The art of time management
The natural approach to time is to take things as they come without a schedule or plan. But
is this possible? Right from nursery we are taught to do things on time - like playing and sleeping even to the extent of using bathroom on time. As we grow up in that environment we not only learn to manage studies but also extracurricular activities. After all that we even manage to fulfil our other obligations and home responsibilities. By the end of college we are so much into career that we don’t have time for anything. In the long run we have to manage our time well to achieve our goals. Here I don’t mean to say that you relinquish yourselves to all night sessions, cramming for exams and forgetting about time consuming activities like eating and sleeping. Life as a student can be very busy but, believe me, it doesn’t suddenly get easier when you leave your college or graduate. Here you learn how to balance college, work, fun and even family obligations by managing your time in a perfect way. You will find a plethora of techniques, tips, tricks and gimmicks some or all of which may work for you and some which may have to be adapted to your needs because you are the one responsible for creating your study system, not me. Study smarter not harder. Learning how to manage time is really a long-term process. Once you undertake the journey, you will be surprised at the number of landmarks, paths, side streets and road signs you will find.
These are some ways to manage time:
1. Many students prefer studying in a quiet environment, others may feel uncomfortable in a staff library and will like to study in their living room. So make your study schedule work for you and try to make it stricter or more flexible as per your needs.
2. For effective study, you must find the combinations of place and time that work for you. You may be a student who can study in a variety of locations, depending on the demands of your schedule. You can study in a doctor’s waiting room or while you are waiting for an appointment with a professor or, perhaps, in the bus station while you are waiting to pick up a bus.
3. While studying, sit on a comfortable chair though, perhaps, something not as relaxing as the living room sofa. And keep your textbooks, pencils and pens, calculator and other necessities within arm’s reach so that you can save your valuable time instead of searching for them during study periods.
4. Some people work better with a little music in the background and literally find it difficult to work when it is too quiet. It depends on you, if you feel that music is a positive influence in your study environment, go ahead and play it but remember that certain types of music are more conducive to studying than others.
5. As far as possible, create a routine time of day for your studying. Some experts say that doing the same thing at the same time every day is the most effective way to organise any ongoing task. So study when you are at your best.
6. Find a small group of four to six like-minded students and share notes together. Try to select students who are at least as clever, committed and serious as you, that will encourage you to keep up and challenge you a bit.
7. Construct a goal pyramid. Centred at the top of a piece of paper, write down what you hope to ultimately gain from your education. Below your long-range goals, list mid-range milestones or steps that will lead you to your eventual target. For example, if your long-range goal were to become a doctor your mid-range goals might include going to college, taking a
science course and working in the laboratory. The process of creating your own goal pyramid will motivate you towards working in your daily and weekly tasks with more energy and enthusiasm.
8. Turn your failures into successes. Failures are just as valuable experiences as successes, in fact, they may well be more valuable. What was one of the first lessons you learned in your life? Not to touch a hot stove, not to put your cat in the washing machine, not to leave your talking doll out in the rain. How did you discover these profound truths? Probably the hard way. But you learned from these experiences, these ‘failures’. Similarly, you can learn from the every failure and then turn it into a success.
9. Make a to do list. First, you must identify everything you need to do this week. Look at your project board and/or term calendar to determine what tasks need to be completed this week for all your major college projects. If your current routine consists of a meal on the run and sleep wherever you find it, build the assumption into your schedule that you are going to get eight hours of sleep and three decent meals a day. You may surprise yourself and find that there is still enough time to do everything you do. Even if you tend to like longer blocks of study time, be careful about scheduling ‘study marathons’ - a six or eight hour stretch rather than a series of two-hour sessions. The longer the period you schedule, the more likely you will have to fight the demons of procrastination. Check out your daily schedule everyday either the night before or in the morning so that you will be able to respond to surprise changes in your schedule.