Time Management

The foundation for success!

You have a task or a goal you want to accomplish.  This could be a single task or a number of tasks that you need to take care of in a day or over a period of a few days.  Without a structured approach to these tasks you would be like a car spinning its tires on an icy road; there's a lot of effort being put into reaching a destination, but the vehicle, you, is virtually stuck in the same spot wasting gas.  To achieve your destination you must take all the known obstacles and conditions into consideration.  Allowances must also be made for the possibility of unknown conditions that will ultimately arise.  The best method or "plan" most successful in accomplishing goals is time management.  Time management is the appropriate use of and structuring of your time in order for you to maximize your time.  If you learn how to maximize your time, you will have ample time to successfully accomplish everything you need to and want to accomplish.  Accomplishments don't just happen; they are carefully planned for.

Professionals from all walks of life have written volumes on what are the best approaches to managing your time.  In every author's rendition there is one unanimous absolute rule – you must use a calendar on which to write a detailed, prioritized schedule.  For every author, there are that many views on what type of calendar you should use.  The important issue here is for you to use any kind of calendar you feel comfortable with, and one that will allow you to view a complete day on one page and enough room on that page to write concise directions.

Before going on this journey into the realm of time management, take a few minutes and complete the "Study Behavior Inventory".  Knowing where you are right now in your approach to your studying will enable you to design a workable schedule.  This assessment is just that, an assessment, not a test.  You are simply to answer "yes" or "no," but your answers must be honest.  This is for your benefit and no one else's.  Once you have finished, return to this page and continue with the next paragraph.

It's good to take a look at yourself once in a while!

How many questions did you answer yes?  How many no?  Research indicates that the most effective and successful college students answer no to all 25 questions (Brown, 1977).  It may be helpful as you think about your study behavior to review those items that you answered yes.  You might want to ask yourself how those particular behaviors affect your study effectiveness.  What does this have to do with "time management?"  As you probably noticed, there were a number of questions dealing with time, place, and amount of work accomplished.  These are directly related to how you manage and spend your time.  If you are spending a lot of time accomplishing very little, maybe you are day-dreaming too much, and not concentrating on the task at hand.  If this is the case, you are wasting time.  Time is like money, once it's spent, it's gone, – you won't have any more until next pay day, or in this case when the sun comes up.  If you find you are not able to get very far when studying, then maybe you are not allowing for enough time.  So you see, it is a combination of many aspects all of which revolve around time; the amount of time you spend, when you spend it, where you spend it, and how you spend it.  Keep this next statement in the for front of your mind: A procrastinator spends twice as much time and energy accomplishing half as much as someone who organizes his/her time.

Does getting organized involve work?  YES!  What does it take to get organized?  It takes discipline, dedication, drive, determination, desire, practice, and a lot of patience and consistency.  These attributes are the elements of success that can neither be given to you nor done for you by someone else.  To become an efficient and effective manager of your time, you need to become efficient and effective with the process.  You have the ability to perform all these attributes – you just need to DO IT!

Having your time and life organized is similar to organizing for a trip.  Remember two people can take different roads and arrive at the same destination at approximately the same time.  The differences between the two trips are the scenery's, the road conditions, and how fast they each had to drive to reach the same conclusion.  Personally, I prefer to take a well paved, smooth road, admiring fantastic scenery, and have planned well enough in advance to take a leisurely trip.  What kind of road are you traveling?