Time management

Today I have started one of my exams and that means that I am starting a super hectic week. I will have many long and late days, and there’s no way that I can stop it from affecting my Korean studies, which is bothering me more than it probably should. I have had to cancel my Italki lesson on Friday and this morning I was thinking about how to make room for everything in my schedule, which reminded me of a time management course my class attended a few months ago. I tried it during my first exam, and found it really helpful. Since I already feel less stressed now that I have a plan, I thought that maybe other people could use these few tips. Honestly, they are super simple and you all probably know them, however using them is a completely different thing.

1) Decide when to do what. Don’t just let things happen as they come. For instance, after finishing this post I will start today’s study session, and I will continue studying for the next hour, with a short break or two if needed – but honestly, time usually flies and I forget all about breaks.
I’ll do the same with my house chores a little later. I’ll simply decide that for the next hour, I’ll do as many chores as I can, without thinking about how far I’ll get.

2) Stop looking at your watch all the time. This is one of my biggest problems. The less time I have during the day, the more I check my phone to see if I’m falling behind, which is a never ending circle and more importantly; a complete waste of time. Not to mention that it breaks your concentration and causes you to study (or whatever you are doing at the time) less effective.

3) Don’t underestimate the power of breaks. Even if you don’t feel like you need one, give it a try anyway. I’m working hard on this one, as I usually do feel like my studying is more effective when taking small breaks, but I often end up skipping them. I just need to finish this one chapter… and the next! Get up and make yourself a cup of tea, and return with a fresh mind.

4) Keep away from unnecessary distractions. Did you know that it takes 15-25 minutes for one to properly focus on something after being distracted? Depending on the person as well as the distraction that caused your unintended break of course. That’s pretty scary if you ask me! Try to avoid distractions by going to the bathroom before sitting down, have snacks and drinks close by, put away your phone and so on. I forbid myself to use my phone for anything other than looking up words on Naver. It also means that I never listen to podcasts on my way home from school, because my mind is already filled with a ton of stuff, and EVERYTHING  has the ability to distract me. In the mornings on the other hand, I have no problems paying attention.

5) The last tip I want to mention is about proper planning. To keep it simple: Be realistic. Don’t plan out all 24 hours. You will get distracted. Someone will unexpectedly call you.You will have times where you suddenly have to pee, feel thirsty, feel unfocused or where your computer breaks down, even though you did what you could to avoid it.
Also, don’t make unrealistic goals like studying for 5 hours straight without breaks. It won’t do you any good.

I hope this is useful for someone other than myself. Time for me to study! 🙂

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