Time and Its Great Disappearing Act

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
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William Penn once said, “Time is what we want most,but what we use worst.” I have found that many of my students identify poor use of their time as a major cause of their poor academic performance. Even though they know this, most of them do not know how to fix it.Image

At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, I have a simple solution. Get a timer. Using a timer is an excellent strategy for dealing with time management and procrastination issues, and it is something I regularly recommend to students. Time and time again, students have returned to tell me how much this simple strategy transformed their study time.

Here are some helpful guidelines:

To-do lists are a great place to start. Once you have a to-do list, rank the items in order of importance. Then, allot a realistic amount of time to spend on each task. Tasks that will take more than an hour should be broken into 50 minute chunks. This will help you to manage your projects and designate hourly breaks help to keep you fresh.

Set a timer when you begin a project or assignment, and when the timer goes off, take a short break. Here is the most important thing about this part of the process: Time your breaks! If you are working on statistics, and you hate statistics, it is way too easy to walk away and never come back. A timer will remind you to return to the task at hand and it also limits your breaks to a specific amount of time. Typically, I recommend that students take a 5-15 minute break every 50-60 minutes. During the break, get up and do something else, even if it is something as simple as getting a drink.

Invest in a digital timer. They can be found in the kitchen supply section at many stores. You can also use the timer on your cell phone. However, if you find your cell phone is a constant distraction to you, you probably need to put it away and buy an old-fashioned timer.

I challenge you to begin using a timer today and see just how much you begin to accomplish. If you do, I guarantee your productivity will improve and your to-do list will shrink!

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