By PETER KAMURI
Time is the only free resource that is available to the ‘A’ students and those who perform poorly in national examinations. What sets them apart is the way they spend it, as prudent management of time is essential for success in studying and preparing for examinations.
Good time management allows you to spread your work over the day. This helps you to cope and avoid study-related stress. That is why as a learner, one of the most important activities that you can do is to organise your personal and working time efficiently.
Developing your time management skills will help you achieve more in work, rest, make friends, participate in school activities like sports and do your school homework. This is an individual matter that requires a high level of self discipline.
Many students face challenges when they set out to plan their time. Do you have problems getting started? Do you take inordinately long time pondering what to do next? Then you are likely to have trouble accomplishing your tasks as this is one of the major hurdles in discreet time management. Procrastination is another problem common with students who have problem managing their time.
This is all about putting off, delaying or deferring an action to a later time. Many students will not complete their assignments as they think they can work better later. Finally, they end up not doing the work resulting to a pile-up.
Lack of clear goals can affect your control of the time at your disposal. This is because you do not know what you want to do at a given time so you end up doing very little or nothing. Sometimes you set yourself unrealistic goals that cannot be achieved within the set time. All this can only help stress you more.
Perfectionism can too be dangerous to your time management plan. This is when you want to do everything perfectly to please everyone. This is not an easy fete. When you fail, you become nervous and achieving your goals become a mirage.
Poor prioritization is an enemy to prudent time management. Your daily tasks should follow a predetermined order and all the time you should know what you are supposed to do before hand. Avoid doing things that can wait first.
Your peers can derail your time management plan. They can easily influence you into abandoning your schedule and engage in other unplanned for activities. Others can influence you into fitting into their programmes far away from what you intend to do.
But how can you manage your time effectively? Start by critically analysing how you are spending your time now and make sure that you can account for all of it including relaxation and play time.
Always have a timetable. It should have clearly defined tasks which must be realistic and achievable. This can be achieved by breaking big tasks into smaller ones to fit the allocated time. Do not forget to plan for breaks preferably after every 40 to 50 minutes and time to hang out with friends or even watch your favourite programme on TV.
Planning your study time
A good timetable can help you to plan your study time by allocating it well as you will be able to account for every minute. However, be flexible and avoid over-committing yourself. Also be ready to seek for help – if you think you need some assistance, ask for it.
Always prioritise your schoolwork by identifying what is most important. Whenever possible, use day time to study since you have more energy and higher concentration. However, it is good practice to establish a regular time for study to help your mind to get used.
You are also encouraged to take time and know yourself. Every person has his or her highs and lows. There are people who prefer to work early in the morning and other are best at night. Knowing the time you can work optimally can help you maximize your study time.
It pays to do exercises regularly as this increases your energy levels and help you to relieve tension. Do not forget to get enough time for sleep. This should be between seven and eight hours. Remember, working for long hours can lead to stress. Avoid procrastinating. When you put off a task you would have done today means more stress as you will always feel there are some assignments you have not finished which you ought to. Learn to complete small tasks straight away rather than putting them off. However, know when you should say No! This can be for instance when your programme is full.
Do not be rigid in when planning your time. Be flexible to allow time for interruptions as some unplanned for activities or events can crop up. In addition, make use of ‘wasted time’ by for example reading a book or your notes while waiting for a matatu or when waiting for your subject teacher to come to your class.
-The writer is a teacher in Naivasha and a publishing editor. Email: [email protected]