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Time Management For Study

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 22 August 2019

Managing Time = Managing Success

The concept of time management is very simple. It means making choices so that you can get the most done in the time you have available, or so that you can get the work you have to do done quicker. Time management is probably the biggest issue facing people studying. Either they find too little time to study, they leave it to the last minute, or they spend lots of hours studying but get little done.

Why don't we manage our time well?

There are two key issues with time management, the dance of competing priorities and some things just aren't fun. The dance of competing priorities occurs because there are always a huge number of things we could be doing with our time. If you study economics you will understand this as opportunity cost. You could be playing sport, studying, cleaning the house, working a part time job, reading, relaxing, playing guitar, playing video games at any given moment. To do one thing however, you can't do another thing. For example, if you play guitar for 1 hour (a good thing to do) you can't play soccer for that hour (also a good thing to do). It would be easy to say that you are lazy and don't practise soccer the way you should. The truth of course, is that you chose guitar over soccer. You managed your time well for guitar but not so well for soccer. This is fine if you want to be a rock and roll star but not a great strategy if you want to play for Madrid! The second factor is that some things just ain't fun. I don't like to clean my house because it isn't fun. I would rather go for a walk. Unless I prioritise cleaning my house, going for a walk almost always wins.

Do things in the right order

Good time management is often about doing things in the most sensible order. I spent some time in the Australian army and this was great for learning about working to a time frame and making the most of your available time. Let me explain the morning routine while in basic training. 6am wake up, race out into the hallway and stand to attention. Between 6am and 6:15, have a shave, make your bed, get dressed and be out the door heading for breakfast by 6:14 and 59 seconds. For the first couple of weeks we all got in lots of trouble because almost no one was getting out on time. I would get up race down to the bathroom to shave just like everyone else. However I noticed something was happening.

I would arrive at the bathroom and there would be a bottleneck. Lots of guys waiting to shave and only limited sinks to shave in. We were sometimes spending 2 to 3 minutes waiting for our turn and this is a lot when you only have 15 mins to do everything. So I decided to use my time better. Instead of shaving first I made my bed, got half dressed and then went down to the bathroom to find I always got a sink straight away as the bottleneck had cleared. I could then shave, finish putting my uniform on and be out of the door. Isn't it interesting that I was doing exactly the same collection of tasks but instead of getting in trouble for taking 17 minutes to leave the building I was now making it out in under 12.

This is the beauty of time management. You may be able to do 3 hours work in 2 hours and save an hour. Or, for the really dedicated students you might get twice as much work done in the same amount of time.

Question: Do you want to use your time better? Y/N

If you answered YES - well done, you are about to start getting more efficient.

If you answered NO then close this website. You will be better off spending the time you would have spent reading this book studying!


Can you think of a time when you got something over and done with well ahead of schedule? How did you feel? Why were you so organised?

Short, Medium and Long Term Goals ⇠Previous Lesson
Next Lesson⇢ Principles of Time Management

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