How I fit 24 month’s worth of study into just 10 is a blog about time management and planning when trying to optimise time. In 2022 I fast-tracked two streams of tertiary education in an attempt to speed up my education and give me more time at the end of the year to travel. It worked out fine.
1. Make a Daily Calendar, weekly calendar and monthly calendar.
For me a calendar was necessary. Each week I would write down what needed to be done by Friday and work my way backwards from there. Now I would break down what needed to happen between Monday and Friday for my study schedule to work. I would then break that down into each day. I would then chart out when major assignments and lectures were coming in the months ahead and make sure that my time-line aligned with when the next assignment was due at University. A little planning initially will save you a lot of time in the long run.
2. Breaking down tasks into smaller tasks
I would micro-manage my tasks precisely. Sometimes this got a little ‘robotic’ but it worked. I knew I had to cook meals on a Sunday so that I could still go to the gym through the week and have time to study without cooking meals. I knew if I got home from work at 4pm I liked to have 20 minutes to wind down and take a shower, so at 4:30pm I would put a small task on my To-Do list or calendar. I always broke things down into smaller tasks so that they didn’t seem scary or overwhelming.
3. Removing distractions
When I worked I removed my phone from the room or put it on airplane mode. I don’t listen to podcasts when I study and the only music I can study to is lo-fi. At this stage I also deleted social media for 7 months, which if I’m being honest greatly improved my ability to get the work load done.
4. I stopped drinking
I stopped drinking on September 12th 2021 so all throughout 2022 I had far less social distractions which would eat into my study time. I am a big proponent for taking ownership of our time and I don’t buy the argument from some other University students that they ‘didn’t have time’ when they also had time to go out drinking in the week. Its about sacrifices and priorities. If you want a more in depth read up on my year sober I have a blog > here <
5. Don’t procrastinate
Very similar to remove distractions and the breaking down of tasks. I hold myself responsible for how I use my time. I would write on paper a little list of To-Do’s that I needed to get done during a study session and wouldn’t leave until they were complete. You must take control of your time in order to use it well.
6. 90 minute Ultradian deep focus
90 minutes is supposedly the optimum amount of time we can reach deep-focus for. For this reason I tried never to set aside more than a 90 minute window of tasks. When my 90 minutes was up I would get-up, stretch, have a cup of tea and relax before going back to work. You will find a short rest period where you actually relax between studies is all we really need to get restored and go again.
7. Maintain a lifestyle balance
I was not willing to compromise on exercise, sleep or my social life entirely to study. There is a huge benefit in that. If you can find the time to do just a 20-minute morning workout in the morning, you have set the tone for your whole day. Likewise, you are maintaining your fitness and feeling good about yourself. You will get more tired by not exercising and your stamina to take on workloads will also decrease; therefore, your physical fitness and your ability to work are actually entwined. Similarly, if you get good sleep and keep up social interactions your mental wellbeing will be far better. This means your mind has actually released the right amount of chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and cortisol which are needed to focus, or in other words, work. So you are maximising your ability to work productively when you live a balanced lifestyle. There is no need to be so focused on study that you lock yourself in a room.
8. Wake up early and go to sleep early
Yes its that easy. Good sleep will have effects on other parts of your life. You will retain gym gains more easily, you will feel less stressed, you will be able to focus more, your hormonal levels will stabilise. There is a long extensive list of benefits to getting a good sleep. Putting my phone away half an hour before bed was a great way for me to not get any more blue or white light, and also to calm my mind. If you build a stable sleep pattern you will feel an improvement in your quality of life. For me, that meant achieving my studies.
This has been a short recap on how I fit 24 month’s worth of study into 10. While studying I also worked two jobs, completely supported myself and still maintained my fitness. It’s not easy but it can be done. Discipline is key and consistency is the formula!
I hope this blog helped just one person.
Some good websites which provide online learning for anyone looking to upskill are:
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