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Article written by Ola Alice, Babcock University, Third Year LLB.
Deadlines, assignments, classes, tests, exams, projects, meetings, and extra-curricular activities all make up the life of any law student. These different activities serve as determinants for the success of students and as such honing the skill of time management is crucial.
Time management, according to an article by Management Study Guide, refers to managing time effectively so that the right time is allocated to the right activity. This understanding is predicated on the fact that time cannot be stopped and in order to take control of one’s life and future, there needs to be an effective plan. So, to begin with, questions that you must ask yourself are:
- ‘What activities do I carry out on the different days of the week?’
- ‘What activity is of utmost importance?’
- ‘What is the end goal for each of these activities?’
The skill of time management is not taught as a course, and neither is it drilled into any law student in the classroom setting. However, as reiterated earlier, productivity and efficiency are consequent to the applicability of this skill in your daily life. While it is common for students to experiment and test skills to find out what works for them, it is necessary that this is done on a structured backdrop that would produce results. This structure is made up of the following techniques.
Work with a schedule
As common as this sounds, the first step to properly managing your time as a law student is by drafting a schedule. One that works for you and is tailored to the activities you carry out daily. This is because it is easy to be overwhelmed by the thought of having so much to do. However, where there is a proper plan set out that clearly states what you need to do and when it needs to be done, it is easy to keep track of your duties and stay afloat of them. A practical way of doing this would be getting an app that is suited for this purpose or drawing it out in a book or on paper. Firstly, add your classes to this schedule, then add other obligations as well as breaks and finally utilize the remaining time for extra-reading and studying.
Make good use of your time
It is easier to draw up a schedule and allocate specific times to different obligations than to actually observe the schedule. Making a plan is not the most important part of time management, it is sticking to it. This means that the time allocated to attending a particular class should actually involve you paying attention in class and reading ahead of your classes. The time allocated to engaging in extracurricular activities should be observed.
The greatest challenge of many law students is not how to plan but avoiding distractions. It is no lie that sticking to schedules is quite difficult sometimes, however practice and consistency makes the perfect routine. Take each activity at a time and try to block off any distraction that might prevent you from executing the tasks on your schedule. Distraction might come in form of social media, television, hobbies, phones and even people.
Cut down on unnecessary activities
It is very easy for students to get carried away with achieving their definition of ‘success’ that they stretch themselves to lengths they cannot handle. While it is good to step out of one’s comfort zone sometimes, the pressure can affect the overall results of activities undertaken when you bite more than you can chew. For many, what they might need may be removing themselves from some groups or societies, declining requests to attend a social event, saying no to filling in for someone and even dropping unnecessary classes. However, this is not as straightforward as it might seem, so it is important to consult a lecturer or an advisor before doing any of these.
To be accountable, according to an article by Investopedia, means to be responsible for one’s action. It involves being willing to be transparent and allowing others to observe and evaluate one’s performance. The art of time management is not complete if you are not ready to be accountable. Accountability could come in the form of you rewarding yourself when you achieve certain milestones, complete certain tasks and accomplish set goals. It could also extend to your friends, colleagues or classmates holding you to your words (or in this case tasks) and checking in on you from time to time to ensure you stay on track and observe your schedule.
All tips provided above constitute the beauty of time management. You will observe that you accomplish more and are able to work with a sense of satisfaction and in peace when you understand and observe these techniques. For motivation, it is important to remind yourself that your sanity and mental health matters and to be a goal-getter you have to be intentional about it. The art of time management would make you accomplish more in less time. It will lower your stress and give you long-term and short-term success.