Lack of time and the overwhelming feeling of stress often go hand in hand. Being able to manage both is critical when studying a topic for the first or fortieth time. Thankfully, there are proven tactics to help. In our fast-paced, always-on-the-go world, finding time to study can be very difficult. Prioritizing and organizing are two key concepts to help manage time. When faced with multiple tasks, it is helpful to finish the most difficult ones first (which are usually the most time consuming) and then move onto the easier, quicker tasks. Being organized makes it easy to find study materials, and organization allows for a calmer, less chaotic environment which can help one be successful.
Scheduling and using your time wisely is very important. Schedule off blocks of time throughout the week devoted to studying. Make sure they are long enough to make progress, but not too long so the work becomes drudgery. Small chunks of time, even a few minutes, can be used to review material. For example, on the bus, walking to class, or even during commercials of a favorite television show can be used to study or review. Also, try to set some time aside after class to review material. This way, the material is fresh and any questions can be noted immediately to be asked at a future date.
Finally, it is helpful to have a ‘hard copy' of important dates and assignments. Keep a to-do list of chores and assignments that need to be completed soon. Use a planner and a calendar to keep track of appointments, meetings, project due dates, etc. Knowing what is happening in the days and weeks ahead will allow you to plan your time more effectively.
Getting control of your schedule is one important way to ease the feeling of stress in your life. Stress can show up in a variety of ways. A change in eating or sleeping patterns, crying, feeling afraid or frustrated, and compulsively using drugs and/or alcohol to escape are all signs of stress. A counselor or a psychologist can help you deal with stress if you feel it is too overwhelming, or if it is adversely affecting your studies or other areas in your life.
There are a variety of ways to manage stress on your own as well. Setting realistic goals for yourself is a great place to start. Set high expectations for yourself, but realize you cannot do everything at one time. By prioritizing your life and your study goals, you can avoid overwhelming feelings that lead to stress. And try not to worry about the small things or things you have no control over.
Finally, it is extremely important to take care of yourself. Set aside time each day to relax. Eat well. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Try to stay positive. All of these will help you feel better and cut down on the amount of stress in your life.
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