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Make time work for you

When you plan right, you can finish all your tasks without getting stressed, says Jitendra Nagpal

education Updated: Aug 05, 2009 11:08 IST
Jitendra Nagpal

It’s 11 pm, there is an early class and I have not even touched the homework. Help!” Do you find yourself in this situation often? Does it feel like there is never enough time in the day to do everything?
Time management is one the most important skills needed in life. People from any walk of life, at any point in their career, need this most essential life-skill. People who follow the principles of time management bring in a sense of order and discipline to their lives.
Time management is not a skill we are born with. It has to be acquired during our life-time. But this skill is often neglected and not practised until circumstances and disorderly conditions push us to learn its value.

If we fail to manage our time effectively, we may waste precious time, become unproductive, become stressed, get anxious and worry, get annoyed and angry.
Research suggests that the following steps can help:

Make a schedule for the day
n What time do you usually wake up in the morning?
n What time do you leave for school / college?
n What time are you back home after school / college ends?
n How long does it take for you to finish your homework or household chores?
From here, you can determine how much free time you have and schedule your day so that everything can be completed for the day.

Make a to-do list every day
When you find yourself sitting and watching TV for hours or just doing nothing and getting bored, use your list to change your free time into a productive time. Put things that are most important at the top and do them first. If it is easier, use a planner to track all of your tasks. And do not forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments.

Divide your daily activities into categories

Decide on a priority when you divide your activities into each category. For example, ‘homework is a priority’, ‘exercise is a priority’ but ‘hanging out at the mall is not a priority’. Make sure you organise your activities
based on priorities.

Set time limits for yourself
If you need to complete household chores, set a time limit. Work to complete them within the set time limits.
Use a diary / cell phone
Keep a note in diary or put a reminder in your cell phone to help you keep a track of your responsibilities and tasks. This will give you plenty of time to do what you want to do.

Find the right time
You will work more efficiently if you figure out when you do your best work. For example, if your brain handles math better in the afternoon, do not wait to do it until late at night.

Relax your nerves
Use relaxation techniques that will eliminate stress and anxiety in minutes.
Destress before important exams and presentations with alternate muscle
relaxation and breathing

Check your notes every day
You will reinforce what you have learned, so you need less time to study. You will also be ready if your teacher gives you a quiz.

Catch a good night’s sleep
Do not compromise on sleep because it reduces work efficiency along with recalling power during exam time.

Don’t waste time agonising
Have you ever wasted an entire evening by worrying about something that you are supposed to be doing? Was it worth it? Instead of agonising and putting it off, just do it.

Efficient use of time helps us focus on the task at hand better. When things around us are in a mess and when we must do a dozen things within a limited period of time, our mind has to focus on too many issues at the same time. However, with the right planning, we can bring order and discipline into our lives.