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OUTATIME: Why Students Don’t Need to Be

By Tim Boundy

OUTATIME” (Out of Time) is the plate number of the DeLorean time machine from the famous Back to the Future movie trilogy, and also a feeling many students can strongly relate to. As project deadlines and exams draw near, it is easy for students to feel as though they have no time left. However, being out of time is not a feeling which students need to have and this article will explain how following just three simple steps can help reduce the stress of being out of time.




Step one is setting goals. Without clear goals nobody has any direction and this is especially true in academic studies. Students should first create a list of tasks which need to be achieved and the relevant timelines. It’s very important to physically list these tasks as it is easy to forget things or mix up information, and when they are complete the crossing off of these tasks usually provides a sense of achievement. Once clear goals have been set and timelines or timeframes added, students can then begin to prioritize their work. The key here is to begin early as rushing inevitably leads to poor performance and contributes to stress. In general, starting most things early is like insurance – as we never know how long certain tasks may take, it allows us room for error.





The second step is to be realistic. Students need to set realistic timeframes for their work and to set reasonable time controls on their study. A nice guide it to study hard for 40 minutes and then take a five-minute break, then repeat. This allows students the time to continually refresh themselves during extended study sessions. This system requires students to break their tasks into small chunks of work, and to focus on the current chunk and not the whole task which may be overwhelming and subsequently counterproductive. By focusing on the current sub-task at hand, students can give their work the attention it needs and make the most of the time they invest in completing their study.





The third step for students to follow is to reward themselves. Working something like ‘24/7’ is rarely productive and at the same time laying on the sofa all day will not help students pass exams. The challenge is to find a happy medium through appropriate planning and sticking to a schedule. Sticking to a schedule will help students fall into a routine which suits them and helps them to get the most out of their time. Part of this schedule, however, must include some break or holiday time. Simple ‘days off’ or just putting away all electronic devices for a period of time can do wonders to help refresh and re-energize the minds of hard-working university students. This is especially important after long periods of intense study (such as in exam time), and will help instill a solid regime of study when it matters.


In conclusion, the best way to not end up out of time is for students to effectively manage themselves. 


1) Setting clear goals, with 

2) Realistic steps, and then 

3) Appropriate rewards on completion are sure to keep students from being OUTATIME, then they can focus on driving at 88 mph… or not!