“I just don’t have the time”.”There just isn’t enough time in the day”.At some point in our lives we have all found ourselves making the above the statements.
Lets be honest! The hardest thing to do is plan and manage our time. Some of us are compulsive planners (So all we get done is planning). While some of us live in the plan free-zone (We just don’t see the need to plan). Yet time is our biggest obstacle when things don’t get done.
Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
This is so true, but knowing how to plan effectively is just as important.So here are some guidelines
Prioritise your tasks (very important).
Decide which tasks are most important and should be completed first. What is important is not always urgent and what is urgent is not always important. When it comes to assignments choose what is urgent even when it’s less important.
Example: In a choice between reading for an essay due in four weeks or preparing an oral presentation in two weeks, choose to prepare the oral presentation
Plan, Plan, Plan!!!
Use long term and short term goals to direct your plans
1. Long term planning:
Use a yearly planner that will allow you to plan the semester ahead of time and allocate due dates. Also insert any other important commitments and make sure your calendar is in plain sight so that you have a constant reminder.
- Place the planner where you have easy access to it
- Fill in the important dates of when assignments are due and exams are scheduled.
- Allocate the amount of time each assignment or commitment will require. BE REALISTIC!
- Allow for extra workload. Assignments often pile up around the same dates. When this happens, be sure to start tasks even earlier than previously planned.
- Set start dates for each assignment AND stick to them!!!!
2. Short-term planning:
- Do not be misguided into thinking that studying is just about long 3 hour sessions. OH NO!
- Short time slots are just as necessary as long ones.
- Learning how to use time slots effectively will help you to be more productive with your time. Below is a guide on the different time slots and the type of task you can accomplish in each of them.
- Using the shorter time slots will shorten the longer tasks.
|Short time slots (15-30 minutes)||Medium time slots (1 hour or less)||long time slots (2-3 hours or more)|
Don’t leave it for the last minute
- Little tasks form part of the bigger picture so get going straight away. Start somewhere, anywhere, just start. DON’Tput it off!
- This is your life. You decide the amount of time you invest in your studies. Put your life into perspective and remember why you are doing what you are doing.
- There are soooo many reasons why we delay tasks. Below are some common reasons and solutions to help youSTOP DELAYING.
|Reason for delaying||Solution|
|Feeling overwhelmed -The workload seems too much. All you seem to do is freeze. You don’t know where or how to start.||
|Procrastination – That word we all know too well. Its time to get cracking, but you always finding something else to do||
|Need for perfection – You are a perfectionist and if its not going to be perfect, you just can’t do it.||
|Daydreaming and drifting – So you have started but remaining focused is the problem||
|Throwing a pity party for yourself – You hate the module, the work is too much and too hard and you just want to throw in the towel||
How to chuck:
When to take breaks
- Don’t try to do everything in one go.
- After completing a certain chunk of work take a coffee break, a quick walk or anything that will take your mind off the current task for a little while.
- Commit yourself to only taking breaks when you have made some kind of progress. This can be anything from planning an essay to writing up 10% of an assignment or even completing an assignment.
Personalise your time management
- What commitments do you have in your life at the moment?
- What is the time required for each commitment?
- How much time can you offer to your studies?
- When is the best time for you to work on your studies? When can you concentrate best? Are you a night person or a morning person?
- What are the best conditions for you to work under? Do you prefer silence, soft music in the background or the noise of busyness all around.
- Where do you work best? Do you need to be in a learning environment such as a library, at a desk or in a comfy couch? WARNING! BEDS ARE USUALLY NOT A GOOD IDEA.
- Do you prefer working on one assignment at a time or several assignments at once?