3 Steps to Managing Your Time in Med School
One of the most important lessons to succeed in medical school is learning how to manage your time properly. There is an enormous amount of material required to learn. The big question is how to make time to learn the material without sacrificing your sanity and sleep because it can be done. Everyone has 24 hours in day but if managed properly you will learn you can get more accomplished than you think. There are many other factors that also play a huge role in succeeding in medical but time management is definitely at the top.
The first step in managing your time is to create monthly schedules. The beginning of each quarter in medical school, each professor provides a syllabus that maps out the entire quarter. This is great because there are no surprises and you know exactly what is expected of you on the exams. You can create a schedule using a digital or paper planner to write out all of the important dates of exams and assignments. I use a combination of both Google calendar and a paper calendar. I use Google calendar to capture big picture items such as exam dates, assignment, meeting and my paper planner to plan out my daily schedule. Google calendar is great because you can set up alerts to remind you of important dates.
The second step is to plan out your weekly and daily schedule. Create an hourly time block for the week that includes the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. It a good ideas to try to create a routine of waking up and going to bed at the same time each day. Fill in all the “must do” items such class, meetings, grocery shopping, cooking and any other obligations. This will allow you to see how much time you actually have left each day. Now you can fill in study time, you will realize you have more time than you think. Don’t forget to add free time and exercise in your schedule.
The third step is to implement timed study sessions. Studying for 6 hours continuously is not realistic. Break your studying to smaller chunks. Study for three 40 minutes blocks with 5-10 break between each session. You can use a kitchen timer or apps such as Pomodro or Tide to keep track of your sessions. Studying in small chunks of time is more efficient that long periods of time. You will realize you will actually be able to grasp the material much better.
Jameelah Franklin is an Elsevier OnCampus Ambassador and 4th year medical student at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine