How often do you wish there were 48 hours in a day? As a college student,you have just about five years at your disposal: three-four years at the Bachelor's level and two years at the postgraduate level.How you manage this limited span of time to allow for a variety of activities — balancing the multiple work pressures as you tackle the vast syllabus and class projects, preparing for college elections and activities and studying for internal and competitive exams — will determine whether you sink or sail.
Remember: The secret lies in how you utilise the time at hand. It's only the busy person who has time for everything. When we say that we have no time, it simply means that we are unable to manage our time properly. The fact is that if we take care of the minutes, the hours will take care of themselves.
In college as in life, you can't read everything, you can't do everything; you can't learn everything. Assigning the same priority to each task is to wind up with 40 tasks all tied for first call on your time. Who wouldn't like to participate in extra-curricular activities without losing focus of curricular tasks? But then there are assignments, homework, tutorials, self-study - you have to manage all these as well.
So what is the actual time available to a student in one academic year? Of the 8,760 hours in a year, you will spend roughly 900 in the classroom, 30 in taking exams and 90 on co-curricular activities. Knock off roughly 2,555 hours of sleep (seven hours per-day), about 730 hours for food and another 1,095 hours for personal relaxation, grooming and sundry chores, and you are left with barely 3,360 hours for study and personal development.
The challenge always with new plans and renewed motivation is time. Simply put, there's just not enough to go round.
Time management, is basically utilising the time at your disposal in the best possible way to strike a harmonious balance between your physical, social, emotional, intellectual and recreational activities.
While there's no formula, time management rests on three basic pillars — Understanding the value of time; Budgeting time judiciously; Focussing on the task at hand.
Here are 10 tips to help you manage your time more effectively:
Time is precious:
Time is unidirectional. Once lost, it's gone forever. It is therefore essential to value it as a limited and fleeting resource. Wasted time is one thing that can't be recycled.
Leverage your own time:
Look at how you spend time in a typical day. What can you stop doing, or do less of? If you use your time carefully, you will have more of it for things that make a difference.
Budget your time:
Even more than money,we need to budget our time judiciously. The art lies in laying down priorities for work, fixing minimum and maximum time slots for different activities and managing within the 24-hour day. Never close a week without planning a schedule for the next one. Prepare a daily time schedule. But do factor in minor adjustments. M a i n t a i n i n g re g u l a r i t y pays dividends.
Also, you can't possibly cut down on sleep, can you? A relaxed mind learns (and retains) far better and quicker than
one under tension. Make sure you budget some time for relaxation and exercise in your schedule, how so ever busy.
The early bird gets the worm:
An early start saves a lot of time. If possible, begin and complete your assignments and projects well in time to avoid undue tension. Don't wait till the very last moment to get cracking. Make ‘Defeat the Deadline’ your motto.
Table your intent:
Start by preparing a timetable. To draw up a schedule that will work for you, factor in your preferred style of study ie your ‘prime time’ (you will find that you function at your peak at a particular time, this is the best time to handle ‘tough’ tasks). Similarly, make a note of your average attention span. Only you know which learning method works best for you. Then, match your style with the course requirements. Each study period must
cover one learning objective. Ideally, it should not exceed beyond 90 minutes. Although individual attention spans can vary somewhat, research on learning patterns shows that the speed and effectiveness of learning changes with time. After about 25 minutes, the attention curve begins to dip.Teachers are aware of this and attempt to restart the curve every 20 minutes or so by introducing a new activity like asking a question or cracking a joke to liven things up and change the pace.
Create a learning environment:
An environment conducive to learning is useful. If you think you can sit or curl up anywhere and learn, you may be wrong. The most comfortable environment does not necessarily promote learning. The best environment is one where you feel motivated, alert and reasonably comfortable to study.
Jot it down:
How often do we find ourselves mumbling, "If only I could remember…" The simple solution to this problem is to always carry a pencil and paper with you. The moment you get a unique idea or you hear something noteworthy — just scribble it down, and file it where it is easily accessible. This is an absolute time saver!
Watch out for potential time-wasters:
Lack of selfdiscipline, idling, daydreaming, procrastinating (putting off or postponing unpleasant or difficult tasks), focusing on trivia, aimless channel surfing or browsing the Net are some of the most notorious time wasters to avoid. They surreptitiously whittle away at time without you even realising it.
Prioritise your interests.
There are just that many hours in a day. Its better to concentrate on a few select interests and hone them to perfection instead of trying to dabble in a large number of activities that leave you exhausted and unsatisfied.
Despite all the planning and determination, you may, at times, find that you are unable to stick to your schedule. At such times, seek help from someone close to you. Discuss your goals and enlist their help in helping you stick to your schedule.
Time management is a 'skill' and, an 'art' that we can develop through careful practice. And the sooner we start the better.
Remember you have the same 24 hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci or Albert Einstein. It's how you use it that makes the difference.