Becoming a Pro in Time management by Mark Beattie

A study of students by Häfner et al. (2015) found that improving time management such as prioritising tasks, planning the work day, setting short-term/long-term goals with deadlines, and monitoring progress may be useful to decrease stress levels.

General Organisation Tips

  • Get an academic year planner and stick it up on the wall above your desk
  • Mark assignment deadlines/exam dates with pen or coloured stickers.
  • Create a daily to-do list every morning – tick off as you go
  • Get a diary… and use it!

– Add assignment deadlines/exam dates

– Add lectures/seminars/work shifts/gym sessions/social occasions, etc.

– Create a weekly timetable of tasks and activities

– IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to factor in cooking and eating!

– REMEMBER: Tasks usually take longer than expected, add in extra time for this.

Manage your time with SMART targets

  • Create SMART targets for something you want to improve:

S = Specific – what is your aim? Is it well defined and understandable?

M = Measurable – how will you know you are on track?

A = Achievable – is it within your capability?

R = Realistic – will work or hobbies fit in too? Don’t overdo it.

T = Time-bound – establish a timescale for reaching your target. (e.g. End of term 1.

  • Create a Priority Matrix

Making Time for Eating, Exercise & Relaxation

Prioritise meals:

  • Plan weekly meals on a chart
  • Decide what time you are going to eat daily meals
  • Always write a shopping list and stick to it
  • Don’t shop when hungry – Buy One Get One Free deals on high fat/high sugar/high salt foods may seem less appealing.
  • Cooking with others might make it quicker and more enjoyable
  • Sit at a table and practice mindful eating – may improve digestion.

Keep moving:

  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week – brisk walking, swimming, cycling.


  • Aim for at least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week – walking upstairs, running, playing sport.
  • Build your strength on at least 2 days per week – carrying shopping bags, weightlifting, yoga – this helps to keep muscles, bones and joints healthy.
  • Break up periods of inactivity – factor these active breaks into your daily or weekly timetable.
  • Physical activity benefits heart health, improves sleep, maintains healthy weight, and manages stress.
  • Which according to this study reduces chances of:
  • Depression by 30%
  • Type II Diabetes by 40%
  • Cardiovascular Disease by 35%
  • Joint and back pain by 25%
  • Colon and breast cancer by 20%

Chill out:

  • Meditation and/or mindfulness can help to calm anxiety.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours’ sleep every night.
  • Eat meals 2-3 hours before bed to allow food time to digest and prevent heartburn.
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day – the half-life of caffeine is up to 5 hours (i.e. Half the amount consumed may still be in your system after 5 hours).
  • Bright lights in your bedroom can disrupt your circadian rhythm.
  • Following a Mediterranean diet is associated with better sleep quality.

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By Mark Beattie.