Time management is hard in normal times. During a pandemic, it’s almost impossible to stay on task and focus on school. There are so many directions we are pulled in. Who can blame you for being distracted? During this pandemic, we still have seven days in a week and 24 hours a day but most of the time it doesn’t feel like it.
I used to go to my local coffee shop to study. It was glorious. With my freshly steamed Latte, multicolored pens, and no kids to distract me, I could finally concentrate.
Most of that is not possible during a pandemic. Coffee shops are either closed or have limited seating. Good luck getting a babysitter outside of close friends and family too.
Being a student is harder than ever right now. Here are some practical ideas on how to be successful during college.
1. Get Prepared
Seems obvious, right? Then why don’t we all do it well? No one ever really taught me how to prepare for me a day, week, or month. Remember, I am a first-generation college student. My Mom never went to college, and my Dad went to trade school. They are great parents but never knew how to prepare me to study.
The first step to getting prepared is actually to take a step back. Yes! Don’t start out preparing for your exam or final by sprinting. Take a big deep breath, be mindful, and stay centered on the tasks at hand.
Next, make a list and have a system to keep track of classes and projects. It can be as simple or complex as you would like. I highly suggest a calendar to organize your assignments and exam days to have a visual aid.
Lastly, know what’s on your plate each day. Nothing is more anxiety-provoking for most of us than knowing we have a big project or exam coming up but not knowing what we need to do each day.
Click here for my easy to use my monthly and weekly calendar on Etsy. I used this system in college, helped me stay organized, and kept my stress at a manageable level.
2. Get Rid of Distractions
Distractions are everywhere. Phone, watch, social media, binge-watching shows to name a few. It’s hard to concentrate and avoid distractions during this pandemic because every day feels the same. We are all looking for some kind of enjoyment, and doing homework doesn’t bring enjoyment for most of us.
It’s worse if you have a roommate or anyone else living with you. Roommates, partners, and kids are great distractions to avoid getting your work done.
6 Ways to Manage Distractions
1. Do one thing at a time.
2. Have a “To Do” list next to you while you work.
3. Check your email at a specific time (Ex. 9 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm).
4. Set expectations for interruptions.
5. Create email folders for non-urgent items.
6. Make a do not disturb function on texts/emails.
3. Get to Work!
Now prepared and not distracted, how do students get work done? One small piece at a time. Start small and give yourself “Wins.” Review material you already know and understand to boost your confidence.
Studying for nursing exams is incredibly hard, especially with the intense testing anxiety I had in school. To help manage my anxiety, I started with anatomy and physiology no matter what the topic was. I knew my A&P inside and out. I built my confidence by reviewing what I already knew and then started adding new information. I stopped feeling overwhelmed and started feeling confident I could ace my next exam studying this way.