Getting the balance right between time spent studying and enjoying a busy social life is a common issue at University, so if you feel you’re struggling to keep up with your work, you’re not alone.

Having a structured approach to managing your time can help. There a few things we can suggest that might get you on the right path. Breaking down tasks into smaller steps can help to make them seem less daunting and making a to-do list can be a simple way of getting your tasks down on paper. There are also helpful apps that you can use, such as My Study Life, which allows you to schedule tasks and set reminders to keep you focused.

If you have a list of tasks, it’s crucial to prioritise them. You can do this by grouping tasks into categories such as:

You could also try the ‘Two minute rule’: if a task will take two minutes or less then do it straight away, otherwise add it to your to-do list.

Avoiding distractions can be tricky. Procrastination is such an easy trap to fall into. Sometimes, finding a quiet, distraction-free place to study can be the answer. You can introduce simple strategies to help you keep focused, such as switching off your phone or setting a timer to complete a specific task. For Apple devices, try the ‘Do not disturb’ mode. For Windows, try ‘Focus Assist’.

If you’re really struggling to keep on top of your workload, try using Cold Turkey to restrict the distractions you are exposed to. This is a very strict free piece of software that temporarily blocks notifications and won’t allow you to close a page whilst in writing mode, until you have reached your writing goals.

We also recommend you to take a look at our time management themed workshops coming up, or have a browse through the Skills Collection on level 1 of the Laidlaw Library as there are some good books that offer tips and techniques to try, including:

Williams, K. & Reid, M. 2011. Time management. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (G-5 WIL)

Cottrell, S. 2019. 50 ways to manage time effectively. London: Red Globe Press. (G-5 COT)