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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014
Manage time for smooth sailing in the boards
Dr Jitendra Nagpal, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 19, 2014
First Published: 11:05 IST(19/2/2014)
Last Updated: 11:12 IST(19/2/2014)

Managing your time effectively is an important part of studying. One common mistake is creating an overly restrictive schedule which doesn’t work. The second mistake is telling yourself that scheduling just doesn’t work for you. Try to be realistic and honest with yourself when determining those things that require more effort and those that come easier to you. The following list will guide you through time management.

Think about when your brain works best - Morning, night or the middle of the afternoon. Plan your things-to-do list accordingly. If you’re going to read a difficult article for the first time, don’t start at 10pm unless you are comfortable staying awake during the late hours. Do something less demanding in these hours, organise your notes, or write the next day’s things-to-do list.

Schedule and prioritise - Have a regular study time and place each day. This helps to get you into the study mode. Get everything you need before you start studying. Make a list of what you have to do and list it in order of importance. Schedule the important stuff first.

Plan your sessions: Do the difficult stuff first. That way, when you reach your saturation phase you will only have to grapple with very simple things.

Take breaks: Don’t study longer than 50 minutes at a stretch. Use the other ten for a run around the block, or to eat a snack. Maybe run around the block and then have a snack.

Avoid getting stuck: If you can’t figure something out, skip it, and get help later. However, skipping everything is not allowed.

Divide and conquer: Break your projects up into smaller bits, and complete those bits one by one.

Set milestones: Setting milestones help to manage the time and task better. You can also set rewards for reaching those milestones.

Reward yourself: The reward can be small, like treating yourself to some ice cream, or larger, like buying that new outfit you’ve had your eye on. Rewards also don’t have to cost money, like going to play some basketball with some friends at the park. Enjoy yourself when you pass a milestone, stick to your reward plans to make them worth the effort.

Review regularly: Regular reviewing benefits taking stock of the work done. We have said this before. It’s important. Better read it again. Also monitor your progress at reasonable periods and make changes where necessary. If you find that you are consistently allotting more time than necessary to a specific chore, change your future schedule accordingly.

Say no to distractions: No matter how attractive they are unless, of course, it’s on the schedule.
 
Time management is an important component of an effective study habit. Individuals have their own ways of managing time. Try using this grid while managing your time...urgent and important, urgent but not important, not urgent but important and neither urgent nor important.

When planning study time for your exams, answer these two questions: How much time do I need to devote to studying for this exam and how much time do I have to study for this exam?

It’s fairly easy to determine the answer for the second question. But the first question calls for a fair amount of introspection in order to arrive at a definite answer. Your answer can be accurate or near accurate if you ask yourself the following questions.

# How much time do I usually spend studying for this type of exam? What results have  I got? (if you usually spend three hours and you are getting D grades, perhaps you need to reassess the time spent)
# What grade do I feel I can get?
# What special study do I have to do?
# Organise the material you need to study, pace yourself and check to see how much material you have covered in the first hour of review. How does this compare to what you have left to study?

Following these tips will help you secure a good result. What’s better you will be stress-free during preparations.

Before the examinations

# Prepare a study plan by combining favourite and not so favorite subjects in the study plan of a day
# Try and complete two Model Question Examinations (each subject) in this time
# Have fixed time of sleep and relaxation (including time set aside for television)
# Meditate and give autosuggestions every day – to be calm in the examination situation
# Discuss with one’s parent or sibling or friend from time to time your exam preparation progress

Plan your time

A semester planner: This will enable you to map out all tasks for the semester. Study periods, examinations, assignment deadlines and other important dates (including major tasks and family/social commitments) beed to be included here. This planner gives you an overall view of the extra busy times, so you can organise your studies accordingly

A weekly timetable: This will ensure that you structure your time in the short term and remain flexible

A diary with daily ‘things to do’: This will keep you on track and ensure continuity


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