One major change in the lives of most veterinary students is the amount of time they find they need to devote to veterinary school. Their academic schedule demands most of their attention due to the hours spent in class each day and the hours in the evening most students need to spend studying. These claims on their time mean the need for better time management and some creative ways to balance the personal and academic aspects of their lives. Time management involves considering your obligations and making choices about how to best utilize your time. Here are some suggestions for how to organize your time:
Time Management: Suggestions
- Use a calendar or planner to record assignments, make lists and keep track of appointments.
- Take time each day to plan and organize by reviewing your calendar, updating your lists and making note of upcoming assignments and examinations.
- Break large assignments and tasks into smaller parts so that goals are simpler to achieve. For example, break up studying different assignments into manageable increments of different parts of a chapter or notes.
- Set realistic goals and deadlines for your goals such as having the goal of studying a certain amount of information each night.
- Prioritize your lists and tasks by looking at the “big picture” and deciding what you need to complete first or what is most important.
- Be flexible so that the unexpected distractions and interruptions that occur during the day or week do not cause you undue anxiety or stress.
- Know what works best with your personal style; for example, do you study better in the morning or at night? Plan your day accordingly and perform your most difficult tasks when you are at your best.
- Learn to say “No” so that you do not take on extracurricular activities, responsibilities or duties that cause or exacerbate stress or demands on your time.
- Make use of wasted time; for example, keep class notes with you so you can study if you are waiting for an appointment in a doctor’s office. Also, try to use time in the morning before class or during lunch to study or to get other work done.