Achieving a Better Task Management by Students

The life of a today’s student is often presented as a carefree series of parties and meetings with friends, but even if it is not the complete lie, one day it will be interrupted by exams. At this time (and for someone throughout the whole semester), students are loaded with a huge pile of tasks, reports, presentations, and research which are supposed to be done “yesterday”. It may be difficult even to keep in mind all these duties, not to say about organizing everything in the best way, managing time and meeting deadlines.

A great number of student are being expelled from universities for “low academic performances” every year. In other cases, the students manage to pass everything on time, but the quality of work and the knowledge gained are no longer at their best. And the matter is not only (or not always) in the low productivity and responsibility of the students. Many of them begin to work during their studies to pay for education and raise money for living. Some students even have own families and children. Of course, this and other difficulties in a student’s life don’t justify poor academic results, especially since there are enough ways to improve the situation.

So the question of optimizing the educational process and effective time planning is relevant for most students. Here’s where a task management tool can be useful.

Keeping all your notes together

The first benefit of such a tool is its ability to improve your workspace. Constant change in project requirements is not only a common feature of your future customers and clients. Some of teachers and professors are also prone to this, so get used to this right now. But even unchangeable things don’t have to be kept in mind. Paper notes can be lost, or you just forget what this or that note refers to. In addition, tasks in the process of studying can be repeated, but it becomes difficult to store all the data during 5–6 years if only it is not well organized, grouped and sorted. A task management tool lets you find a necessary information in years and keep it always systematized.

Time management

Time management is definitely not a better side of students. Surely, you have repeatedly looked for ways to improve your productivity, manage more things, spend less time on tasks. It may seem obvious, but you should just start planning. Make a list of tasks. Divide them into subtasks. Group and filter in the execution order. This will help you to cover and take into account the entire scope of work. Already subconsciously you will start planning your time better. Besides, with a list of tasks, you can track progress, and that really helps to increase productivity — when you have a lot of voluminous tasks and you don’t feel progress, motivation and efficiency are falling. When making a list, you can remember a lot of important details of upcoming work, and this is important for the next step — estimation of all your tasks. Try to take into account the Parkinson’s law while estimating tasks.

Group projects and cooperation

Group projects are the necessary part of your studying process. If you have chosen the right specialty, such projects can give you a valuable experience. The main things you need to learn are collaboration in a team, distribution of responsibilities, communication and the achievement of a common goal. The right collaborative environment is the first step to success. Students can be quite unorganized, have little free time, live in different parts of the city, have a lot of personal and financial problems which will distract them from their studies. If you manage to organize such a team and make a good project, in the future you will be able to cope with any other team.

Criteria of choice

Given the above, a task management tool is indispensable for most students, though not every software will be a good choice. First of all, let’s specify the most important criteria for students.

Free or low cost

No explanation required. You will certainly find a better way to spend your money. Even if you are ready to pay for a task management app for yourself, don’t forget about your possible future teammates who will use it with you. Especially since there are enough excellent free solutions.

Flexibility, any number of users and projects

Some project management tools are conditionally free. I mean, their free version has so many limitations that it would be cheaper to buy another paid software. Look for a tool without restrictions on the period of free usage, a team size, and a number of projects, and so on. Today you’re preparing a project with Alex but in two days you understand you can’t do anything without James so you will need to expand your team. Many project management tools offer different tariff plans for a different size of a team — try not to depend on this property.

Minimum bureaucracy

As a student, you will probably use this task management tool just on your own for personal convenience. Don’t let your software be too complex and demanding on you. Many features of a typical management tool will be a hindrance, complicating the task management process. Don’t be fooled by the huge number of unnecessary features that you won’t use in the near future. Choose the software that you really need and like. A lot of difficult functions lead to the more complex workflow, extra steps to achieve the goal and less time for the study itself.

Maximum openness and awareness

Don’t forget that studying at the university includes a huge number of joint tasks. And it’s not just about group projects. You may need the help of classmates on your personal project, you may want to share your results with friends, or simply distribute some complex individual tasks “according to skills and abilities” among many students. For example, you’re helping your friend with math which you are good in, while he is doing your history report. In any case, a task management tool lets you work together with a team of students, staying up to date with the last changes.

Simple interface, minimum steps to do anything

People are lazy, and students are doubly lazy. A task management tool must simplify your workflow, not complicate it with additional steps and duties. Many creators of task management tools will say you that their solutions are designed according to a certain methodology which is aimed to improve your productivity. However, if your application requires too much efforts from you, you will most likely stop using it in a couple of days. A good tool, like a good design, should be imperceptible.

Potential future extensibility

Now you’re going to use the software just for study, but already in some months you may become a freelancer or gather your own team and launch a startup. Your needs will grow and maybe you should look for a task management tool with the growth prospects and the expandability. For example, it can be a basic set of features with many plugins or bots for additional functionality if you once need any. Pay attention to young projects that will grow with you. Be professional, don’t start using paper notes, Excel, or Google Docs for managing your workflow — get used to a proper tool right away, and when you get a job, you will already have experience with an appropriate software.

Task management with Riter

Taking the aforesaid, Riter is a good choice for individuals and groups of students. Here you can create a separate project for each subject or university course and archive it when the course is finished. If you have several related subjects (and you probably do), unite the appropriate projects into a group and work with all their tasks together (you will still be able to work with the projects separately).

Add other students and teachers to a project when necessary to show temporary results of your work. You can work together with your classmates, and teachers can track your current progress, add corrections and comments. Create todos within tasks (in the description of a task or the comments to it) to explain what you’re working on, divide the task between students, or just not forget anything.

Add topics (keywords) to simplify navigation and search throughout tasks in the future. Estimate and track time spent on tasks if you need. Ignore all features you don’t want to use — they’re optional. Use task states to visualize your progress and facilitate the use of the application. Comments to tasks can be used to attach documents, screenshots, make notes on tasks, or discuss work with your teammates. Both comments and task description fields support markdown formatting.

And yes, Riter is free and will remain so in the foreseeable future. We’re going to add the following features soon:

  • notifications;
  • integration with third-parties services.

Also, if you’re a developer, you can test your skills and use our GraphQl API to expand existing capabilities. Feel free to contact our support team for any questions. Visit the demo company to see Riter in use.

Originally published at riter.co.

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