How To Maximize Your Time During Finals

There is never enough time. For anything. Ever.

And then another time-consuming, yet important engagement squeezes its way into your already jam-packed diary: finals. Now the finals themselves typically range from only one to three hours for each course.

how to maximize your time during finals

Not horrendous.

But they’re not the ultimate problem. It’s the study sessions, office hours and all-nighters that soak up whatever free time remained between jobs, actual class time, (on occasion) sleep and (on the even rarer occasion) a social life.

Until you walk out of that final exam and release a sigh of relief for summer—unless you enrolled in summer school—it’s essential you maximize every minute of your day. Here are my top three methods to control time—or at least let you feel like are.

Let me check my schedule

Time often gets the best of us because we don’t even notice it passing. As counterproductive as it sounds, take thirty minutes now to plan what you have to accomplish over the next seven days. There’s no point penciling in a due date without also penciling the date you’ll actually do it. Be realistic, not ambitious. You might just need more than a single night to pull off your upcoming essay. You’re the one that gets burned when incomplete tasks start to carry over and pile up. Your plan can be as simple as a to-do list on a sticky note or as intricate as an hour-by-hour schedule with alarms on the hour. Review and refine your scheduling process each week. Active, regular reflection can serve as a helpful form of self-talk. Rope in a friend or family member if such reflection unsettles rather than relaxes you. A comforting second opinion usually softens any fears about impending deadlines.

App-ly yourself

While numerous precious hours are lost to the Internet, you technically could waste (just a few) more browsing the legions of productivity apps available. Whether you need assistance maintaining a calendar or locking yourself out of Facebook for a set period of time, there is indeed an app for that. With enough apps, your phone can become your personal assistance of sorts: reminding you to buy toilet paper enroute home, or in the case of Boost App, pre-ordering your lunch on campus.

This commute though

Not only does school consume hours of your life potentially so does your travel time to and from it. But does it have to? While your commute can provide valuable nap time, given enough desperation it can also provide additional study time. If you’re lucky enough to find a seat, pack portable study materials such as single textbooks, cue cards, old tests or handouts. Remember most transit options don’t provide Wi-Fi, so download or print any online materials in advance of your trip. Furthermore, follow basic transit etiquette, maintaining a quiet voice if you speak your notes aloud and internalizing any self-loathing or doubt. As someone who enjoys tuning into strangers’ conversations—the stupider the better—I recommend listening to lyric-free music as you study.