As a component of effective study habits, realistic time management is of paramount importance, especially during the exam season. Individuals have their own ways of managing time, but tips like the following help you get better at it:
Schedule and prioritise: One common mistake is to try and create an overly restrictive schedule. Have a regular study time and a fixed place where you study each day. This will help you to put yourself in the study mode. Make a list of what you have to do in order of their importance. Schedule the most important stuff first.
Take periodic breaks: Don't study longer than 50 -60 minutes at a stretch. In the short breaks that you would be taking do anything you love to do, from listening to your favourite number on FM to grabbing a healthy snack to reading a magazine or chatting with your family.
Set targets and reward yourself: Setting milestones for revision certainly help to manage your time and tasks better. You can also reward yourself upon reaching these milestones — it can be something small, like treating yourself to some icecream, or larger, like buying that new dress you've had your eyes on. Rewards may not have to cost money. You can also treat yourself to a game of basketball with friends at the park.
Be interested and avoid nervousness: You cannot concentrate on your studies if you are disinterested in what you are reading or if there is anything that is worrying you. Try to lighten up by sharing your feelings with your family and friends. You are relaxed when you are at peace with yourself. And it happens when we give ourselves set timeframes. Fix up your time schedule for study in such a way that it does not clash with any of your other activities.
Stick to ground rules: Make it clear to all who matter — your friends, relatives, family members — that you are not to be disturbed during the planned study hours. If you find that — while studying — your mind is occupied by thoughts other than studies, you can write whatever comes to your mind before you actually settle down with your books. This will help you to clear your mind of the thoughts and thus increase concentration.
Help your child to journey through exams:
To be friends, philosophers and guides to their children, parents can adopt following strategies:
. Create the right environment and motivate your child in a way that s/he might avoid a stressful situation. At times, children are unable to cope with stress.
Parents should guide their children in planning, organising and setting a timetable.
. Spend light moments with your child, say at the dinner table.
. Keep the atmosphere at home light and humorous. Humour relieves tension.
. Ensure your child is eating well and getting adequate rest.
. Focus on your child's nutrition. Feed him/her lots of salad, juice, vitamin and protein rich food.
. Give him/her space, breaks to relax.
. Provide guidance when it comes to your child's social interactions.
. Spend time chatting with your child.
. Help the child develop self-discipline, self-direction, self-confidence and a sense of achievement.
The author is a senior consultant psychiatrist with Moolchand Medcity and Vimhans, New Delhi. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, marked ‘Dr Nagpal’