An Apologetic Guide to Time-Management (Aimee)
Salutations to all my lovely (and I should say: shamefully abandoned!!) readers!
Now, you know the drill… I give you a friendly greeting, faff on about some recent event, conclude with the moral-of-the-day (a bit like Sesame St!) and everything is all lindt balls and roses – happy-happy joy-joy!
Except today, I’m making a change. *Gasp!!!*
As you probably know, I never give out study-tips. Mostly, because I can’t get through a blog about them without snoring. Also, I’m scared that if something I suggest fails, I will be accosted on South Lawn by a mob of angry uni students, waving their Macbook Pros at me in frustration. Please note: there is no one-size-fits-all for study strategies.
HOWEVER… It’s come to my attention that lots of people (and I used to be one of them) complain that they don’t have time to do what they love and are mutating into sleep-deprived caffeine addicts with cauliflower-cheese for brains. So, I’ve decided to give you a post about time-management… don’t hate me!!
First, let’s discuss the organisation commandments…
1.THOU SHALT REMEMBER TO PRIORITISE
When people say they don’t have time to do X, Y, Z, it’s usually waffle! (Unless you’re the parent of a 2 year old… in which case, I believe you!) ‘I don’t have time’ really translates to ‘It’s not one of my priorities’. A big part of organisation is choosing the things you want to focus on and focusing on them!
2.THOU SHALT NOT FORGET TO HAVE A KIT-KAT (A.K.A. A BREAK)
Yep, breaks are essential… and not just while studying! Any activity which requires physical/mental exertion should be followed by a break. A good idea is to create a break hierarchy. Then, reward yourself every time you’re super-productive with your favourite activity. (That said… please don’t turn breaking into astro-physics!)
3.THOU SHALT DISCOVER WHETHER THOU ART TIME-ORIENTED OR TASK-ORIENTED
Some people like to study in 30-minute chunks with a 5-minute break in between. This means they are time-oriented. (Hoorah!) Personally, I can’t work like this. I like to see a whole task through before I move on. Hence, I am task-oriented. I organise my study based on ‘amount of tasks completed’. Working out whether you are time-oriented or task-oriented will help you to organise yourself. (It will also help you decide whether to buy an expensive stop-watch!)
4.THOU SHALT HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH DAY (IF THOU LIKES)
This is a contentious one. I know that, without one day of doing absolutely nothing, I go bonkers. You, however, are not me. (Really!) If you would like one/several mental health days, you are absolutely entitled to them. If not, that’s fine, too.
And now we come to some actual strategies…
Remember, these work really well for me… but they might not for you. Chop and change at will!
1.USE A CALENDAR
On my window-sill I keep a desk-calendar where I record deadlines for assignments, people’s birthdays, library due-dates, etc. If you’re better at technology than I am (highly likely!) you may use your phone.
2.WRITE A TO-DO LIST
That’s right! To-do lists are where it’s at! Pick a day (preferably Saturday or Sunday) to write down everything you need to do in the next week. (If you’re unsure – consult your calendar!) This includes things like laundry, exercise and taking your hamster for a walk. Then plan when you’re going to do it. Try to distribute things evenly (a maximum of 8 tasks per day) and not over-commit yourself. (Climbing Everest and finishing an assignment on the same day might be overstepping the mark!) The trick here is to be specific – instead of writing ‘finish assignment’, break it into smaller steps, like ‘brainstorm,’ ‘plan,’ ‘write,’ ‘edit’. That way, you know how much grunt-work is required.
3.FOR EVERY DAY – A PRIORITIES BOX
Draw up a 2×2 grid like the one below. Now, start filling in the boxes with all the tasks you need to get done. All done? Now you can get cracking on today’s list – starting with all the urgent and important tasks, followed by urgent and unimportant, and so on and so forth! Whichever ones you don’t get done can be put off until you have time.
Now, I can already hear the hysterical wails: “I barely have time for breathing! How am I supposed to make time for writing all these darned lists!?” Well, this is the wonderful thing about organisation: the more time you put in, the more time you gain.
And that’s the end of the post! I hope you’re still awake (somewhat) and have gained some valuable insights into the tricky business of time-management. Now, I am off to enjoy some well-deserved DVD bingeing…