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Time management the key to part-time study success

Setting goals is fundamental to successful time management and will guide your studies in a focused way when used in conjunction with your personal study timetable, says Wits Plus

13 May 2022 - 13:10
Effective time management will ensure that you work systematically through your studies.
Effective time management will ensure that you work systematically through your studies.
Image: Supplied/Wits Plus

Finding the time and budget to study is a challenge for many people, which often means reaching their full personal and business potential takes a back seat. 

Managing your study time  

Learning to manage your time effectively is an important life skill and is essential when you’re taking up part-time studies. Everyone has various aspects of life to balance: work, family, personal life and studies.  

Ineffective time management means not only do you get less done but it can lead to stress and anxiety, which are common problems when trying to juggle the demands of a busy life. Improving your time management skills can alleviate stress triggers and help you achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Effective time management will enable you to work your way systematically through your studies. 

Time management for studying is not just about managing the quantity of your study time, it is also being aware of your personal limitations - knowing when to work and when to stop. This can be very helpful to ensure that you stay motivated and committed to your studies. 

What does this mean for work-life balance?

Studying does not take place in a vacuum but needs to be organised around your other fixed commitments. It may help to involve your colleagues, family and friends in the planning process to ensure their understanding, cooperation and support. For example, creating a study timetable that you can share with others will help them feel included and will also serve as a reminder to them that there will be times when you should not be disturbed.  

Setting and achieving goals

Setting goals is the key to successful time management and, when used in conjunction with your personal study timetable, will guide you through your studies in a focused way. Goals will give direction to your personal learning and development and will also enable you to track your progress, while boosting your confidence and morale.

Your goals should follow the SMART principle:

  • Specific: Make your goals clear and precise; what do you want to accomplish exactly?
  • Measurable: How are you progressing with your goal and how will you know when the goal is achieved?
  • Attainable: Your goals need to be realistic and attainable. You set yourself up for failure if you set unrealistic goals that you cannot achieve.
  • Relevant: Make sure your goals are relevant; avoid spending time trying to achieve something that you don’t need to.  
  • Time-scaled: Set time frames or deadlines for achieving your goals. Make allowances for the possibility that time scales may change as you progress.  As you become more practised at setting goals your timing will become more realistic.

Need some inspiration?

Students Julian Ing and Thabo Maketekete both completed part-time honours degrees in psychology through Wits Plus and achieved sought-after places in clinical psychology masters programmes. Listen to what they have to say about the importance of setting and achieving goals.

Wits Plus offers selected Wits undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as a range of short courses, on a flexible, part-time basis.

This article was paid for by Wits Plus.