One approach to time management is to increase speed of learning, whether it is listening to audio lectures or reading textbooks. Another approach is to find unutilised time like reading textbooks or listening to lectures while on the train or bus on the way to work. Let me share what I did in my first semester of law school:
The first semester of law school was adjustment period. I enrolled to only two subjects just to see how the workload is, while juggling full-time work. Once you get the hang of it, then you can adjust how many units you take the following semester or year. As I progressed through law school, my reading speed increased partly because my legal vocabulary increased. I also watched and read about speed reading and came up with my own modification. You have probably heard or read about it but the following techniques worked for me:
- Know the unit that you are taking. Do a google search of what it is about, so you have very broad idea of what it involves and what other topics are related to it. Some of these related topics may actually be topics that you already know. Go through the unit guide and review what topics are covered throughout the semester and how long it will take the lecturer to cover all of them
- Now that you have established the framework of the unit from step 1, map a diagram (Tony Buzan called this Mind Map) similar to a Gantt chart (scheduling tool) of how long each topic will take to study. Just estimate based on your knowledge or lack of knowledge about the topic. Mark the ones that you think will be difficult or will require more time.
- Go and find the chapters of the textbook for each topic from the unit guide. Read the summary or conclusion twice. Do not start reading the chapter especially if you don’t have a good existing knowledge about the topic. Skip the blurb, foreword or introduction, table of contents. The unit guide provided by the lecturer is the one that you should follow, not the book's. That’s the purpose of the unit guide which is also refined every year based on previous years’ feedback from students.
- Speed-read. Now, you can read a whole heap of text or watch videos about speed reading but the main idea behind it is to utilise all the untapped capacities you may have that you’re not aware or conscious about. For example, the use of your peripheral vision which is basically seeing or reading from the corner of your eye. Also, the use of your existing knowledge about a topic and writing them down before you start reading. Another way to increase your speed is to write down the things that you already know about a topic even if they are vague or just terms that you may have a vague idea of what they mean.