If you’re doing the IB, you have probably already realised that it is hectic, and that you are crazy busy. In between doing IAs (all of which seem to be due at the same time), CAS, as well as studying for those upcoming half yearly exams, and trying to find time for yourself and your friends, you’ve got it pretty full on.
Already, you’ve probably figured out that better time management is something that you need to start embracing, but with so much going on, how on earth do you start?
Having a life while doing IB seems to be some taboo idea, but here are some tips as to how you can make it happen: (granted though, you may need to put some aspects of your life on hold until these 2 years are over :/)
- Start planning your week – this could be in a diary or planner you carry around, or it could just be an excel document where you can block out times for CAS and yourself and fill in the things you want to get done as well as the number of hours you work each day.
- Use your planner in conjunction with a “to do list” – there are plenty of apps which allow you to do this, you can type it onto a word document, or hand write lists that you can subsequently check off. Divide it up into your subjects so you make sure that you cover everything you need, and then use different colours to categorise different activities. For example, study, homework, notes etc. This way you can immediately see what you need to prioritise and do first. It is also useful to put the due date down. Based off your to do list, you can put your activities into your planner, and voila, you’re already halfway there!
- Plan long term as well – I use the calendar on my laptop, where I can schedule assessments, appointments, extracurricular etc. and put them in different colours so I can see at a glance exactly what is happening. For example, all my assessments are marked in orange, so if I see massive blocks of orange on my calendar, I know I’m going to be super busy!! On the other hand, if I see that I don’t have much going on, I know I can schedule some more “me time”. This way you won’t get caught off guard and you’ll know exactly what is due when.
- Minimise procrastination – I know how distracting it can be when Facebook is just a click away, and your phone is buzzing just at arms reach. Many people would tell you to turn your phone off while you study, but as much as this is a great idea, I find it more useful to just put the phone out of your study area altogether (I mean, you can always just turn it back on again, it doesn’t get rid of the distraction!) For me, I leave my phone upstairs while I study downstairs, that way, I let my natural laziness prevent me from getting to it (stairs, urgh!). As for everything else, I find it useful to schedule blocks of study. This could be anything from 30mins to 2 hours, depending on your level of concentration. This way, you can promise yourself that you will get a solid block of study with NO interruptions, and then as soon as time is up, you can get right back onto social media etc. If you’re finding the self control difficult, maybe just get off the laptop altogether and put that in a different room. If you need it, try and get into a zone where you can work productively without thinking about what you’d like to be doing…this can be hard if you hate what you’re doing, but sometimes you have to JUST DO IT.
- Once you can start planning, stop procrastinating and start working and getting things done, you will find that you actually have a lot of time to spare. Think about it, (assuming you don’t study in the mornings), you spend 6-7 hours at school, leaving you 6 hours from 3-9pm to get your stuff done. I find that 2.5-3 hours of productive study is more than enough (if I’m working productively, I only need about 2), which still leaves you 3-4 hours for everything else (eating, showering, Facebooking…). Plus, you get more sleep.
Having a life in the IB is certainly doable. I never pulled an all nighter and didn’t work past 10pm in my time doing the IB, and still had plenty of time to myself.
Time management is a win in itself.