Learn to organize and work properly during your studies: University time management

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The curriculum at universities is very well organized, there is not much left of the cliché of the lazy student. How can students efficiently organize their daily routine at the university?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Instituts Berufebilder Yourweb.


How students cope with the bulk of the requirements

At school everything was usually pretty well laid out - schedule, exam dates, homework and material - you have to organize a lot at the university yourself: the sequence of events, transcripts, books, exams - and learning! But that's not all: students also have to write scientific texts, work on the side to finance their studies and also prepare for the job with internships.

Result: Quite a few students feel overwhelmed by the mass of requirements. One in five even feels so overwhelmed that he cancels his studies prematurely. But it doesn't have to go that far, because there is a magic word that can help: time management

Organizations is everything

Time management - “sounds stressful at first”, many will think and therefore let it be the same. I thought wrong. Good scheduling is not a rigid set of tasks to be followed slavishly.

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Rather, it adapts flexibly to your own needs and helps to gradually optimize your own habits. Time management therefore forms the basis for efficient work.

Time management helps

A widespread misconception is to believe that time management replaces the previous daily routine with guidelines that you have to stick to from now on.

The opposite is the case: Time management gives students' everyday lives a flexible structure that is intended to gradually replace their previous habits. And in the long run, these new, improved habits lead to more freedom. Instead of constantly chasing your schedule, you ultimately do more in the same time and are much more relaxed.

Only patience

However, patience is important: if in the end the desired result does not come out immediately, many quickly give up their time management. But those who have not yet been able to increase their efficiency and reduce their stress have to adapt their time management even better to reality.

Usually it doesn't work right away, you need a certain amount of time to be able to realistically estimate the effort and to plan the time optimally.

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Analyze your own way of working

The first step to a new schedule is an exact inventory: If you want to redistribute your time, you first have to make clear what you spend the day with. Therefore, you should analyze your own way of working day after day for at least a week.

For each day, you create a table in which you enter all the activities of the day: when were you in the lecture? When did you look for books in the library? When did you learn, when did you take a break and when did you eat? And when did you get stuck in the cafeteria for too long?

set goals

In this way, the start and end times of each activity should be recorded in writing. But you should also honestly note whether and how long you were interrupted for work that you had planned to do, for example, because after lunch you simply stayed in the kitchen with your flatmate instead of continuing to study.

Or because your best friend called you and stopped you from important things. In this way you get a good overall impression of your daily routine

The right work technique

The right working technique is also important, for example when working with texts: Here it helps to first check which chapters, sections or sub-paragraphs are actually relevant for your own question - if the same exists at all.

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In the second step, marginal notes and colored underlines have proven to be an important aid, which of course is not possible with books that have only been borrowed. Here, too, it is useful to have a question in mind and to underline it sparingly.

Why the schedule often goes wrong: don't fall into the trap

But even if the schedule actually sounds good - study four hours in the morning, then lunch break, in the afternoon in the library to research books for homework, in the evening seminar and then in bed in time so that you are fit for learning again the next morning - it always comes differently than you think ...

For example like this: Even learning does not work as you want it to, because you are always thinking of something else: tidying up, shopping, washing dishes, hanging out with your roommates in the kitchen - and the morning is over.

Choosing the right place to work: Too much distraction

After lunch you sit in the cafeteria for too long, so that in the end there is far too little time for the book research. And in the evening, after the seminar, you go to the next pub with your fellow students - learning the next morning should fall flat ... In fact, this is the main problem of many students: in addition to the actual curriculum, the university also offers a comprehensive supporting program of lectures, events or student organizations. There are also the temptations of student life.

Opinions also differ as to the right place to work. For example, library: Are there enough jobs? Are the lighting, temperature and ventilation conditions within the tolerable range for me? And last but not least: what is the level of activity and noise level like? It makes a big difference whether I am sitting in a city library, where there may be a five-person study group right next to me and where people are constantly walking back and forth, or in a special reading room in which a small number of philologists and historians keep silent about incunabula sitting. Some students therefore use headphones. The place of work also depends on the type: some are more likely to bibliograph in a library and do everything else at home. Others generally preferred to work in the library.

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Goals are necessary: ​​important tasks first

Those who do not consistently separate important tasks from unnecessary pastime can quickly lose sight of their goals. The prerequisite is, of course, that you make yourself clear which tasks are really important and what you have to do:

Goals have to be challenging, but at the same time they have to be realistic and flexible. What good does it do if you set yourself the goal of learning all day long, if it is actually one of your own goals to enjoy student life or get involved in politics. Corresponding activities must then be planned in exactly the same way as learning. Scheduling is now based on these goals. Accordingly, everything that does not serve your own goal should be avoided. This includes saying “no” sometimes - even if it is your best friend or it would be much more tempting to sit in the pub with your fellow students. However, if you keep an eye on what you want to achieve, you will succeed with some practice.

Defermentitis: Attention is important

Another big problem is that many students like to postpone tasks like learning or doing homework. You can think of a thousand other things that you absolutely have to do - so that the really important things fall by the wayside. But behind this procrastination, as the technical term for defermentitis is, is usually more than not being able to plan your time properly: namely, often a massive reluctance or even fear of tackling the really important things.

There is also a certain amount of inattentiveness and lack of concentration: this story of one is circulating Professor, who announced at the beginning of the semester that he would put a lie in each of his meetings - and it became the athletic task of the students to uncover this lie. What was the result? The students listened more attentively, and if an hour went by without the lie being exposed, they would sit together and search - and so imperceptibly repeat the material of the session. The attention was that Professor so sure.

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