Understand the truth about your time and evaluate your study schedule
The world is great at telling lies about time, and these lies may be standing in the way of your optimal college productivity. It’s not intentional, but time is a tricky topic. Some days feel like they will never end. Anyone with a small child at home all day in the winter knows what I’m talking about. AMIRIGHT?
Other days zoom by and leave us falling into bed wondering just exactly happened.
If you are going back to college and want to earn your degree you have to be on top of your time management skills. (Find out what else you need to be successful in college.) Let’s come clean and talk about the lies we tell ourselves about time.
I don’t have time.
You have time for anything. You have the time to earn your degree and get your assignments done. I know you’ve heard it before, but we all really do have the same 24 hours. Some people accomplish a lot with their day while others do not. It is never from a lack of having the time. If you are clear on your goals and intention with your time you will make time to do what is necessary.
On the flip-side, if you want to find out what your priorities really are right now, audit where your time is being spent for a couple of days. You might find that your priorities are Facebook and Netflix. 🙂
Time = results.
Do you ever feel frustrated because you spent 3 hours studying and don’t feel like you accomplished anything? We naturally try to equate time and results, but the two are not the same!
Part of learning to study less is focusing on results that you want to achieve and giving yourself an amount of time to do it in. Challenge yourself. Tell your brain that there are no options. Pick a topic that you need to understand, set a short but realistic time limit and get creative with how you can master the concept in the time allowed.
I’ll have the time for that later.
I love this one! It builds off of the first lie, that we don’t have time, so we hope that we will have time for it later. Consider your bubble burst. You will never have magical bonus time to do a reading assignment or write a paper. You must make the time or you will never get it done.
I spend all day at work.
This one really feels true, right? You’ve had a rough week at work and maybe pulled some long shifts or worked overtime. It can be exhausting and it may feel like you’ve spent all day at work. Unfortunately, this is usually followed by an excuse why we need a break from studying.
If you really believe this, I challenge you to prove it. Keep detailed records of your time for a couple of days and see where all of your hours are going. You may be spending longer than usual at work, but you still have hours that can be put to work elsewhere.
I am studying 20 hours a week.
This could be a reality but rarely is the truth. If so, you should be seeing major results in your studies. You are accelerating and flying through your course material. Hooray!
If you are not seeing amazing results, track your study time in detail for one week and see how many focused hours you are really spending. It may be that you are “studying” very regularly while also talking to your kids or watching TV. Sadly, those activities are great entertainment but don’t count as productive study time. You have to single-task if you want to make progress on your school work.
Need some help planning out focused study time? Try out the free study planner PDF + Excel.
That will only take a minute.
Cool—do it right now!
This is a lie we tell ourselves when we know that something will in fact NOT take a minute, but we don’t want to start right now. It is an excuse to procrastinate. If you are convinced that you are not using this to procrastinate, then go ahead and get the thing done. One of my best tips for time management is to do anything that can be done in 2 minutes right away. It’s a great way to create free time.
If you recognized any of these lies, it’s time to get real about time and get intentional. Download a free study planner and finally make the time to create results.
Are there any other lies you tell yourself about time? Any of the ones from this list stand out as your worst offender? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you’re doing with your time truths.
Try It Yourself: 10-minute Challenge
- Think back to the conversations you’ve had today with your family members, colleagues, and friends. Were you guilty of telling any of these lies about time?
- How are you progressing with your studies? Are any of these lies about time preventing you from making the progress that you would like to see?
- If you said yes, make a plan for change. Decide now that when you catch yourself in one of these lies you will stop and get honest. You do have the time. You make time for what you prioritize.