your schedule and set a more realistic timeline or schedule. 

You can even break big tasks into smaller tasks. This way, you have a much more realistic and achievable goal towards the end.

Organizing and rearranging your tasks once in a while can help you reevaluate all of the things you are doing wrong as well as rethink your initial set goals.

Avoid Shortcuts 

Now that you finally have a schedule to follow, it is time to overcome some of the problems you might face along the way. 

At the top of the list of problems you might face is choosing shortcuts over hard work. 

Remember every expert was once a beginner. So if you skip all the hard parts, then you would not be able to call yourself an expert at all. 

Sometimes, you just have to power through and a lot more time to your weak subjects. Read the difficult passage again and again until you finally understand it. 

Switch the locations

As you may already understand, locations play an important role in your work and study routine. 

If you choose to stay in your bed and study there, you may confuse your rest time with your study time. 

Since you have certain associations with relaxation and sleep while in your bed, then it might not be the most ideal place to study. 

Try to separate your study area from your break area. This way, you would not blur the lines between them and confuse one over the other. 

Reward Yourself

Incentives can make anyone productive. 

In order to make your study session even more effective, you should reward yourself every time you finished a chapter or a subject. 

This way, you would feel more motivated to continue and work hard. 

After all, the main reason why you are studying is due to incentives as well. The idea that you would get a high score on your exam for studying hard is an incentive too. 

So why not use it as a reinforcement and a way to make your study session more fun and exciting. 

Apps for Better Time Management

Phone Calendar

Almost every smartphone nowadays has a built-in calendar in them. So rather than download and pay for other apps, why not just use the one that is already on your phone?

You would not be only saving money from buying other management apps but you would also save a few memory spaces on your phone. 

To-do List Phone App

If you are not fond of long-term planning and just want to jot down all your task for the day, then a To-do List app might the only app you need for managing your time. 

A To-do list app is less fussy about accomplishing a lot of things and activities within the day. 

You do not have to think ahead or worry about what you should do next tomorrow, you can just focus on the things you need to accomplish for today and be over and done with it immediately. 

Timer 

While timer might seem like a useless app for time management, it has helped many students and even prevented them from being too distracted when they start to lose focus. 

Timer is not commonly used for the actual study session itself. It is mostly by students who are in between breaks.

Students often set these timers in between study sessions so that they would not lose track of time and go overboard on their breaks.

Google Sheet

Google Sheet is only one step ahead of Microsoft Excel. Both basically do the same thing; however, Google Sheet is much more convenient and you can edit it online anytime and anywhere. 

If you have no idea how to start a schedule from scratch, then you can check some of the free templates online. Oftentimes, these templates are usually uploaded by the user for public use. All you need to do is make a few tweaks, edit it a bit, and then use it for your own personal use. 

If you are using Google Sheet, then we highly suggest you create a predicted weekly schedule as well. This way, you would not miss any big events within the week and you can strategize your daily action plan or study plan ahead of time.

Toggl

If you are looking for a more user-friendly app, then Toggl might the app for you. 

This awesome time management app would tell you exactly how much you spend on a single subject or task. 

With this feature, you can easily overcorrect your bad habits as well as make changes in your current schedule if necessary. 

Other than your study session, you can track a specific activity, your hobbies, and even your other personal life activity as well. This way, you can also determine whether you are spending too much time on a single hobby or not. 

Todoist

Another popular third-party app you can you is Todoist. Its main functions work the same way as your regular to-do list app. 

What makes this a step ahead is its accessibility. 

Given that most to-do list apps are only accessible on smartphones, it might be hard for others who prefer to organize their schedule and task list on a much bigger screen. 

Todoist is available via browser and app so you can schedule all your tasks anytime and anywhere.

Conclusion 

Apart from the ones that we have cited, there are still several apps that can further improve your time management skill. 

But, at the end of the day, the effectiveness of your schedule would still depend on your study habit. Hopefully, you can finally achieve that school-life balanced and you managed to take away a few helpful tips from this guide. 

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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