Graduate life in residence: Time management

Hande Gur - 03 December 2021

In 2013, the American Psychological Association shared an article called Where do the hours go?. The article talks in part about the experiences of grad students and it's immediately clear that we all sometimes ask ourselves this question.

I think the pandemic made this even worse. My friends and I are not asking where our hours are going now—instead, we are asking where the weeks and even months are. It may be hard for new graduate students to adjust to school or even for experienced ones to find ways to continue working in the post-pandemic world.

Here are some little changes that might help with time management.

Make a schedule

It is crucial to keep track of what we are doing if we want to change something about it. This doesn't mean being efficient every hour of your life—personally, I do not believe that! But you should know what you are doing with your time and not just drift along. After this, it is easier to come up with a plan that works for your schedule.

This may also help us to find our ideal working hours. Not everyone is a morning person, so do not push yourself to be something you are not. You just need to be aware of your own needs. If you can, plan your days around your needs and natural tendencies, creating natural breaks between tasks instead of forcing duties and breaks on yourself. (Yes, this includes getting enough sleep and having lunch breaks.)

Little choices can make your life easier

Even small choices you make might let you have more time. For example, how much time do you spend in transit? Would it be better for you to live on campus? Are you able to access resources and study spaces provided by the university?

A naturally flowing daily schedule may help with procrastination as well. When you find the best times, the only thing left to do is just to start. Once you start, you know you will feel so much better about the task you have in hand.

And remember, we do not have to work long hours. You can always divide your time as long as you have a plan in mind!

Work towards your goals

Your time allocations should reflect your individual goals. It’s better to allocate more time to your major goals than the side projects for example. Also, it is important for us to have achievable goals with clear steps. Knowing this will show what should be done with the time we have.

If you are experiencing difficulty with your academic goals, you can always talk to your supervisor, faculty advisors, or Faculty in Residence and Academic in Residence. The Academic Success Centre is another great resource that may help you to achieve those goals.

So, find what works for you, find a study space and just start!