I am in a hostel attached to the college where I am studying. Staying in a hostel is a new experience for me. I am feeling lost in the new environment and the way of life that is so different from the days I was with my parents and going to the higher secondary school nearby. I am finding it difficult to manage my time. Can you kindly guide me on how to better organise my time? (Komal Pandey) As you rightly point out, the new environment of college is so different that it could easily distract and take away your time, and leave you as an under performer. Indeed, many students find it difficult to manage time. Try doing the following to manage your time and be productive.
Maintain a calendar & mark the events –You have to have your important dates marked in the calendar. It could be a wall calendar, planner or your cell phone. All should be available in one place. A month-at-a-glance calendar with all your holidays, assignments, reports and tests should be placed prominently for you to look at it and constantly check it.
Keep a to-do list – You should make a to-do list every day. It helps not to procrastinate and prevents draining under pressure. Keep checking your to-do list. Work on your daily and weekly priority list.
Plan your moments of relaxation – Even if you are planning to go for a movie, visit a relative or a friend, an outing let everything find place in your schedule. Fixing your time for relaxation and rewards will make you work harder.
Flexibility is part of planning – We always get surprises! None of us wish to miss an unplanned party of a friend or a visit of a relative. Take them in and reschedule your work. We should always have a plan for the unexpected. It can also happen that you will go down with a viral fever or a headache.
Move around with your work – if you have to travel around or have to wait for a long time, get something done in those moments.
Say ‘no’ to peer pressure – if you have something important that is coming your way and friends are forcing you for eating out or for a movie, pick up courage to say NO. Find a time that is convenient for you and your friends.
Fix your study time – Your top most priority is study. Everything else is secondary. You have to have a dedicated and quality time for your study. Never ever compromise.
Sleep tight, good night – Good rest refreshes us. Let your sleeping habit be regular. It does lot of good for body and mind. If you fix it, you will know how to organize the rest of the day.
Plan to cover all aspects – Library, leisure, sports, news, browsing, social media, personal care, eating, etc., all need your attention. Within your study time, estimate your time according to the subjects. Divide them to their low level of concentration to intensive study. Keep the lighter subjects for the end of the day.
Make exercise your habit – Keep your body fit. It is important to have healthy mind and keep the distractions at bay.
Finally, remember the widely known Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule. It is said that 80 per cent of results come from 20 per cent of effort. It means that staying focused could achieve great results. Time management is nothing but making the most effective use of our time and working smarter.
—The writer is a career counsellor and mentor