Life is a function of time and your academic goal too falls within a time limit which you should apply and engage judiciously. It has often been said that time wasters are life and opportunity wasters, it is therefore essential you engage this gift of nature that is available to all wisely.
Read about the adverse impact of poor time management and procrastination. Of course, there’s the need to draw light on some suitable time management techniques to help you deal with your poor time management issues and excel in your field, especially as a student.
As a saying by John Dewy goes; a well-stated problem is already half solved. If our previous post was any help, identifying that you indeed have a time management issue and knowing your specific defects is the first step— You need to ask yourself questions like, what precise kind of tasks scares you into procrastination in the first place? Are you often frightened into meeting a target that you give up the whole task entirely for later? Or, do you find that you’re slower executing uninteresting tasks? Are you dyslexic? Do you find you can’t study for long hours?
Pareto’s rule applies
Having done that, remember the 20/80 rule. New to this concept? We got you: it is the principle propounded by Vilfredo Pareto for the explanation of the uneven distribution of wealth, but which has been interpreted over the years by economists to mean that 80 per cent of your result comes from 20 per cent of the work you put in.
Accept it or not: You stand to gain much more from that 20 per cent of effort you put into getting your study right as a student. Let’s be more practical: Getting your acts right on a course by frequenting classes, getting study materials early enough, and actually studying and not just memorizing, (20%) do not just earn you a good grade which reflects positively on your mental health by giving you a renewed and healthy sense of self, but also saves you a lot of embarrassment in the future where you’re required to prove your mettle in your chosen field of study. And how about a well-deserved paycheck? (80%)
If at this point, you believe in the 20/80 rule, you should equally believe that certain tasks should be given priority over others; having decided that the long-term outcome of being able to prove your mettle in the job and skills market is worthwhile, it follows that other tasks, such as becoming a popular party rider in your institution or being a perpetual friend escort or trying out a side hustle you don’t find enjoyable, should be relegated and deemphasized.
Splitting your careers into Rocks, Pebbles and Sand
Say No When You Must: Get done those tasks that have tremendous results and consequences first. While you’re at this, pace yourself and Split Your Tasks into Doable and Manageable Chunks given your study preference.
According to Dan Mc Carthy on The Balance Careers blog, you can split your tasks into Rocks, Pebbles and Sand, with Rocks indicating the most essential and so on. Get the rocks out of the way first. In any case, for a student your rocks and your pebbles are your studies, hence really understanding the specifics of each course from the introduction is what you should get out of the way first.
In the same pattern, we should be talking about getting a full grasp of the courses you find most difficult, handing in that difficult assignment first or preparing for that tough course exam early enough. Perhaps that little bit of injunction from Brian Tracy, “Eat that Frog” could be handy: You can choose to get frustrated all through your study program’s duration knowing that getting a hang of difficult courses is the worst thing that will ever happen to you or choosing to really study them and getting them out of the window with your head firmly hanging on your shoulders.
If you find that you can’t deal with long study hours, find sensible people who do and know the ropes to teach you. Sensible people know that teaching is the best learning tactic. Open yourself up to learn from others. For the dyslexic, buy books for others, have them read and explain to you, otherwise explore reader apps. You’re blessed to have this kind of technology in your time. In any case, it doesn’t make you less bright a student—It’s wisdom to be fully aware of your defaults and to take appropriate measures to ensure they don’t impede your academic goals.
In all, you have chosen to take that course for a reason you thought long and hard and decided is worthwhile (except you were forced into it, and for which reason you’d probably not be here and reading this post in the first place). Whether it is for professional development or to bag a degree, make it an obligation to meet your study expectations. Remember, time wasters are life wasters and opportunity wasters.
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