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Time Management
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"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the things that you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not."--Thomas Huxley How many times have you planned to do something only to procrastinate or fail to carry out the plan? While there are many explanations for your failure to implement your plan, analysis of this failure has to start with the plan itself. Even if you do not want to do the work, to be successful it is necessary to stay motivated and make yourself do what needs to be done. Many students often say they will "try" to do the work, but unfortunately the definition of "try" in daily English means: "Forget it - I really don't want to do this and I won't do it. Further, when asked of my progress, I will employ excuses that relieve me of the responsibility to change the behavior." All of these problems occur in college life. The good news is that you can employ effective time management strategies to overcome these obstacles and be successful throughout your college career. These include planning, implementing the plan, and evaluating the plan.

Life on campus has many distractions that can keep students from managing their time and keeping up with their studies. Consider Partying Patty. Partying Patty has tendencies to procrastinate and not manage her time wisely. In short, she is going to fail her courses if she does not shape up and plan her work and activities. Patty needs to understand there are three main objectives that she must stick to or else her planning will fail. The first is to be ready for an exam 2-3 days before the test is administered. Second, use her daytime hours for studying, because she realizes she wants to be with her friends in the evening. Lastly, she needs to distribute her studying hours so as not to cram. To plan her time successfully, she should compare her academic studies to a full-time job, thus leaving her night time hours for fun time. This will help her maintain a healthy balance between work and fun.

After Patty plans her time she must implement the plan. To implement her plan she needs to stick to her daily and weekly schedule. One way to do this is to identify precise products she will produce during specified time periods. When she completes a task, she crosses it off the list. She should plan to study between classes, when the ideas are still fresh from the lecture. Further, she should visualize completing the task successfully. Visualization, properly applied, is a powerful strategy. She should also keep in mind - two hours of studying during the day for every one hour of class time is far more beneficial than cramming for six hours the night before the exam.

Lastly, Patty needs to monitor herself and her work. For example, she could pretend she is the employer at a large manufacturing corporation. According to her plans and how well she implemented them, she must decide if she should receive a reward as a productive employee, or if she would be fired for poor performance. Put another way, Patty could monitor herself by answering the following questions each night:
  1. "If she worked in a corporation and she was the President, would she hire herself the way she behaved today?"
  2. "Am I proud of my performance today?"
Effective Time Management strategies lead to success; ineffective Time Management strategies lead to failure. It's that simple. Time Management strategies help students to stay motivated and on top of their deadlines for projects, help eliminate procrastination, and help to balance academic and fun time to maintain a healthy lifestyle on campus. Return to the web site next week to find out how Patty can more effectively implement and monitor her use of time.




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