Sunday, June 27, 2010

Managing Time

We have all had moments when it seemed as though we were given a very large assignment without enough time to complete it. Coincidentally, these moments tend to occur the night before that large assignment is due— which of course was assigned three months earlier. Instances like these emphasize the importance of learning how to manage one's time, especially as we grow into more demanding academic responsibilities. Before I get into ways to better control your time, I think it is important to note what I believe is the source of the problem. I commonly find that people attempt to apply the same study and time management habits in college as they did in high school. While this seems like a good idea at first, what most incoming college freshmen don't realize is that the workload is ten times greater. The circumstances are obviously different, and accordingly demand a different sense of how one treats work, particularly because time management evolves along with us. The key to learning how to take control of completing whatever assignments you may have is a sense of personal commitment. Of course, this is not a very simple thing to achieve, particularly because it is contrary to the way we normally view assignments. What usually motivates us to complete an assignment is the very ominous and looming due date which in our minds indicates the absolute latest we can complete something. However, once you come to the realization that you yourself can take a more proactive stance in determining when and how you will work, you will immediately notice differences. One method you can try is to give yourself a personal deadline for an assignment which is a few days or week, depending on the magnitude of the assignment, before the actual due date. Clearly mark the dates on a calendar (Google Calendar works wonders here) and give an honest and conscious effort to achieve your goal, but if it occurs that the work is too much to handle it is absolutely fine, I guarantee that the quality and amount of work you will have completed will be many fold greater than normal. Of course, since you do not have extrinsic motivators like a teacher to scold you, or points deducted from your grade, the only thing that will enable you to achieve your goal is commitment. If you follow this simple mentality, you will note only come to manage your time far more efficiently, but will also notice that you will become less dependent on others to tell you how and when things should be done.

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