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March 29, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Time management

Yo mama shoulda told you this

University is based around a wonderful thing called self-directed study. Absence from class, and failure to submit assignments is only punishable by a painless ‘Q’ or ‘F’ mark months into the future, leaving many of you young sproglets unknowingly tangled in the ropes of time management.

Learn your most effective study patterns, and screw what everyone else is doing. The more effective your study is, the less time you have to spend on it. Become aware of how your time is spent, because we often fail to notice! Draw up a weekly schedule, and allocate 8 to 10 hours a day to a set activity (study, lectures, labs, assingmnents, gym, etc). Make the time allocated to each paper match the time recommended in your course outline, usually around 12 hours a week. Your schedule will look full! That’s the idea! Work to your schedule as best you can and tweak it as you go to better suit how you work. The idea is to think hard about what you actually do with your time, and see just how much is wasted (or available for use). You might like midnight study sessions, so you have an excuse to sleep in till midday, you might try to do all of your study during business hours, whatever. Just get the right amount of time in to get all the work done.

Think in terms of ‘waste’ time, and ‘spare’ time. Waste time is time spent sitting around waiting for the next thing to happen. For example, waiting for your bus, on the bus or train, between lectures, before your friend finishes their lectures, while your dinner is cooking, waiting for your mates to arrive, etc. Waste time is study time. Bring some form of study materials with you wherever you go, and always make use of it.

I get all of my uni work done in half- or hour-long slots before doing something social. I became the master of meeting for coffee, deliberately turning up an hour early with textbook in hand. Trying this will at least stop you from being the loser sitting alone in a public place, cellphone in hand, eagerly looking up every time someone walks near.

Any time that you have available to meet for coffee, visit your mates or go to a bar is ‘spare’ time. Spare time is longer than two hours, after your last lecture, after work or on weekends. Spare time should only be used to study when you know you need to, to get all of your work done.

So, meet friends after uni in your spare time, instead of between classes during waste time. Take a trip to the library and sit there doing your readings, or legwork on assignments. It’s all about doing what you have to, in otherwise wasted time, then choosing to spend available time to do what you enjoy. Most importantly, this means most of your nights are free! YAYS!

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