Who said being in school is easy? As a student, we must juggle our time between school, homework, tuition, CCAs, and (gasp!) actually having fun. Here’s some tips on how you can manage your time and increase your productivity, so you have more time to do what you want to do. In other words, study smarter, not harder!

Plan your schedule

Keep a planner or a calendar that you can take with you wherever you go. At the start of the month, week, or year (the earlier you start, the better), note down important dates such as classes, tests, activities, and deadlines. It helps if you plan tasks and actions around these dates: for example, if you have a test in Week 4, you can schedule revision sessions weeks before, with more sessions planned in Week 3.

Keep a to-do list

A to-do list helps you keep track of the things you need to do, and can help you calm down and get back on track if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It helps to keep a weekly to-do list, and pick tasks off that list for daily to-dos. Be sure to prioritise which tasks need to be completed first – even if they are the most difficult ones. Keeping lists also frees up precious memory space, so you can remember important content instead of worrying about what you need to do next. You also get to enjoy a sense of satisfaction when you complete and cross items off your list!

Use up all your extra time

We spend some moments carrying out 'brainless' tasks such as when taking public transport, walking, jogging, or queueing for food. Don’t waste these pockets of extra time - those five minutes spent queueing can be used for online learning, while time spent exercising can be used to listen to a recorded lecture or audiobook. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!

Try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a tried-and-tested time management method created by developer, entrepreneur, and author Francesco Cirillo - you can certainly tell he’s super productive! The technique helps you to complete tasks in short bursts, with frequent breaks to pause and relax. If you’re faced with a lot of work to complete, simply break them down into a series of simpler, more manageable tasks. You then work to complete these tasks in short, timed intervals, called pomodoros – a good starting point is 25 minutes. Take a 5-minute break after each pomodoro. After your fourth pomodoro, you can reward yourself with a longer break of 10 to 15 minutes. You can use your handphone timer to keep track of the intervals, or even the tomato-shaped kitchen timer after which the technique is named! This highly-recommended technique helps your brain stay focused, and can improve your concentration and attention span over time.

Try live-streaming tuition

Tuition traditionally requires a lot of time and effort – from traveling down to a tuition centre, and lugging stacks of worksheets from place to place. With livestreaming tuition now available in Singapore, you can save time by attending tuition classes anywhere and anytime, using just your laptop. Online learning is convenient and can save precious time without sacrificing your learning experience, as tutors and students can interact and discuss questions in real-time. In fact, online learning can enhance your learning by allowing you to record and play back sessions to review what was previously taught.

Find your perfect study space

It’s difficult to get into the flow of studying when you’re busy looking for a place to study and having to deal with tons of distractions. Designating a quiet corner as your go-to study space can help you get into the studying mindset more quickly and effectively.

Get 8 to 9 hours of sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Even if you’ve got all the content in your head, it’s difficult to use that knowledge when you’re struggling to stay awake. Lack of sleep can significantly hurt school performance by affecting how your brain processes and retains information. Long-term sleep deprivation can even lead to depression, attention deficit disorders, and memory problems. So get to bed early – it’ll make you happier, healthier, and help you study better!

With these tips, studying can take up less of your time, and even become a little less scary. Try them out to see what works for you, and always remember to "add oil"!