Author: Federico Presicci -
One of the great things about University of Bath is that it offers a wide range of extracurricular activities that you can take part in, to develop the skills you aim to acquire for future. During the academic year 2017/2018, I took part in all the major extracurricular activities organised by the School of Management - ranging from business projects and cultural experiences overseas to non-profit and social entrepreneurship activities and courses - and I worked as part-time barista while pursuing my master’s degree with an excellent result. Therefore, in this blogpost, I will be sharing 5 top tips to manage your time effectively during your year in Bath and how to get the most out of the overall experience both in terms of learning and enjoyment. Remember that time is our most precious asset, so we must make good use of it.
- Have a vision of the person you want to be at the end of the academic year and do away with procrastination.
Often, we procrastinate not because we are lazy but because we do not have sufficient motivation. Imagining yourself in the future can help you overcome this. Clearly define your long-term goals so each task you accomplish will be one step forward towards the compelling vision you have developed for yourself. In addition, make sure your habits align with your vision and create an environment that won’t slow you down but will help you thrive. For instance, if you normally have your phone with you, just place it far away or turn it off, this will cause you fewer distractions. Apply this principle to everything that could potentially slow you down in your progress.
- Stay in the present moment and do not always worry about the future as this may just diminish your focus.
Focus is essential for productivity. Often, we worry so much about all the things we need to accomplish that we do not even manage to get started. Such a situation might be paralysing, and this is what I experienced during the first semester: I was involved in the Business Plan Competition and The Zurich Community Challenge while dealing with my coursework. I felt so overwhelmed that I began to continually think about all the tasks I needed to complete to the point that I was unable to concentrate on each task and be productive. At the end of the first semester, I succeeded in overcoming the problem by practising daily meditation. Meditation is a tool that can help us stay in the present moment and significantly improve focus as a result. This is not only good for productivity, but also for life in general. In fact, if practised with consistency, meditation can allow us to feel and live each moment fully as human beings and not just as goal-driven machines.
- Write down your daily and weekly goals and schedule time for important tasks
Writing down daily and setting weekly goals give you a great sense of planning and clarity, and you can make this process part of your morning routine. Even if it can take up some time, it can make a considerable difference. Once these goals are in place, you can also prioritise tasks in order to accomplish your most significant goals – based on your vision. What is less important can always be re-scheduled for near future. Always reflect on what you do and the impact it has on your progress. Tasks which have the greatest impact should be your focus.
- Use the principle of incrementalism to be proactive and get more done in the long-term
Even 10 minutes a day can bring about incredible results in the long-term. You can add to the main tasks of the period minor ones to which you can dedicate a minimal amount of time daily. For instance, let’s say you are busy with your exams at the end of the second semester and you know that you will have to write a series of reflections for the submission of the Global Skills Award or the Bath Award by the end of July. Although the deadline is quite far ahead, what you can do is starting immediately by scheduling 10/15 minutes a day that you could dedicate to write such reflections. This will help you free up more time in the future without compromising your exams’ results. Such an approach can be applied to multiple tasks and can make you a very proactive individual. In fact, even in the eventuality of unexpected events, you will be prepared to adapt your plans and still fulfil your commitments.
- Take regular breaks and reward yourself
As already mentioned above, productivity is not just about time but also about maintaining focus and energy. Allowing quick breaks between tasks can help with this. An example here might be the Pomodoro Technique devised by Francesco Cirillo in 1980. The approach consists of setting a timer for 25 minutes, devoting your full attention to a single task for the full 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break before repeating the cycle. Rewards are also important. These can take various forms, but you can personalise them in a way that works best for you. For instance, you may decide to indulge yourself in an additional hour of sleep for your hard work, spend more time with friends, or watch a further episode of your favourite TV series.
Ultimately, it is essential to remember to sleep at least 6.5/ 7 hours a day, keeping a balanced diet and doing physical exercise on a regular basis significantly contribute to strengthening your attention during the day and manage your time more effectively as a result.