It’s Saturday morning and you have promised yourself to attend to the assignment that is due and give it your full attention after breakfast. You have drunk your second cup of tea and even done the washing up. So what other excuses can you find to avoid starting the major task of the day? Suddenly the ironing or a spot of hovering can become incredibly desirable as an alternative and before you know it is time for an 11.00 cup of coffee. Sounds familiar? No doubt you could list a whole host of other excuses including watching the TV or i-Player.
Then as Saturday draws to close, not even having started the introduction of your essay, the nagging feelings of guilt start to kick in. But surely you tell yourself there is always Sunday? However, Sunday also comes with its range of activities and social life to fit in.
A possible solution to poor time management study is to turn to a ‘clock on’ and ‘clock off’ system, incidentally still used by some firms whereby employees can monitor actual hours worked within a week and build up accumulated flexi hours and even additional leave. By using this ‘clocking on’ model the same principle can be applied when studying at home. Let’s imagine you start studying at ten o‘clock, you should write down on a piece of paper ‘10.00’ and begin studying. Then when those nagging distractions call, such as defrosting the fridge or the phone rings and you natter to a friend for half an hour, ‘clock off’. Do this each time you return to your place of study by clocking ‘back on’ and ‘back off’ as appropriate.
This will help you avoid the misleading thought of having studied from say 9.00 in the morning till 11.00 am, when in fact you only studied for one and half hours rather than two due to that phone call. At the end of the day add up the actual hours of study to review your study time efficiency. Students often think they study all day or all night whereas if they were to do a time management analysis using the ‘clocking on model’ they would realise they have only achieved a couple of hours of dedicated study time.
If all you can manage is two hours study a day, then at least get them over with and focus on enjoying the rest of it. Examining the hours you actually study over one period of say a week can help you plan the following week and see if you can improve on the efficiency and hours you commit to study.
By keeping to the ‘clock on’ and ‘clock off system’ you may even be able to reward yourself with flexible time off study to treat yourself to that shopping spree free of the guilt of what you should have done. You will be amazed at the hours you actually achieve. Remember the only person you cannot fool is yourself as the hours speak for themselves!