I think it’s fair to say that you could ask any law student if time management has been a challenge while in law school, and he or she would agree that it is. Managing your time while in a grueling curriculum and worrying non-stop about grades, extracurriculars, and interviews—it’s a lot to take on. Some people excel at it, however, so it can definitely be done. Here are some tips from some of those experts on how to go about managing your time in law school to ensure success and a bright future as a lawyer.
By the time you get to law school, you have at least four years of higher education under your belt, and many people have even more (like David Kidney, my personal favorite side-character in Legally Blonde, who has a Master’s and a PhD before he even arrives at Harvard Law School). This is to say, you probably have a general idea of what works for you, study-wise. For example, I have never been a night-owl, so all-night cram sessions never worked for me. But I could go to sleep and get up extra early in the morning and hit the books with much more success. Knowing your own body and brain and knowing what already works for you is a great starting point when you’re entering law school. Law school is different than your undergraduate program, so you’ll have to adjust in order to get all of the work done. But it’s always good to know where to start.
Analyze Your Current Study Habits, and Alter as Necessary
Take a week and track your study habits. If you say you’re studying for four hours in the evening, are you really studying for that entire time? Do you become distracted by things online or in your surroundings? How long does it take you to read and absorb a page of a textbook, or a page of a brief? All of this information is going to help you build a schedule that you can stick to while you’re in law school (see below). One of the best ways I’ve seen it put is that you should treat law school like a full-time job with billable hours. If you’re not hitting your quota of hours needed to get the work done, do some analysis on your habits and figure out why. That is the first step to finding a solution to the issue of time management that works for you.
Make a Study Plan, and Stick with It
Using what you know about yourself and the knowledge you’ve learned about your own study habits, create several study plans for yourself that you can stick to. First, make a weekly plan that looks at what is due during that week, what longer-term assignments or outlining needs to be done, what reading needs to be done, and what blocks of time are not available. Block out the time it will take you to do your reading and your outlining, along with any other assignments. Then, create a semester-long study plan that takes into account the long-term assignments, the exam dates, the total amount of outlining, and make sure that each weekly plan fits inside it. One way to go about keeping track of your studying is through a bullet journal. While many bullet journals that are pictured online are elaborate and full of colored graphics and calligraphy, the basic idea is a way to keep track of your days, weeks, months, and year. This is a way to keep your study plans with you in a small notebook, as well, and a place where you can track your nutrition and sleep, so that nothing derails your study plans.
Leave Time for Self-Care
With all of this planning, make sure that you schedule time to keep yourself healthy and happy, as well. Account for study breaks, and be willing to alter your study schedule if you need to look at a different topic for a while. Your body knows what you need, and while it’s easy to ignore during stressful times, it won’t help you in the long run to do so. Make sure you eat the proper number of meals in a day, and try to get at least seven hours of sleep at night. You’ll feel better, which will allow your brain to run at its full capacity.
There is more to time management than it may seem on the outset. While a lot of it has to do with focus and keeping yourself on track, some of it has to do with how your body and brain are wired and whether or not you are fueling yourself properly. Taking care of yourself is just as important as putting in the actual hours of studying, and it’s all about balance. If you’d like more tips on how to manage time, see here. Good luck!
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And check out these helpful posts:
- A New Time Management Technique I am Trying
- How to Calendar Your Way to Better Grades and More Free Time
- Study Tools That Just May Change Your Life
- Dealing With Law School Time Regret
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