You will learn how students manage their time at TOP schools when you finish reading this article. Guaranteed.
We have been having some back and forth argument about managing time and hardships faced by foreign students at not so sexy part of studying in USA (read it if you haven’t, 85+ comments)
I started looking for an answer that will show how students manage their time at top schools.
I just happened to get luck and found this article by Lucas Tambasco, PhD Student at MIT at Quora Thread
How students manage their time at Top Schools?
I usually try to have a balanced schedule above all. I believe it is really important to do fun things, talk to family, hang out with friends etc. But I do have quite a lot on my plate, academically, and learning how to manage time efficiently was one of the best things I learned at MIT!
So just for reference, I talk to my parents on a daily basis, I surf the web daily, I go out with friends at least once a week, and I sleep 8+ hours a day. Now the million dollar question: How to manage all that in 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
The main part of managing time efficiently is assigning the appropriate amount of time to each task, and sticking to it. Of course, not everything is predictable, and sometimes your scheduling will be thrown off. To avoid the problems that come with that you need to set priorities.
And finally, the last part, the easiest to say but hardest to obey, is to be honest with yourself.
On a typical day, I wake up, shower and talk to my parents for about 5-10 minutes. This is a morning ritual that I like to do, because they are the people that have motivated me to get this far, and talking to them gives me a daily boost. I really appreciate my parents, and I know that these five minutes in the morning could not have been better spent.
Then, on a typical weekday with classes, I like to familiarize myself with the material that will be covered, try to research a little bit on Wikipedia, read through lecture notes or the textbook. Then I would go to classes, try to pay attention as much as possible.
During lunch, I give myself a break.
Eating time is pretty sacred for me (not in any traditional religious way; I just love food so I take the time to appreciate it).
Sometimes I will watch an episode from a TV series I follow, or read some posts on Quora 🙂
After classes is the time when you have to be very organized with your assignments, projects, responsibilities.
You have to develop a notion of how important things are, and how long they will take you.
[x_blockquote type=”left”]You should know that a certain task will need you to dedicate “X” hours, so keep “X” hours separated for it.[/x_blockquote]
And you should know the importance of each assignment, and the consequences of not doing/doing poorly on it.
So when you are done with classes, pick a setting where you know you won’t be distracted. For some people this is your room, for others, the library. Know your time constraints. You have so many hours until your next meeting/class/event/whate
Try to always start by your most pressing or most important task. If you have enough time to finish any of your tasks, try to do that instead; it is better to have your train of thought completed, and plus it’s always a great feeling to cross things off your to-do list (That reminds me, keep a to-do list, with things and their priorities!)
Have dinner, give yourself another half hour to relax.
And back to work! You should now finish off any task that you might have left unfinished (because you will lose your train of thought…). This should be done, again in order of priority!
Know your limits. Do not try to pull an all-nighter if you know you will be dead the following day.
The hours you gain in the middle of the night may turn into an entire day of zombie-like behaviour! And that can lead you to not pay attention in class which snowballs with more things you have to learn, less hours to sleep at night and ahhhh panic!
So respect your body, if you feel tired, then fine, just analyze how much you have accomplished.
The more organized you are with your tasks, and the more honest you are with yourself, the better you become at managing time. If you say it’s study time, and you keep reading awesome answers on Quora (hopefully mine will one day fall into that category!) then you are cheating, wtIh the only loser being yourself.
So let study time be study time.
Disconnect, and give your total attention to your task. No Facebook, no twitter, no phone, nothing. Once you do this, you will see how much more efficient you are, and it is a positive feedback loop. You seem to accomplish more, and have more free time.
Finally, at the end of the day, I always try to surf the web a bit, answer a couple Quora questions, read a book, do something that I enjoy. I spend about an hour every night before going to bed doing non-school related things, so that I can relax and go to sleep with no worries. It really helps me have a good night sleep, and be ready for the next day.
As a final hint, during the weekends, try to prepare as much as possible for the week. Try to get ahead on assignments, or readings, etc. But also, save some time for your friends. I really enjoy going out to dinner with large groups of friends, because I get to talk to everyone, laugh a lot, and eat good food!
In general, there is no perfect recipe that will solve everyone’s problem, but I hope that sharing my experience and thoughts helps you get a bit more organized with your time!
Don’t you think this is awesome? Now, you know exactly how students manage their time at top school.
But, the question remains – Can you religiously follow the ideas and schedule listed by Lucas?
What do think about having a group project/challenge between HSB readers with Time Management?