How to Use Time Efficiently in IB

Many people struggle with time management in the IB due to the high workload, and people often can’t seem to find enough time in the day to complete all their tasks (and hopefully have leisure time left over). This can often be a source of stress and hurt grades, which only brings on more stress and creates a vicious cycle. In order to escape from this cycle of never having enough time, we have compiled some times in the day that are perfect to get work done efficiently, but that are often overlooked or not used to their full extent. Taking advantage of these times can allow you to stop working very late at night and hand in your assignments in time.

1. Free periods

Many people in the IB have free periods in their timetables, spots where they do not have class between 8:00 to 16:30. When these free periods are in the middle of lessons and people are already in school, most students tend to use that time to study (which is a very effective tool). However, there are several study periods that are underused, notably the ones that are at the very beginning or the very end of the day. Since students don’t have class either before or after these free periods, they often choose to spend them at home, either sleeping in or taking a break before doing some work later on in the afternoon. Our recommendation is to come to school early (if you have study periods in the morning) or to stay in school late (if you have them in the afternoon). If you make yourself present at school, you are removing the temptation of sleep and Netflix, and you will be more motivated to work. By doing this throughout the entire school year, you are adding hours and hours of effective time to study, prepare and do homework, which will be invaluable in the IB. In addition, these times are specifically made for you to work in, so you will not be taking up any of the time you wanted to spend getting a good sleep schedule or performing extra-curricular activities.

2. Mornings on the Weekend

The weekends are definitely the time to sleep in, and get some rest after a long week. It’s very important to give yourself the proper time to rest and to relax, otherwise you might get burnt out, and your physical and mental health will suffer. However, if you find yourself sleeping till after 11:00 on both Saturday and Sunday, there might be a deeper problem. If you are genuinely tired, you might need to reevaluate your sleep schedule during the week, and go to bed at times that are more healthy for you. If, on the other hand, you sleep in simply because of laziness and a want to relax at the end of the week, there is something you could do about that. Instead of sleeping in both days of the weekends, you might want to consider waking up 1 or 2 hours earlier (around 9:00 or 10:00 instead of 11:00) on one day of the weekend -- for example Sunday. This will give you time in the morning to work, where your brain is the most rested and the most prepared to receive and retain information. In addition, taking this time to study in the morning will alleviate the time you need to study at night, and it is much healthier for you to be studying (relatively) early rather than quite late.

3. Motivating Yourself to Find Time to Work

Another aspect that many people struggle with is not simply finding the time to work, but rather finding the motivation to fill that time with effective working. In order to motivate yourself, you might want to give yourself a reward if you complete the work -- for example, you could work for 2 hours and then treat yourself to a movie. Another tactic is to make study groups, and organise time when you can study with your friends. This works in two ways -- firstly, there are other people there to hold you accountable for not showing up or not studying, and secondly, the experience of studying will seem more enjoyable if you are doing it with friends. Lastly, if you are really not motivated to work, then there might be a problem with how you are currently working. If you find yourself being very opposed to working, it could mean that you are working in non-ideal conditions: is your room always noisy when you study? Do you study somewhere that isn’t clean? Are you always distracted (by the tv, your siblings…) when you try to sit down? These might be some of the reasons why you never find time to work. In order to become more motivated, you need to think down and truly think about how you could solve those problems (perhaps by studying in school more or at a local library rather than your house).

All the luck in finding the time to study efficiently!