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
- 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.
- 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%
- 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.
By Mark Beattie.