Shadowing a DoctorDecember 16, 2013
As crucial as time management is, it is unfortunately something that almost everyone struggles with. Ironically, our time management skills often fail us when we need it most, resulting in the often heard complaint, ‘so much to do, so little time’. While it may seem like an acceptable excuse, a lack of time management can lead to anxiety, stress and poor sleep habits, all of which ultimately have a damaging effect on our health and performance.
As a medical student, you will often find yourself juggling numerous activities and multiple deadlines almost every day. With so much to do, that all-important time management seems to be ever-elusive. However if you want to excel in your studies and all those other activities, you have to learn to conquer the beast.
Here are a few tips that will help you manage your time better:
Tip #1- Use a weekly planner
Use a planner that works best for you, whether it is a computer, notebook or a good old-fashioned diary. In your planner, first enter in important events with rigid timetables such as tests, meetings or special appointments. That way, you know what you have scheduled for the week with one quick glance and you can schedule all your other smaller, flexible tasks around your important, inflexible events.
Smaller tasks could include everything from doing homework to making a phone call home or a reminder to watch a favourite television show. When scheduling in these tasks, be realistic. Do not pack every minute of your day with things to do. Be realistic. Prioritize all of the things you need to get done and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Tip #2- Set regular study blocks
Schedule consistent study blocks for the day every day. Studying everyday is important but if you decide to study in between other tasks, you will find that often the time has just flown by and you did not put in enough study time for the day. Allocate a fixed time every day to study subject A, a fixed time to study subject B and a fixed time to study subject C. That way you can tick them off your to-do list and enjoy a guilt-free, relaxed evening.
Tip #3- Try to be consistent
Consistency can play a huge role in helping you stay on top of things, When you wake up, eat, study, exercise, sleep at the same time every day, it helps your body get into a rhythm instead of having it adapt constantly. It is hard to have consistency as a college student but try your best to be a creature of habit. Being consistent can help you be more focused, more energetic and ultimately more efficient.
Tip #4- Get rid of distractions
Having your cell phone or your laptop on and within sight can be incredibly distracting. It is difficult to resist the temptation to read every message or every email as they come in. However these can interrupt your train of thought, prevent you from having any quality study time and also result in you taking longer than you would normally need to, to finish your homework or complete your revision. Get rid of all distractions and you will cut your study time down drastically, giving you more free time to indulge in other activities.