Acing Your UX Bootcamp: How to Develop Atomic Habits That Drive Better Time Management

Think about coursework not just as a task, but as a habit you’re trying to build into your life. Excellent time management skills will help you achieve this.

Rudi Goddard
Rudi Goddard
Oct 6, 2021
Min Read

Completing a UX design bootcamp is a fun, exciting, and rewarding experience—but for many it can also be challenging to accomplish alongside other priorities. Whether it’s working a full-time job, pursuing a side hustle, caring for family members, being a full-time student, or simply maintaining mental health and prioritizing self care, we all have a lot going on at any given time. 

Developing excellent time management skills can help you succeed when trying to learn something new. Some people are naturally great at time management, and others have to actively learn how to manage their time well—the good news is that you can get better with practice. 

If you’ve tried other time management techniques and still feel like you’re falling short, we challenge you to think about your coursework not just as a task that you need to fit into your day, but as a habit you’re trying to build into your life. 

So, What Are Atomic Habits?

Atomic habits are incredibly useful when it comes to time management and preparing for a UX bootcamp because they are all about helping you to set up frequent, but also small and easy steps to implement routines and practices. 

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear brings together research from the fields of biology, psychology, and neuroscience as well as anecdotes about some of the highest-achievers in disciplines like the arts, medicine, athletics, and business. He breaks down complicated ideas into simple strategies that help people build strong habits. One of the concepts threaded throughout the book is the idea that making small—but effective—changes can lead to big results.

In the spirit of Clear’s focus on atomic-size changes, we wanted to share how one research study cited in his book could help you improve your study habits.

Case Study: How Atomic Habits Work for UX

In 2001, researchers in Great Britain conducted an interesting study that showcased how motivation alone isn’t a strong enough factor to help people build new habits. Their research followed a group of people who all wanted to improve their exercise habits. 

They split the research participants into three groups:

  • Group 1 were simply asked to set a goal for the number of times they would exercise in a week.
  • Group 2 were asked to set an exercise goal and were then shown a serious video about the negative long-term health effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Group 3 were asked to set a goal, were shown the video, and then asked to take a few minutes to create a schedule for themselves that detailed when and for how long they would exercise in the coming week.

All three groups tracked their actual exercise and how it compared to their goal.

Now, you might think that the participants in group 2 would have performed moderately better than those in group 1, due to their increased motivation to live a healthier lifestyle. Surprisingly, though, participants in groups 1 and 2 performed similarly poorly at achieving their exercise goals. The people in group 3, though, were significantly more likely to perform well. 

In our experience of helping students to successfully complete UX courses, we have also found that those that take the time to create a schedule are also often the ones that get the most from our UX Academy program.

Developing Atomic Habits: How to Create a Schedule for your UX Coursework 

One of the key takeaways from this study is that creating a specific schedule for how and when you’ll perform a habit significantly helps with follow-through—and this certainly applies to learning new UX design skills. Here are our top three key takeaways to consider when putting together a schedule:

Break down events into manageable chunks of time 

Take 5 minutes at the beginning of each week to plan out exactly when you’ll complete your lessons, projects, mentor sessions, and Group Crits. Make sure you’re being realistic about how long you’ll need for each task. A good UX bootcamp provider will give you time estimates for each part of the curriculum. Invest time in researching these, or ask your instructor if you can't find them.

Schedule in coursework when your energy is at its peak

Also take into consideration how you’ll be feeling at the scheduled study time and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success based on how your energy fluctuates throughout the day. You probably wouldn’t schedule an hour-long workout for yourself right before bed, so chances are you might not be very motivated to study for an hour at that time either. 

Everyone has a different working style, so it is important to pick times when you know you’ll be able to concentrate and capitalize on feeling motivated. It can be useful to think about your experience of previous occupations or education. You may even want to keep a short journal of when you feel most productive to help you figure out when this will be for you.

Commit to creating a workable schedule

Finally, it’s important to plan out your study time so that you know exactly when and for how long you need to apply yourself to your coursework. You may even want to start a journal or a calendar which combines work, coursework, leisure, and other commitments all in one place. This can help to alleviate that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you “should really be doing something productive.”

Remember, it’s important to also plan in regular breaks and time to do the things that you enjoy. This will help you to prioritize the important things you have going on and reassure you that there’s still time to fit in other things you care about.

Getting the Time Management Download for Your UX Coursework

To help you follow the steps above, we created a free downloadable calendar to help you turn your coursework into a strong habit. You can save it to your desktop to edit digitally or print it out and update with ink each week. We recommend trying out the analog version—sometimes putting things in actual writing (not just in a digital file) feels more official.

Try planning out your coursework this week and see how it goes. We’re confident this new atomic habit will put you on your way to even greater success!

If you’re interested in signing up for a UX bootcamp, book a call to talk to an Admissions rep about how to fit UX Academy into your schedule.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

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Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.