Managing Time in Law School

time management

Please welcome guest writer Alexa Galloway, a current 2L in the San Francisco Bay area! Today, Alexa shares with us some practical tips for time management in law school.

Time is always of the essence in law school, and how you spend it can determine your success. Below are some ideas on how to utilize time to your advantage.

Control Your Screen Time

There are countless apps both for computer and cell phone that can track how much time you spend on your device or on a particular website, like Facebook. Using these apps can help you evaluate where your time is going and lets you determine if you need a change.

For example, I downloaded “Moment,” an app on my phone that lets me track how long I’m on my phone each day. The first day I used it, the app said I was on it for five hours. The thought that three hundred minutes of my day were spent just staring at my phone was an alarming statistic that helped me change how I spend my time each day.

Analyze Your Study Habits

Analyzing your study habits early will help you work more efficiently, which will save you time throughout the semester. To analyze your study habits, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Where do I study best?

I prefer a coffee shop because I grew up in a house of six and work best with soft noise in the background, but I have friends who prefer to be in the basement of the library because they need complete silence to focus. Finding what works for you will mean testing out multiple places, and the earlier you find your spot, the more you can focus solely on your studies.

What distracts me?

If you’re like me and your phone is glued to your hand most hours of the day, make sure it is out of sight when studying. For example, when I go to the library I’ll keep my phone in my car or zipped up in my backpack. For others, limiting your distractions may mean silencing email notifications on your computer. Whatever it is, once you eliminate distractions, you’ll be a more efficient studier.

What study method is working for me?

Initially, I thought it’d be best to only study on my own, but I found that reviewing with a couple classmates a few days before finals was an incredibly effective use of my time. Understanding how you learn information best can help you get the most out of your study time.

Additionally, try to figure out what best helps you grasp the information you’re learning as you’re learning it. Does it help to read a treatise on the subject before you read the cases? Do you like to outline right after class or only on Sundays? Finding out what works best when you study will only help you study more effectively.

Create a Schedule

Creating a schedule was one of the most important changes I made during my first year of law school that affected my GPA for the better. Scheduling out your weeks keeps you accountable and helps you find a balance. Keeping a balance is important to help you stay productive. It will also make you feel accomplished—whether it’s finishing that last section of your Contracts reading or the last episode of Silicon Valley you missed two Sundays ago.

Your schedule should include your classes, club meetings, and certain periods of the day that you plan on studying, but should also include your lunch breaks and other easy going activities (my one hour scheduled nap every other day makes me feel less guilty and more like I’m just checking off a box on my to-do list.)

Take care of Yourself

Getting the right amount of rest is the best way to keep your mind sharp and your concentration and focus levels high. Along with sleep, staying active and eating well will give your brain a chance to recharge and process new information to ensure your study time was productive. Whether it’s parking in the structure a block farther away from school or turning down that red velvet cupcake for celery and peanut butter—these little changes can help make you feel better and focused on the task at hand.

Say No

It’s easy to come out strong your first year and want to be involved in every group and attend every social event. While you should get involved, create a limit for yourself. Additionally, it’s important to maintain a life for yourself outside of law school, but your non-law student friends won’t always understand that you can’t go to brunch with them on a Saturday because you have to study for Torts. It’s okay to be selfish and take time for yourself.

Whatever you decide, how you spend your time in law school correlates with how you perform come finals. Make adjustments early so you aren’t scrambling the last month.


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About Alexa Galloway

Alexa has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Boston University and is a current law student in the Bay area. Before attending law school, she worked as a field reporter for the BU soccer team and as a sports broadcaster in the Cape Cod Baseball League. When not studying, Alexa is thinking about how she really needs to be studying.

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