By Titilayo Tinubu • April 16, 2013•Curriculum and Classroom Dynamics
It’s that time of year. Students are walking faster in the hallways. Faces are visibly more frazzled. We are all dealing with the fact that no matter how hard we tried to keep up during the semester, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.
Since we all get the same 24 hours, the key to keeping it zen during finals is making better decisions about where and how we spend our time. Here are 10 simple life hacks that will save you time during finals season and give you more freedom to focus on studying during the final stretch:
1. Say no—often.
People often ask me how I have time to write a book, run a business, and manage a blog while I’m in law school. Simply put, I’ve gotten really good at saying no. If you're looking for the right words to decline a request for your time or energy, Twitter exec Claire Díaz-Ortiz recently wrote a great post on 50 Ways to Say No.
2. Hire someone on Fiverr to do micro tasks for you.
If you haven’t heard of Fiverr, it’s an online community where you pay people to do things for you for five bucks. Need a fresh pair of eyes on a paper you’re writing? A Fiverr member will proofread and edit 2,000 words for $5. Don’t have the time to listen back to all of your recorded class lectures? A Fiverr member will transcribe a 10-minute audio for $5.
3. Become a uniform dresser.
Jackie O. Janelle Monáe. Harrison Wright. Olivia Pope. Jay-Z. Betsey Johnson. These folks are what you call “uniform dressers”—they generally wear the same silhouette and just switch it up with accessories or different colors from time to time.
While you don’t want to completely let yourself go during finals, you can take a few shortcuts to being fashionable without being fussy. Sacrifice creativity for three weeks and create a uniform. It’ll save you time.
4. Work from upperclassmen’s course outlines.
Outlining can be a time suck, but it doesn’t have to be. If your school’s honor code allows it, work from an outline that someone has already created instead of starting from scratch.
5. Ditch the commercial outlines.
The course supplement industry feeds off of anxious law students' fears. I thought I needed every supplement on earth during 1L year, and it just wasn’t true. With the exception of a few, most commercial outlines cause more problems and waste more time than not. It is very likely that you will only be tested on what your professor taught you. So focus on mastering the syllabus, and you’ll be well on your way.
6. Eat healthy meals that you can prepare quickly.
It’s easy to get caught in the trap of eating out during finals because you’re on the go. Unfortunately, this can lead to unhealthy choices that drain your energy and affect your productivity.
Thankfully, stores like Trader Joe’s have quick and easy meals that won’t strain your student budget. My favorites from TJ's frozen food aisle are: Vegetable Pad Thai, Spicy Penne Arrabiata (Vegan), and Vegetable Curry with Coconut Rice. These meals cost around $4--far less than you would spend at most fast food restaurants.
7. Activate Internet blocking software.
Let's face it, Facebook can be a huge time suck. But no worries; there's help. Several applications allow you to block your computer's access to specific websites during particular hours. I’ve used StayFocsd, and I’ve heard good things about Freedom.
8. Have a trusted friend deactivate your Facebook account and change your password.
Need I say more?
9. Automate your social networking.
If you must use social media for business or some other important reason, then use a site like BufferApp to schedule and automate your posts.
10. Don’t answer every email right away.
Most emails can wait. So let them. Alexandra Franzen wrote this great blog post on how to get less email.
By the way, there's no rule that says that autoresponders are only for office email accounts. Consider setting up an autoresponder for your personal email account that says something like:
“I’m currently in the midst of finals season and will not be checking email regularly. If your email requires a prompt response, please call me at [your number]. Otherwise, I will respond to your email as soon as my schedule allows.”
What other tips do you have for simplifying your life during finals time? Let me know in the comments section below.
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Titilayo Tinubu is founder of JD Job Coach and author of The Go-Getter’s Manifesto: How Law Students Can Start Taking Career Matters Into Their Own Hands. Click here to download your free copy of The Go-Getter’s Manifesto. Follow Titilayo on Twitter @jdjobcoach.