I am a second year medical student going into third year and the one question I always get asked is, “How do you have time to do everything?” When people ask me this question, I always shrug and think to myself ‘surely what I do is what the average medical student does?’ Well, obviously not!
On top of being a medical student I work 10 hours a week as a swimming teacher, I volunteer with organisations such as Baby Basics, Widening Participation Medics Network and In2Med School Mentoring Programme, as well as taking part in netball training, socialising with friends and spending time with loved ones. When I write it all down in a list it does seem a lot more than I first thought!
Everyone says time management is so important and I 100% agree with that. Balancing your time effectively between all your different activities is vital to succeed when studying medicine. I have implemented good time management skills with various different strategies over the last few years, with my favourite skill being creating a daily schedule. To find what strategies have worked for me it has taken a lot of trial and error. I find it helpful to create the schedule the night before as plans can change if you create it too far in advance. However, creating it in the morning before you start your day means I take valuable time out of the day to complete this task.
Obviously, I have found this works best for me but could be slightly different for others! I have always found inputting the planned activities into the schedule first is most helpful, for example my swimming lessons, lectures or Netball training. I consider planned activities as activities which have to be done at a certain time. After these have been inputted I can see the ‘spare’ time I have left throughout the day which can be filled with revision, socialising or other forms of exercise. A daily schedule works best for me and I'd say give it a go. If it doesn’t work quite as well, you could instead create a list of all the activities you need to complete in a day or set goals that you would like to achieve.
Time management is one of those life skills that is incredibly important to master and I definitely wouldn’t say I have mastered it yet! I think one thing might work for one person but will not necessarily work for another person. Overtime as your routine, habits and priorities change so will your time management strategies!
Written by Emily Hagan