Let’s be honest with ourselves—we have no idea what we are doing once the term starts gaining traction. Lectures, assignments, societies, socials, more assignments. But don’t worry: your salvation is near. I’ve been practising these tips with great results. The common theme is “make it simple”—the less we need to remember, the more we can think.
#1 Google Calendar
Let’s start with your biggest life saver. This is an excellent calendar app, with a very nicely done widget (sorry, iPhone users). For a start, you can sync your timetable to Google Calendar. To do that go to https://student.reading.ac.uk/essentials/_study/your-timetable.aspx, and open the PDF file under “Syncing your timetable to your phone”. Once you open it, go to Section 3 and follow the steps (Section 2 for calendar on iPhone).
In addition, you can also create your own events, like meet-ups and appointments. “I won’t forget it; it’s pointless to do that”. You know it’s not true: it’s so easy to forget about something that’s in two months’ time. Write it down—save yourself some space in your brain to text your mum.
This is an absolutely wonderful Google Chrome extension, which has saved me on so many occasions. It is a simple list creator, where you can tick off bullet-pointed tasks once they are completed. Once you install it, it becomes your “New Tab” on your browser. You can either create custom lists for assignments, or (what I like to do) create a new list for every single day and write down the things I need to do in that day.
#3 Start the night before
Write down your Taskade list for tomorrow the night before. That way, you have a general idea what your day should look like as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. Why spend portion of our precious productive time creating lists, instead of actually doing work. Just spend 2 minutes the night before and you can always update your list as the day demands.
#4 Create tiny habits across your day
- “Do 5 squats after I go to the toilet”
- “Tidy my bed after I wake up”
- “Eat a fruit with my breakfast”
- “Read for 10 minutes after I have breakfast”
- “Make a list for tomorrow before I go to bed”
- “Don’t browse social media during lectures”
The difference between a mediocre and an unimaginable level of success in university (and any other area of your life) are simple daily habits. I also said “Yeah, right” when I heard about this idea for the first time, but once I gave it a shot, I was fully on board.
If you decide to read only for 10 minutes in the evening, it’s not a big deal… right? What can you learn in those 10 minutes? Now, let us put it into perspective. 10 minutes every day for a year is 2.5 days of uninterrupted reading time. Imagine the volumes you can read in that time.