Student life can be challenging, especially when you have other responsibilities at home or work. Between attending classes, spending time with family, and completing assignments, things can soon get overwhelming if you don't know how to plan things. But don't fret — with timeboxing, you can carve out time for all your tasks and some much-needed downtime.
Timeboxing is a simple time management technique that helps you schedule and organize different aspects of your life as a student. You only need a calendar and a list of all the tasks you tend to have every week to start timeboxing. Then, get to making your boxes!
For example, you could box off Monday from 9 AM to noon for studying and box off the whole of Saturday for spending time with family. You can add more details to each timebox, like where or how you plan to do the task. But if that's not your style, keep it simple.
Once you've created a timebox, you must commit to it in an environment without distractions. In other words, you should treat each timebox and the task involved like it's a meeting for work.
Timeboxing for students is great because you get to choose how much time to spend on each area of your life rather than just doing things as and when they come up. This means you won't devote too much energy to one area of your life at the cost of others.
Other benefits of timeboxing for students include:
Motivation to start assignments you tend to procrastinate on or find too difficult because you know there's a set limit for how long you'll do it.
Better productivity when studying because there are no distractions during each timebox.
Less perfectionism because you won't be able to 'overwork' on an assignment after the end of each timebox.
Improvement of general well-being because you can block off times for physical activity, rest, or leisure.
Get a calendar if you don't have one already. It doesn't need to be anything fancy — a plain physical calendar will do, or you can use a mobile app.
Add timeboxes for your essential non-academic commitments such as work or family time (using different colors for boxes can be very helpful here).
Think about how much time you need to complete academic tasks. How long does it usually take for you to write an essay? Or complete an online class?
Add timeboxes for each academic task according to your best estimates, leaving breaks between timeboxes to avoid burnout.
Add timeboxes for physical activity, hobbies, or downtime, depending on how you prefer to rest and recuperate.
Think about how to avoid distractions — maybe go to the library to study or ask your partner not to disturb you at certain times.
Commit to each timebox and remember the task will be over soon enough, no matter how challenging it seems.
After the first week, you'll get a better idea of how long it takes you to finish tasks or if there are some times of day that just don't work. You can update your timeboxes for the following week accordingly.
Remember, as a MedCerts student you have a team of individuals to support you and assist you in accomplishing your academic goals. Talk to your Student Success Advisor or Education Consultant about your study strategies, like timeboxing, if you need extra help!
Julie Campos is the Senior Director of Operations and Student Success at MedCerts. She brings over 14 years of experience in Online Higher Education in both Student Support and Enrollment and started her career at the University of Phoenix, serving most of her tenure as a student-facing leader.
Julie has her Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her areas of expertise are student support in online higher education environments and working with nontraditional students. At MedCerts, she is focused on creating a pro-active student central support model for MedCerts students to reach their goals and has developed the MedCerts Student Support and Outreach Model, created MedCerts Student Success Advisor reports and Dashboards, as well as the Student Success Advisor Playbook. Her proactive approach to student support has been crucial in meeting MedCerts’ student’s needs, as well as completion and certification goals.
Julie has three children – a 10-year-old son and 12- and 4-year-old daughters, who keep her and her husband busy with sports. She is also an avid crafter with an entire room of her home dedicated to the hobby. In her free time, she enjoys teaching wreath making and even has a few “how-to” YouTube videos on the subject!