To avoid the inevitable nights of wanting to hit your head against the wall, Leanne Quinn tells us how time management from early in the college year is key to avoiding unnecessary stress at college...

OK, so maybe it’s a bit early to be cramming but it’s not too early to start getting a bit organised for exams. It may feel like you only started back last week but lads, it’s almost mid-term. Most of us are in our fifth or sixth week already which means the nights out are happening less frequently, the evenings are colder and darker and people are hitting the library already. We’re all guilty of saying to ourselves “why did I do this to myself?” and “next time I’ll be more organised” whilst cramming a whole semesters’ work into the night before an exam. But fear not, I’m here to help you to at least get started and even though we’ve all heard it before, little and often really does do the trick.

Follow these five simple time management and organisation tips to lessen the stress this exam season.

  1. Get a calendar – Or make one, whichever suits but plaster it on your wall where you can clearly see exactly how much time you have between now and your exams. Mark in the important dates such as assignment deadlines and due-dates for term papers and at least that way you can prioritise.
  2. Get a diary – A compact one that you can keep and add to as you go. It will help you to get organised, stop you from forgetting things (as long as you remember to check it frequently) and finally keep on top of things.
  3. Make a weekly plan – Either on a Sunday evening or first thing on a Monday morning, make a weekly schedule of what college hours you have, extra-curricular hours, events, etc. It will show you what free time you have in a day to fit an hour or two of study in and also helps to avoid time-wasting. We’ve all been there, sitting at home either watching mindless re-runs Tipping Point, Jeremy Kyle and The Chaser or spending back-to-back hours on FIFA. Think of what else you could be doing in these hours. I’m not saying to stop enjoying your free time but if you plan in advance, you can have ample free time and be uber-productive too.
  4. Clean your room – It is virtually impossible to have a clear head if your environment is a mess. Have a clean, organised place to study, free of distractions (photos, magazines, Facebook etc.) and you’ll be amazed at what you can get done. If you don’t fancy cleaning your room or find studying at home too distracting with housemates, music etc. then find a room on campus to study in. If, like UL, the library is everyone’s top creeping spot, then maybe avoid this area if you really want to get work done. An hour of solid studying in a quiet room is better than 4 hours of creeping in the library.
  5. If all else fails, remember that you have the exact same number of hours in a day as Beyonce. If that doesn’t motivate you to fit more into your day, then I don’t know what will.