Everyone knows that the key to working efficiently and effectively is to manage your time better. But what exactly is time management?
What is time management?
Time management is about organising your time so that you can fit in all your necessary tasks and activities. Most of us will have more than one thing to do, so we need to make decisions about what to focus on, when to do it, and how long to spend on it.
How to prioritise tasks
A simple way of addressing things is to decide how urgent a task is and how important it is.
- An urgent task is something that either has a very short deadline or requires immediate attention because failure to address it will impact on other tasks.
Urgency is an assessment of how quickly a task must be tackled.
- An important task is something which has more wide-ranging and far-reaching effects than on your day-to-day working routine. It generally has a longer-term impact on your work and the work of others.
The importance of a task will tend to guide how much time you wish to spend on it.
You can use a task prioritisation grid to help you classify tasks. The one shown to the right is empty, but you can copy it and try filling one in with your own tasks.
Something that is high importance and high urgency would go in the top right box, whereas something low importance and low urgency would go in the bottom left box.
To help you with this, you could first write a "To Do list". Once you've listed what you need to do, you can classify it and place it on the grid. You could also use your list and cross off things once you have completed them.
Effective study time
Study time can mostly be divided into three different types.
- High quality is the time you're able to concentrate best. You're not tired, have few distractions, and you can really get things done.
- Low quality is when most of us study. You might be tired, have many distractions, or not have long enough to complete things effectively.
- Parallel time is when you're doing something else but can think about your studies at the same time. For example, can you put lecture notes on your MP3 player and listen to them on the bus?
Try to organise your time so that you can study in as much high quality time as possible. You might find you work best in the mornings, so if possible arrange study sessions for then.