Efficient time management: a master’s student’s toolkit

In my time as a master’s student at Karolinska Institutet, my days are filled with various activities, such as attending lectures, continuing my internship, spending time with friends, doing assignments, and much more. So, I need to learn some time management skills to handle both the academic demands and my personal life. Honestly, managing both worlds is a challenge, and on some days, one task can completely take over. But today, I’ll share some strategies I use to better manage my time. Let’s dive into my top 5 strategies to handle this dual challenge and make the most out of my time at Karolinska Institutet.

1. Create a Weekly Schedule

Starting a week without a plan is definitely like setting sail without a compass. Allocating time blocks for lectures, study sessions, and breaks provides a roadmap, and sets the stage for an organized and proactive week. Personally, I prefer using my phone’s calendar to lay out my weekly activities. It serves as a tool not only for academic commitments but also for social plans. With lots of tasks at hand, it’s easy to become distracted and unintentionally overlook social engagements. Having them on my calendar ensures I stay connected with friends and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Tip 1: Be realistic with your time allocations; leave room for unexpected tasks and don’t judge yourself if some tasks take more time than you expected.

Tip 2: If you are using a digital calendar colour-code your calendar according to tasks. For example, I have different colours for lab work, lectures, assignments, exams and social activities.

Image credits: unsplash.com

2. Prioritize Tasks

Not all tasks are created equal, and acknowledging this truth is a good step in effective time management. For this, I find the Eisenhower Matrix very useful. This matrix provides a simple yet powerful framework for categorizing tasks based on their urgency and importance. By tackling high-priority tasks first, you ensure that your energy is directed where it matters most. While assigning priority to tasks might not be an easy thing to do initially, as you become used to it, the process becomes clearer, helping you discern how to place them within this matrix.

3. Task Management Apps

Breaking down large tasks into smaller, manageable steps is a game-changer. Task management apps like Todoist, Trello or Notion transform overwhelming assignments into a series of achievable goals. Create to-do lists, track your progress, and celebrate small victories along the way. If you don’t want a new app on your phone, you can also use your phone/computer’s note app and create to-do lists there.

However, if you are like me you can also use a pen and paper to for to-do lists. When it comes to breaking down tasks into more detailed parts, I turn to the old-school classic way. I write down all the bullet points needed to accomplish my task. This helps me to conceptualize my work better, also it gives me great pleasure when I can cross out that task after I am finished.

4. Pomodoro Technique

In a world of constant distractions, maintaining focus is a challenge. The Pomodoro Technique, with its 25-minute focused study intervals followed by 5-minute breaks, can be your antidote to procrastination and burnout. This method not only enhances productivity but also ensures a healthy balance between work and rest. I use this technique a lot. However, I usually like to continue working when I am focused, so I modify my Pomodoro times to 40-50 minutes followed by 10-minute breaks.

Tip: You can use the breaks to stretch or engage in a quick activity to refresh your mind.

I hope that this blog will contribute to your time management skills as a master’s student, as it has proven beneficial for me along the way. Feel free to adapt these strategies to match your unique style and enjoy the balance in your academic life at Karolinska Institutet. Here’s to mastering time, thriving in your master’s program, and embracing the journey of continuous improvement.

See you in the next blog!

Yagmur - Molecular Techniques in Life Science

Yagmur - Molecular Techniques in Life Science

My name is Yağmur, and I am from Turkey. I am a student on the Master’s Programme in Molecular Techniques in Life Science. Living in Sweden and studying at KI started as a dream, yet here I am (my life motto “everything is possible” still holds until further notice). In my free time, I like watching movies and listening to music from all around the world. I enjoy sharing my experiences in life. So, if everyone is ready, welcome to my blog and let’s begin the journey…


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