Top ten time saving tips:
1. If you are going to attend a lecture/seminar/tutorial then you might as well make the most of it. Don’t day dream, catch up on the latest gossip etc. If you are going to do this then you might as well not attend the lecture. Paying attention in lectures can cut your study time down dramatically. (It is easy to fool yourself by pretending you are being virtuous by attending a lecture but if you come out of a lecture not really having taken anything in, then clearly this is a waste of your time).
2. Focus on what is necessary (see Pareto Principle). As with attending lectures, just spending your time doing something related to your study is not necessarily going to get you top grades. The best way to keep focussed is to have a clear understanding of what criteria you are going to be assessed against. For example, there is little point writing an essay about the development of marketing as a concept, when the essay should be about current marketing practice. I have often seen some really good work, alas it did not address the question it was supposed to; result = fail! Do not let this happen to you.
3. Create a bibliography (list of material you’ve read) with notes. This may take a little time each occasion you read something, but it pays dividends in the long run.
4. Spontaneity is good…to a degree, but avoid reacting to every request from class mates to go for a coffee, play sports etc. There are a thousand and one reasons to be doing something else rather than studying, but, ultimately if you have decided to attend university/college then your main purpose is to get that degree/qualification. Make a list of things you want to get done in a particular day or week. Reward yourself when you have completed each task. This is time management 101 but if it works for others then it should work for you.
5. Do not necessarily start with the most difficult and/or boring task. You need to stay focused and motivated, starting with the most difficult and/or boring task may put you off even tackling the easy ones. If something is difficult to tackle, break the task down into little bits and gradually grind the task down. What once seemed insurmountable will all of a sudden become manageable.
6. Avoid watching too much television. It’s easy to fall back in a comfy chair with the intention to just watch half an hour of your favourite programme and then find yourself still there three hours later. The same goes for spending time on Facebook or other social networking sites. It’s fine to relax, just get into the habit of restricting this to a reasonable amount of time. Initially it may be difficult, but the more often you practice restraint in this regard the easier it will become.
7. Learn to distinguish between urgent tasks and important tasks. Not everything that is urgent is important. Create a list of priorities and stick to them. If something is neither important nor urgent then drop it!
8. Use smart reading strategies. However tempted you may be to read a book, journal article etc. from cover to cover for fear of missing something important, the only thing you will be missing if you pursue this strategy is a life. There is a reason books have introductions, articles have abstracts and reports have executive summaries. By all means, if the source is of immense interest and/or critically important to your assignment then read the whole thing. Just do not fall into the trap of thinking you have to read everything all the time.
9. Don’t hand write assignments to then transfer them onto a computer. Write them onto a computer straight away. The same goes for taking notes. It may not always be possible to take notes in electronic format during lectures but this is becoming easier with advances in technology.
10. Share tasks with class mates. While the work you submit must be your own, this does not prevent sharing certain tasks such as conducting a search for literature.