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How to manage your time during postgraduate study

Completing postgraduate study means you have to become a master at time management as well as your chosen subject. It’s been a particular struggle for me over the past few months to be organised, as I travel to Sheffield from Pontefract, so the long train journeys don’t give me much free time once I get home. It takes two hours out of my morning, and another two hours out of my afternoon. On top of that I need to make sure I’m eating well, getting enough sleep, and just generally keeping on top of everything in my life!

The first thing you need to remember is that self-care comes first. If your mind and body aren’t healthy, then the hours you put into your uni work will be wasted as you won’t be able to concentrate and your thoughts will drift. If you’re a commuter like me, make sure you utilise all the free time you have in the day so that you’ve got enough hours to wind down once you get home. Do your course reading while you’ve got that spare hour on the train, or spend your mid-day free period in the library as opposed to the coffee shop across the road. Also be mindful of what resources you have with you at what times Some trains don’t always have internet access, so make sure you’ve got everything you need to effectively study without the world wide web.

A masters degree can be tiresome and stressful – it’s easy to get caught up with the intimidation of looming deadlines and a heap of assignments yet to be completed. Break each task down step by step, leaving plenty of time to go over it and check everything. If you think about all the things you need to do in one big pile, it can just make you panic. Setting yourself personal goals for each day/week will help you to cross things off the list slowly, without leaving everything to the last minute in one big rush.

Finally, remember IT’S ONLY A YEAR. It will be over before you know it, and until then the holidays seem to swing by pretty quickly so there’ll be enough time for you to catch up on your sleep and Netflix binges eventually. Just. Keep. Going. You’ll soon realise the hard work pays off when it’s time for graduation day.

Sarah Baxter, MA Magazine Journalism
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