Time Management 101 – How to Break Up Your Days to Survive This Academic Year

By: Fadila

I don’t know about you guys, but we’re barely two weeks in and I’m drowning. I’m kinda overwhelmed actually, I love being busy and all, but this is quite scary. Despite that, I know for a fact that I can always rely on the skills I learned (the hard way mind you) through the whirlwind of an experience I call my senior year x teenntimes founding year. So without further drama (we all have enough of that I think), here’s everything you need to know about managing your day to fit in everything you need AND want to do.

P.S some of these things I only learned recently.

1- Early Bird Gets the Worm

Yes I know, getting up at 6 for school/uni is bad enough, but here’s the thing, you NEED to follow your biological clock, yes, the same one your hours of procrastination and following stress to finish what you were supposed to do messed up. I’m up whenever it’s Fajr, I have a shot of turkish coffee, then see what’s on my to do list. For example, I have an 8:30 am class tomorrow for which I have to have read 2 readings, I read them on the day I was told of the assignment, but part of my schedule for tomorrow morning is to skim over them so I can be fully ready for class. It could be last minute homework checking or note reading before a quiz for you, but it’s vital that you get up at around sunrise or a bit before, it is when you feel freshest, make sure not to have any refined sugars though, donuts are not for breakfast, have a fruit instead. The earlier you rise, the fresher and more awake you’ll be during class, AND the more time you’ll have to adequately prepare for any assignment or test that you have not.

2- Lights Out for 8

I’m not a person who loves to sleep, but even I have come to realize the wonders 8 hours of sleep a day can do. My concentration has improved, my productivity has almost doubled, and I’m less likely to have headaches than before. I’d say it’s miraculous except this should really be the norm. If you plan on waking up at 4 AM then go to bed at 9 PM, if you’re waking up at 5 AM then go to bed at 10 PM and so on. What’s important is ticking off all 8 hours. That leaves you with 16 hours, 9 for school, and 7 for everything else, you may not realize it throughout the day, but 7 hours is a loooonnngg time.

3- TO DO LIST

fuck having schedules cause we all know we won’t follow em anyway, thus creating them is in and of itself procrastination and a total waste of time. Instead, give To Do Lists a shot. Personally, I’m more likely to finish what I have to do if my To Do List notebook is pretty, no judgements there, I actually feel such a brilliant sense of accomplishment when highlighting or crossing out an item I had to finish on that day, and an even more intense sensation when I do it before my own set deadline. It also leaves no room for procrastination, honestly, it’s a very good incentive, especially knowing what you should be doing, laid out simply and clearly, makes the looming sense of “ugh” a lot softer. Which means you have to write whatever tasks you have when given, this way, bypassing the “I forgot” excuse we give ourselves AND our teachers.

4- Bad Gal Riri and Lady Gaga Were Right All Along

Just dance. Idgaf what type, where, what, why, how, but, get up and dance. Dedicate even 5 minutes a day for dance, turn on whatever the hell you want to dance to, get off your desk chair, and allow yourself to reconnect with your body, allow your body to breathe, liberate it from the cage you have forced it in through your social media and technology obsession. Your sex, gender, sexuality, race, shape, size, age, do not matter. In the precious moments you allow your inner self to connect with your outer self, let the worries of the world melt away, let the heaviness of your problems and tasks fall off your shoulders, allow yourself to bask in your own freedom and existence, and I promise you will find yourself feeling all the more alive.

5- MOVE

You can dance as your one hour exercise? or you can choose something else. It could be a yoga session in the wee hours of the morning before you start your day, or a run at around the same time. It could be heading to the gym in your gap hour at uni or right after school, it could be a martial arts class post your studying for the day, it could be an hour of swimming laps or arranging a daily soccer match with your neighbors or friends, it could be gathering up your girlfriends for a walk in your compound while catching up after a long day. It could be anything you want it to be, but do it, one hour is 4% of your day. It increases circulation and renews the oxygen in your body, moreover it’s an insane method of releasing pent up emotions and frustrations.

6- Note Taking has Never Been More Important

Ok here’s the thing, by taking notes (by hand, not your laptop) and ACTUALLY focusing in class, you’ve already comprehended around 70% of the lesson, you got home now? good, pull out your laptop, and start neatly typing those notes of yours, add images, graphs, examples, or whatever else you feel necessary, personally, I compile information from textbook, powerpoint, and the teacher in order to form a comprehensive guide for myself while also sticking to memory everything with an efficiency of around 90%. That being said, next time you have a test, all you have to do is go over your notes, and you’ll ace the exam. Simply because not only have you employed all of your senses, but because you covered everything that could be covered, and since our schooling systems rely on cumulative methods, everything built on that will only reinforce what you know. Thus, you’ve just successfully saved study time AND a few nervous breakdowns, all it took was not falling asleep in class and not procrastinating.

7- Self Care Hour

I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Every day, you get a self care hour, whether you choose to read or dance, try a new makeup look or have a relaxing bath, cook a nice meal for yourself or try new face masks, try new outfits or take a quick trip to a nearby mall for some window shopping, or even meditate! Whatever your methods of self care are, you have to practice one or more each day, for an hour. Appreciate yourself, congratulate yourself on your victories no matter how small, this is you time, and no one shall ever take that from you. You are your most valuable investment, the more you understand that the better.

8- FAMILY HOUR

Even if you dislike them, are fighting with them, dedicate an hour every day for family, not necessarily your parents, maybe your siblings, your cousins, an aunt or uncle, or even for a lot of us, those very few friends we consider family. Call them, text them, facetime them, or even go visit them if only to get to spend 10 minutes with them, it goes a long way in making you feel safe and cared for and loved, because that’s something we all need daily reminders of.

9- Thursdays are for Outings

Don’t think that’ll ever change, so don’t go chaining yourself to your desk on thursday evening and say “I won’t waste time” because half way through the week you’ll feel exhausted and chained and bored and you’ll give up on life. Even if you do not want to see humans you know, go out alone, sometimes, I find myself drifting to “my corner” at the nearest out-of-mall Starbucks with a big mug of something strong and a good book. I enjoy myself, even if it’s an outing with me, I’m a person who enjoys their own company, to each their own, right?

10- Friday Prep Day

Friday Prep Day, post that family gathering, have some time for yourself, relax, breathe, then hit the supermarket or the stationery or the cosmetics store, buy whatever you need. Prepare your meals ahead if that’s something you do, fix whatever needs to be fixed, just get everything under control. These things may seem like they do not matter but they do, treat yourself on Fridays, but also prepare yourself for anything and everything you need during the week as to not waste any time. @ uni students: how about preparing your outfits for the week too? Helps in the morning I promise.

11- STUDY GROUPS

Now wait just a minute, don’t get too excited, study groups need a lot of preparation, see those notes you have? You probably have one subject where you’re outstanding, while your friend is not, but they are outstanding at something you are not. So, each of you has to print copies of their notes in their most favorite subject, and hand them out to the rest of your group, allow them to go over them between Thursdays and Saturdays for example, come Saturday, y’all meet up and discuss with eachother the things you did not understand, and form a circle through which each one of you helps one then receives help. Example: Z is good at chemistry and L is good at English, Z and L trade explanations and questions till they both understand what they did not previously, while N is good at math and M is good at social studies, they do the same – that being done, Z pairs with N and M and pair with L, when done, Z pairs with M and N pairs with L. It sounds time consuming, BUT, Saturdays are what I call study days, you catch up on everything you’ve taken in one week, engraving everything in your memory further.

11- Breaks

do I really need to tell you take a 5 min break every 30 mins? you should know that by now. Also, power naps, if you’re going to ignore rule #2, power naps.

OVERVIEW

Well,

Sundays-Wednesdays: 8 hours of sleep, 9 for school, 1 hour of dance + breaks, 1 hour for exercise, 1 hour for self care, 1 hour for family, 3 hours for studying and homework = 24 hours.

Thursdays: 8 hours of sleep, 9 hours of school, 1 hour for exercise, 1 hour for family, and 5 hours to go out or do whatever else you please = 24 hours.

Fridays: 8 hours of sleep, 5-8 hours of family day, 1 hour of exercise, 5-20 mins of dance, 5 hours to gather and prepare everything you need to prepare, 1 hour of self care, and 1 free hour to do with whatever you please = 24 hours.

Saturdays: 8 hours of sleep, 5-7 hours of study group (inclusive of breaks), 1 family hour, 1 self care hour, 1 exercise hour, and 6 hours to do with whatever you please = 24 hours.

Obviously, this is kinda rough as I have not included whatever transportation, phone calls, and so on, but honestly, this a loose enough schedule for anyone to play around with, you don’t have to have a family hour every day, but it’s important for at least a couple of days, exercise too, everything is put loosely enough for you to tweak to fit your own life, but you sort of get the jist of how to balance all aspects of your life into your day, no? Leaves a lot of space for hobbies, relationships, work, and more too.

Hope this helped any of y’all, I know I’ll need this to survive just like you, god I hope this year ends well – preferably with no disasters (wishful thinking, but one can only hope). Anyway, good luck to y’all.

Till next time,

Fadila

P.S for goodness sake, mute the dof3a group.

 

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