Nursing students often struggle with finding enough time to do everything: studying, hanging out with friends, attending lecture classes, clinicals, etc. This can lead to unnecessary stress, anxiety, and even poor grades. However, many students fail to realize that if they implemented a few time management techniques, their lives would be a whole lot simpler.
In this article (and video), I’ll give you some simple strategies that you can use to boost your time management skills. This will help you accomplish more in less time.
Nursing School Time Management Tips
Here are some simple time management techniques you can implement right now:
Cut Out Unnecessary Distractions
Many students get distracted by things like text messaging, social media, and so forth. While there’s nothing wrong with engaging in those activities, they can waste a tremendous amount of time—time that you could be using for studying or accomplishing something productive.
To fix this problem, students must learn to focus their energies on studying first and leisure second. It’s usually best to turn off cell phones and the internet while studying. Set aside time each day to respond to text messages and to engage in social media. For example, perhaps you’ll respond to texts or social media while eating a meal, or for 30 minutes at the middle and end of the day. This way, you won’t be distracted when doing more important activities (like studying).
Another way to improve your time management skills is to consolidate activities. Students can sit down and “audit” a typical day. To do this, look over a typical day and write down a list of common activities. For example, perhaps you exercise, study, attend lecture classes, spend 30 minutes in commute, and so forth.
Next, look to see what activities you could add accomplish something without sacrificing the activity. For example, you could exercise by riding an exercise bike, while also sifting through some flashcards or lecture notes. This way, you get studying done while also getting in some daily exercise.
Another great way to consolidate activities is to use a digital recorder (or smart phone). You can record lectures of professors, or simply record yourself saying some definitions or concepts from the classes in which you’re struggling. Then, you can listen to this to get in more study time as you eat food, walk on campus, drive to work/school, and more.
Practice NCLEX Questions for Specific Courses
It’s never too early to study for NCLEX. One of our top recommendations for passing is to get a good NCLEX study guide, and practice that relentlessly (preferably a year or two before you take it). However, rather than studying random parts of the NCLEX study software, you can study the parts that correspond with the classes you’re currently taking.
For example, if you’re currently taking “Maternity Nursing,” then focus on the maternity sections in the NCLEX study guide. This way, you’re killing two birds with one stone: You’re prepping for NCLEX while also studying for your courses.
Incorporate Friends and Family in your Study Time
Humans need at least some social interaction to be happy, and being a nursing student doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life. We all have friends and family with which we want to spend our spare time. One thing that my wife and I did was to study together. You can quiz each other and make studying much more fun and interesting.
For example, I’d quiz my wife, and I’d tell her that if she got everything right, I’d take her out to eat anywhere she wanted to go. If she got them wrong, she’d have to cook for me! You can get creative and incorporate your children, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or even your parents into your studying routine. Take some flashcards when you go to hang out and let them quiz you.
You can even create study groups with some of your fellow nursing students. The takeaway here is to make studying fun, and get your social interaction while also accomplishing some much needed studying.
Use a Calendar or Planner
I’ve already talked about the importance of staying organized in nursing school, and one of the best things you can do is to get a calendar or planner. This will help you keep track of all of your exams, assignment due dates, and more.
Yes, it does take time to create a detailed schedule in advance, but it will save you time in the long run. And that’s what it’s all about–you’ve got to save time and work efficiently while staying organized.
Use Study Tips for Efficiency
Another tip for saving and managing your time is to use study techniques that are more efficient. Here is a sample of some of the study tips we’ve covered:
By taking note of your preferred learning style, by reading efficiently, and obtaining a study guide for the tough classes, you’ll be able to focus on what’s important.
Conclusion: Time Management Can Make You a Better Student
If you can learn to implement simple time management techniques, you will become a better nursing student. You’ll be able to study more, stress less, and score higher grades.
We all have this one thing in common: we each have but 24 hours in a given day to accomplish all that we need to accomplish. By consolidating activities, using efficient study methods, and using organizational techniques, you can reduce wasted time and accomplish more tasks in a shorter period.