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3 INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS Welcome to Time Management Techniques for Year 9 Students. We hope you will find it a valuable resource to help your Year 9 students develop their time management skills. COPYRIGHT To allow ELES to continue producing resources to support teachers, we rely on your professional integrity to adhere to the copyright standards as indicated on the copyright page at the start of this resource or at Please do not make copies for colleagues in other schools or take the resource with you when you change schools. SUGGESTED USAGE How you choose to use this resource will depend on your existing programs and types of students. Below are some suggested approaches you may wish to consider. Approach 1 Photocopy all of the student material and bind it into a booklet for the students to work through either at home or during pastoral care periods. Post or send the parent material home with your students. Approach 2 Hand out the material to the students gradually over a period of time. You might like to give them all of Section 1 first then hand out each of the techniques one at a time. Again, post or send the parent material home with your students. Approach 3 Send the entire booklet home with the parent information and suggest that parents might like to work through it with their students.
4 EVALUATION Year 9 Time Management Techniques We value your feedback to help us tailor our resources further to your needs. Once you have worked through the material, please post this evaluation to ELES, PO Box 9, Neutral Bay NSW 2089 to receive some thank you bonus material. Name: Position: School: What did you find most useful in the material? What activities / features in particular did you like? What material worked best with your students? Were there any worksheets or activities that you felt did not work effectively? Are there any areas that could be improved? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? What other types of resources would you be interested in or find useful in your role as Year Coordinator? Do you agree to ELES using your comments for marketing purposes? YES / NO Thank you.
5 Name: Class: Please colour this page in and add some of your own pictures. to help you make the most of your time
6 Robert Orben
7 SECTION 1 1A Introduction to Time Management Let s consider what time management actually means. When we think of time management, most people think of a set of skills that once mastered will enable us to be more organised, more efficient and more in control of how we spend our time during the day. Too much time management and we become controlling and lack spontaneity. Too little time management and we have difficulty managing all the demands placed upon us as well as finding enough time to do the things we really enjoy. In the space below, list your most and least enjoyable ways of spending your time. Top 5 things you LOVE doing: Top 5 things you HATE doing: If you look at your list of things you don t like doing, you ll see that with most of them they are things you do not have a choice about. This is the main problem we face in balancing our time. Balancing the things we want to do with the things we have to do. Once you master and improve your time management skills, you will find you have more time to enjoy the things you love while still meeting your obligations at school and at home. One of the best things about implementing time management skills is that it helps remove stress or worry about completing tasks on time. It helps you manage the procrastination that every person faces at one time or another (and some more often than others), and it gives you a sense of control over your life. You feel more in charge, rather than feeling like you are just being swept along on the tide of time. In the space below, see if you can come up with your own definition of TIME MANAGEMENT:
8 Before you start your analysis of yourself, you might like to take a short break and read through the following. THINKING ABOUT TIME ATimeTimeline 1500BC 400BC Sundial first used in Egypt to measure the time of day by the sun's shadow. Greeks use a water clock measuring flow of water from a vessel to measure time. 980 Alfred the Great (a Saxon king) uses burning candles to measure time Candles and burning incense mark time in China (Sung dynasty). 1400s Mechanical clocks are built in Europe, using a mainspring and balance wheel First pendulum clock invented. Most accurate clock so far! 1884 Twenty-five countries accept Greenwich, England, as the prime meridian (0 degrees longitude). The prime meridian gradually becomes the basis for time throughout the world Salespeople for the R.W. Sears Watch Company fan out across America selling affordable timepieces. The firm is later renamed Sears, Roebuck and Co W.A. Marrison of Bell Laboratories builds the first quartz clock, accurate to within 1-2 thousandths of a second per day. Quartz technology is later adapted for use in wristwatches Physicist Isador Rabi suggests making a clock based on the study of atoms, using a method called atomic-beam magnetic resonance National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST) builds the first atomic clock, using ammonia A second is formally defined as 9,192,631,770 vibrations of the cesium atom. For the first time, time is not defined by the movement of astronomical bodies NIST-7 -- the latest atomic clock -- comes on line, with unbeaten accuracy. Scientists had long realised that atoms (and molecules) have resonances; each chemical element and compound absorbs and emits electromagnetic radiation at its own characteristic frequencies. The special thing about these is that the rate is amazingly regular. Thus atoms constitute a potential "pendulum" with a reproducible rate that can form the basis for more accurate clocks. The NIST-7 is currently the most accurate clock in the world and took 3 researchers 7 years to create. It is estimated that it will lose at most only 1 second in every 6 million years. That s pretty precise! Why do we need clocks that are accurate to so many decimal places? Lots of scientific and navigation systems rely on precision to ensure synchronised timing, especially with computers. You may have heard of the Global Positioning System, GPS. Every billionth of a second that the timing is wrong is equal to a GPS error of one foot. Get a few nanoseconds out and before you know it your aircraft carrier has landed in the sea! Ok, enough trivia. Let s look at how you use time.
9 Time Self-Analysis SECTION 1 1B Where does your time go? Have you ever wondered where your money goes to? You might be given pocket money, or money for your birthday or earn some money, but unless you put it away, before you know it the money has disappeared and you aren t quite sure where you spent it all. It is the same with how we spend our time. Many people don t realise just how much time they actually spend on certain activities. See how well you can estimate time by trying the multiple choice questions below. Don t try and actually work out the calculations, just go with your first instinct or reaction. Circle your response for each question below: 1. The number of hours you will spend in a classroom this year is closest to: a) 800 b) 1100 c) 1900 d) The number of hours you will spend sleeping this year is closest to: a) 2900 b) 2000 c) 1500 d) The number of minutes of television the average person watches in a month is: a) 500 b) 1500 c) 3500 d) The number of minutes most people spend brushing their teeth in a month is: a) 0 b) 40 c) 150 d) The number of seconds students should spend on homework in a week is: a) b) c) 8000 d) 0 6. The number of seconds it should have taken you to do this quiz is probably: a) 2 b) 30 c) 180 d) 500 It can be hard to realistically estimate time. Wondering what the correct answers are? Here s a clue. The other day I caught a bad cab.
10 Choose one day over the next week and fill in the table below for that day in order to see how your time is distributed during the 24 hours. If there are things that you wanted to do but also had to do, put them in the want to do column. THINGS YOU DID THAT YOU HAD TO DO Time Taken THINGS YOU DID THAT YOU WANTED TO DO Time Taken Eg tidy up room 40 mins Eg soccer training 1.5 hours TOTAL TIME: TOTAL TIME: Did your overall total time equal 24 hours? If not, it was probably less. It is difficult to account for every minute and we often waste quite a lot of time during the day. Some examples of time wasters are waiting for things to start, pottering around, not doing all that much or just flicking aimlessly through the channels (although you probably recorded that as watching television). The aim of this exercise is to start you thinking about where your time goes. What sorts of activities do you spend time on and how much time is unaccounted for in your day? In the space below, put a cross on the scale as to where you would rank your current ability to manage time: TIME MANAGEMENT ABILITY Poor Needs Improvement OK Good Excellent
11 Time Management Outcome Checklist What areas do you need to work on? SECTION 1 1C Although ELES produces Time Management Techniques for each year group, the checklist below is included in every Time Management resource regardless of the year level. It is a fact that students across all levels share common problems in managing their time but that these problems may change from year to year. Indeed, you could ask your parents to fill this checklist out with respect to work instead of school and you would find that they too are often facing similar challenges. In completing the list, don t feel discouraged if you are ticking lots of NONE s. Instead, pat yourself on the back for the things you are doing well. Everyone will have areas they can improve on, and that is what working through these worksheets is all about. For each of the following statements tick either: ALL of the time, MOST of the time, SOME of the time, A BIT of the time or NONE of the time. ALL MOST SOME A BIT NONE 1. I keep up-to-date with my schoolwork without many problems. 2. Istartworkingonassignmentswellbeforetheyaredue. 3. I don t end up leaving work till the last minute. 4. Ifinishassignmentsontime. 5. Ihandinallschoolworkontime. 6. I don t ask for extensions. 7. I don t feel stressed about the work I need to do for school. 8. I plan when I am going to do work. 9. I use my time in the classroom efficiently. 10. I use my time at home efficiently.
12 ALL MOST SOME A BIT NONE 11. I can estimate pretty well how long something will take. 12. I have time to do all the things I WANT to do. 13. When I sit down to do work I get lots done. 14. I am not easily distracted. 15. I am self-disciplined and can make myself do what I need to do. 16. I know at the start of the day what I want to get done that day. 17. Ifeelincontrolofmytime. 18. I am able to juggle commitments to family and friends. 19. I can find extra time to do things if I need to. 20. I am able to reschedule activities if necessary. 21. I have ways to make myself do things I have been putting off. 22. I am able to prioritise things to do by their level of importance. 23. I am aware when I am wasting time and can stop myself doing it. 24. I use self rewards to help motivate myself to do things. 25. I am able to set goals as to what I want to do and work to them. Now look back through the list at some of the statements for which you ticked NONE. Which of these bothers you the most? Which causes you the most stress? Which do you most want to do something about? Which do you know you really should try and improve? In the space below, describe the areas of time management that you think you most need to work on.
13 SECTION 1 1D Core Time Management Skills Let s examine the essential time management techniques. There are some fundamental or core techniques for effective time management. Even if you have worked through the next four pages in a previous year, it is worthwhile reviewing them again before progressing to the section on new techniques in order to ensure you are still on track. If this is the first time you have used one of the ELES Time Management Techniques resources, you need to be comfortable with these techniques before progressing to the next section. The true secret to Time Management is: YOU CAN T ACTUALLY MANAGE TIME. YOU MUST MANAGE YOURSELF. To improve the way you manage yourself, the following first 3 steps are essential: STEP Often Sometimes Rarely How often do you currently do these steps? Put a tick in one of the boxes for each of the steps. 1 Set your goals. 2 Prioritise. 3 Schedule your time. STEP 1: SET YOUR GOALS Why set goals? Unless you know what you are aiming for you can t hit it! Imagine a boat without any particular destination in mind. It would float aimlessly among the seas and if it made it to land it would be due to luck rather than any other factor. By creating a goal, you have created something you can work towards. Goal setting helps increase your efforts and motivate you by giving you a direction towards which you can work. Many students are put off by the words goal setting. They have read information before detailing setting long-term, medium-term and short-term goals and have found the whole process overwhelming and unworkable. A GOAL IS JUST A LIST OF THINGS YOU EITHER HAVE TO DO OR WANT TO DO. If you think of goals in this way, you ll find them much less daunting and more workable.
14 The most effective goals are WRITTEN DOWN and are SMART : Specific Measurable Action oriented Realistic Timebound Make sure your goals explain exactly what you want to achieve. Make sure you are able to easily see when you have achieved your goals. Put specific action steps into your goals rather than just airy-fairy ideas. If you want to improve in a subject, decide on some specific steps you can do. Don t make unrealistic goals like I will read 28 chapters of my History textbook tonight. All this will do is discourage you so make goals achievable. Put a timeframe on your goals when do you want to achieve them by? Examples of Effective Goals IwillfinishmyHistoryAssignmenttonight. I will do 15 minutes each day on French vocab. IwillbeatmylastexamresultinMaths. Examples of Less Effective Goals I will keep up with my work. IwillimproveinFrench. IwillgetbetterinMaths. A good way to start your goal setting is to take a piece of paper and think of absolutely EVERYTHING you need to do. Make it a complete and total list of everything to be done and everything you d like to do. It can seem daunting, but once you have listed everything in black and white then you can start to deal with it. Try this now. STEP 2: PRIORITISE It is a fact of life that everything always takes longer than you think it will. And it is often an impossible task to achieve absolutely everything you want to achieve in the time available. Ideally you d like to get everything done, but if you can t, look objectively at the things to do from your goal list and prioritise everything into the three categories below. On a piece of paper, draw up and fill in the table below for your current workload using your list of work from Step 1. Things I need to do urgently: Other things to be done: Things that can be postponed: Include here everything that is overdue, or very important or that will have serious consequences if you don t complete it urgently. Include here other work that is currently due, due soon or should at least be started soon. This would be work that you really should do but that you won t get in trouble or affect your marks if you leave it till later - like the next holidays. You may not be able to get everything done but you can focus on what is really important. Many students prioritise in a way that is simply not efficient. Instead of doing the most important things first and the least important things next, they do the things they LIKE first regardless of whether there are things that are more important that they should be doing. Remember: MOST IMPORTANT tasks FIRST (not the things you like most first) LEAST IMPORTANT tasks LAST (not things you like least last)
15 STEP 3: SCHEDULE YOUR TIME Timetables? They don t work for me. I can t make a study timetable, I just don t stick to it. Sound familiar? So many students just switch off when they see the words STUDY TIME- TABLE. Some of the reasons why timetables may not have worked for you in the past: o You made an unrealistic and unachievable timetable, so became discouraged when you couldn t achieve it. o You tried to schedule too far ahead and so when you had to readjust things it was too big a task to adjust the whole timetable. o You made a timetable of what you thought you SHOULD get done (even if you knew there was no way it would happen), not what you knew you could do. o You didn t play to your strengths, you didn t think about when you work best, how long you can work for and what was the best way for you to work. o You were not prepared to be flexible or experiment to find out what works best for you. For example, maybe you work best working on one thing solidly for a time, or maybe you work better if you break it up by working on a variety of things for shorter periods of time. o You were too rigid with your timetable and expected to be able to stick to it exactly and gave up when you couldn t. Put a tick next to any of the above reasons that have applied to you in the past. So what can you do? 1. Look first at the big picture. What do you want to achieve over the next month? 2. Plan out the next week by first putting in all of your commitments and seeing how much time is available, then taking the things you want to get done that week and slotting them into the available time. RULES FOR DOING THIS: - Don t make it so tight there is no spare time at all you will need extra time for rescheduling. - Be realistic about how long things will take. You ll get better at this with practice. - Ensure you schedule in the higher priorities first. 3. Once you have a plan for the week, take each day day-by-day and really focus on what you need to do that day. 4. If you don t get everything done, and you probably won t, then don t stress or give up or see it as failure. Instead, reschedule it to another time in the week and when you get to that day, deal with it then. EXAMPLE: Let s take an example. You wrote your list of things you wanted to get done, then put it into the priority table. This is something you could do every Friday night to look in general at the weeks ahead and to help you plan specifically for the coming week and what you need to do that weekend. It would only take a few minutes and would mean you have taken your first big step towards managing time by managing yourself. Try it!
16 Thinking of the weeks ahead, you came up with this list: Things I need to do urgently: Other things to be done: Things that can be postponed: - Science homework overdue -FrenchvocabquizTues - History Assign. next week -Mathstestweekafter - Make summaries for Geography (leave till holidays). Your first overall plan or schedule might look like this, drawn up by hand on a bit of paper: - First put the major dates for big pieces of work that are due or things you want to focus on. - Also put in any time commitments or extra-curricular or social activities so you can see how much time you actually have available to you. Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri BASKETBALL TRAINING BASKETBALL GAME MUM S BIRTHDAY Maths Test BASKETBALL TRAINING BASKETBALL TRAINING History Assignment due Now think just about this week: - Start with the things you need to do urgently and schedule time in for them. - Look then at the other things to be done like the History Assignment and Maths Test and allocate some time in the week to doing something specific to start these tasks many students just do immediate homework only. Scheduling time for these tasks is much better than just letting the time slip by and leaving the task till the last minute. Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri get Science homework done study French vocab test find books at library for History review French vocab start research for History BASKETBALL TRAINING redo hard exercises in Maths chapter. brainstorm ideas for History assignment Follow the steps outlined above to schedule your prioritised work into the coming weeks. SUMMARY 1. Write down absolutely EVERYTHING you need to get done. 2. Take everything on the list and put it in one of three columns: a) Things I need to do urgently b) Other things to be done c) Things that can be postponed 3. Look 3 or 4 weeks ahead to see what you need to do and how much free time you have. 4. Focus on the coming week and schedule in your work from the Priority Table.
17 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES The Last Thing Time Management Technique 1 Page 1 Using this technique: When? Just before you go to sleep and just before you get up in the morning. How? -thinkabouttheday ahead -decidethetopthree things you would like to achieve in the day - visualise yourself achieving these tasks Could you benefit from this technique? 1. How many hours sleep do you get each night? 2. When you wake up in the morning, do you feel tired and sluggish or awake and alert? 3. At night do you think about what you have to do and what you d like to do the next day? 4. In the morning, do you think about the day ahead? 5. Do you start the day with a clear mental picture of the most important things for you to do that day? Why? - Just before you go to sleep and just as you are waking up is when your mind is in a very receptive state. -Yourbrainisinan alpha wave pattern and this is like a direct link to your subconscious sort of like a batphone straight to your brain. -Thethingsyouthink about at these times have a strong influence on the actions you take. Something to think about: The first step in implementing this system is to take a serious look at the amount of sleep you are getting. While experts recommend between 8-9 hours a night everyone s body has different requirements. It is easy to tell if you are getting enough sleep how do you feel during the day? If you are not feeling alert and fresh for most of the day you need to increase the amount of sleep you are getting, and if you can t get up later then this means going to bed earlier. For many students this can be a challenge but you can gradually change the time you go to bed. Sleep is where the proteins are replenished from the day s activities. If you are not getting enough sleep your thought processes will not be as speedy or as effective the next day. 1
18 Time Management Technique 1 Page 2 About this technique: Before you go to sleep, picture the coming day ahead. Think about what time you are going to get up, what lessons and teachers you have at school that day, anything you have to do during the day, what other tasks you will need to work on, and what you would like to achieve that day. Play it out like a movie in your mind and think about what your priorities are for the next day. If you have too many priorities you feel anxious and frustrated. What things must you do no matter what? Focus on these and determine your top 3 priorities for the next day. When you wake up in the morning, think again about these top 3 priorities for the day ahead. Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: Why should we bother with priorities? When we have a clear picture of what is most important to us, we have a guide by which to judge the best actions to take. We need to have clear priorities so we can establish action steps to ensure we meet the priorities. To get yourself started, think about today. What would have been your top three priorities of things you needed to do today? What would be your top three priorities for tomorrow? TODAY S PRIORITIES TOMORROW S PRIORITIES
19 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Realistic Time Estimates Time Management Technique 2 Page 1 Using this technique: When? Any time you need to complete a piece of work by a deadline or have a large number of tasks to complete in a short period of time. How? - list the tasks or steps you need to complete - estimate by thinking about past experiences how long it will take you to complete each task - multiply this time estimate by 1.5 -attheendofthe time, compare your estimate with how long it actually took in order to improve your ability to estimate accurately Why? The more realistic you are able to make your time estimates the more effective use you can make of the time available to you. Could you benefit from this technique? 1. When you allocate time to complete a piece of work, does it: a) take longer than you expect? b) take roughly the time you thought? c) take less time than you thought? (the most common answer to this question is a) 2. When things take longer than you think, what is the main reason: a) you waste time on distractions instead of working b) you have difficulty with the work and get stuck c) you are overly optimistic about the time it will take d) you haven t fully understood exactly what the task entails e) you aren t really thinking about how long it will take. You are thinking about how much time you have or would like to spend on the task. Something to think about: We all know there are 24 hours in the day with 60 minutes in each hour but now and then time seems to race by without warning and somehow you end up with far less hours than you expected. Time is relative to what is happening in your life. If you are facing a deadline, time flies by, but if you are waiting for something pleasurable, it seems to slow to a crawl. You can harness the power of a deadline by imposing mini-deadlines upon yourself to help you achieve your goals. Put reminders up around your room wherever you are most likely to see them and in your diary and books of the things you need to complete. 3
20 Time Management Technique 2 Page 2 About this technique: Compile a list of the things you need to do or the steps you need to take. Then estimate how long each task will take. Now go back and multiply each number by 1.5. If the total time required is simply outrageous compared to the time you have available to you then you have two choices. * See where you can find more time: get up early for a few days, go to your school library for a few lunchtimes, watch just a bit less TV, waste just a bit less time when you first come home from school: if you need more time you can usually find it somewhere. * The second choice is to decide if you can reasonably cut any corners. There are levels in everything you do. You can hand in an assignment that barely scrapes through, one that has made a good solid attempt, or one that has dotted every I and crossed every T. Of course we d all like to be able to go for the fully completed assignment, but the reality is that sometimes we need to make choices about what we can realistically do in the time available. The point is to make good choices, sensible choices and choices that allow you to make the best use of the time available to you. What can you leave out or do at a slightly lower level? Decide that if it comes to crunch time, what can you sacrifice? What could be left to another day? Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: No matter whether you use sophisticated tools like a palm pilot or simple things like a table drawn up on a page, realistic time scheduling is a fundamental concept for time management. To get yourself started, think about the homework you have to complete tonight. In the space below, list the tasks you need to complete, estimate the time it will take, and after completing the task write down how long it actually took. TASK TIME ESTIMATE TIME TAKEN 4
21 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES The ABC System Time Management Technique 3 Page 1 Using this technique: When? When you are feeling overwhelmed by all the work you need to complete or you have alargepieceofwork like an assignment to tackle. How? -lookatthework you need to do and decide what the most urgent tasks are - for assignments, break the task down and decide what the first steps are that you need to take - prioritise the steps into A B C - complete step A fully before moving onto step B or any other task - complete A B and C before re-evaluating what needs to be done next 1. Have you ever: Could you benefit from this technique? a) had a really important piece of work to do and did everything except that task? b) just jumped back and forth between a number of pieces of work without achieving anything much? c) felt overwhelmed by everything you needed to do and were unable to actually start anything? d) stared at the assignment you needed to do and not started because it just felt too big to start? Something to think about: Research has confirmed that when you have many thingscompetingfor your attention and many things to do, ranking them according to their importance and then working on each item in order until it is completed is the most efficient way to work. Why? By narrowing your focus to the most urgent tasks and completing these fully you are making the most efficient use of your time. It is better to break tasks down into manageable steps that are easier to tackle. There is no point worrying about the huge amount you need to complete all this does is makes you stressed and unable to get anything completed. Instead, choose 3 specific tasks to complete. Don t think about anything else until you have completed these tasks. Once these are done, choose the next 3. 5
22 Time Management Technique 3 Page 2 About this technique: The ABC technique is all about finding a focus. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do or the enormity of an assignment, you decide on Step A, Step B and Step C and then focus solely on completing these in order not moving onto the next step until the first one on the list is completed. Once these three are completed, you then decide the next ABC to take. If you have a number of large assignments to do, you may decide to determine what is the ABC or first three steps for each task. Then allocate a time to work on each of these assignments. Be strict with yourself and don t move onto step C until step B is completed or step B until step A is completed. Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: In the time you spend worrying about everything you need to do you could have completed a large number of the tasks that you have been worrying about. To get yourself started, think about an assignment, large piece of homework, or an upcoming test. Describe the task: What are some of the things you will need to do for this task (list as many as you can think of): What are the first three things or most important steps for this task: A. B. C. 6
23 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Change Tactics Time Management Technique 4 Page 1 Using this technique: When? When you have a big task to do and are struggling to find the motivation to work on it or are wasting too much time on distractions away from the task. How? -alternatebetween two distinct time periods - in one time period you focus solely on the big task you need to work on - in the other time period you do the more fiddly pieces of work or distracting things and allow yourself a bit of a mental break Why? You will find this works much better than spending most of the night doing all the bits and pieces then getting to 9pm and realising you have done nothing on your big assignment. Could you benefit from this technique? Have you ever come home from school knowing that you really must do some work on an assignment or a large piece of homework and even though you know how urgent it is, somehow you just can t force yourself to start it? It gets later and later and before you know it the evening is almost over and you still haven t started the piece of work. Place a cross on the scale below to show how often this happens to you... never not often sometimes pretty often all the time Something to think about: Depending on how motivated you are feeling, the ratio of how long you spend on the main task and the small tasks changes. If you feel quite into it spend 45 minutes on the project and 15 minutes just doing bits and pieces and having a bit of a break. If you are not as motivated, go for 30/30 split. And if you are really struggling go for 20/20. This is where you imagine your backside glued to the seat for 20 minutes and you MUST work on the main project for that time. Then you have a 20 minute break to do other things. Then back to the project again. The good thing about this technique is sometimes you get on a roll and actually go over the 20 minutes. 7
24 Time Management Technique 4 Page 2 About this technique: One way you can use change is when you are trying to work on a large task. Change the tactics you use to get yourself working on this task. At times you ll find you need a break from these big important tasks that you are working on. This is when you do all those bits and pieces - smaller things that are fiddly, time-consuming and probably not as important. If you need a bit of a mental break from a big project, work on it for a set period of time then allow yourself another period of time to do all the fiddly less mentally draining tasks. Decide in advance what your time periods will be for working on the big task and having a break with the smaller tasks. Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: It is much easier to work on the simple small tasks that you could quite happily spend the whole night on rather than the big important piece of work that you really should be doing. Many students end up totally neglecting the more important task by becoming caught up in more fiddly time-consuming activities. What big piece of work are you having difficulty starting, working on or completing? What other small (and easier) tasks do you need to do tonight? They do not have to be solely activities for school. Circle what ratio you will work on tonight. The first number is the minutes you ll spend on your big piece of work and then you will change activities for the second number. 45/15 30/30 20/20 or other ratio: 8
25 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Fighting Procrastination Using this technique: Time Management Technique 5 Could you benefit from this technique? Page 1 When? When you find you are spending too much time on distractions and interruptions and not spending time on your work. How? - recognise that you are putting off the task - make a decision to start a particular step of the task at a certain time and aim to complete it by a certain time - eliminate distractions and minimise interruptions during this time period Why? Giving yourself permission to enjoy the procrastination and the feeling of doing nothing up to a particular time takes away any niggling feelings of guilt you might be feeling. Having a specific goal of exactly what you want to achieve and when you will do it helps you win out against procrastination. Tick any of the following thoughts that you have experienced before: I just can t be bothered doing any work. I ll start at the end of this program. I ll do it tomorrow. It won t matter if I leave it till later. I ll just do this first then I ll start it. I ll do it later. I ll start in a minute. Something to think about: It s really easy to fall prey to distractions. Think back to life in your grandparents day: there was much less distraction. Their choices were playing marbles or plucking the chicken for the evening s dinner. They certainly could not cope with the information overload we deal with every day. We live in a society that is incredibly focused on entertainment and finding more and more ways to keep us amused and interested. More than 2000 new websites go up every day. There are over 50 different TV series you can become addicted to. How can we not be distracted by this? Our world today doesn t help develop our attention span either. We are used to constant change in our activities and have trouble remaining focused. 9
26 Time Management Technique 5 Page 2 About this technique: If you are dawdling, engaged in trivia, or diverting your attention into other directions, you are procrastinating and avoiding the task at hand. The first step is to recognise and become aware that you are doing this. Your second step is to set a specific goal. Make the decision to start one particular step of the task at a certain time and aim to finish it by a certain time. Give yourself permission to procrastinate all you like up to that point. When it is time to start, remove from view the items you are being distracted by. Focus only on that task for the set period. Although an interruption or distraction might only be a few minutes, the recovery time to get back on track and become absorbed in the task again can take double the time. Eliminate distractions and keep interruptions to a minimum. Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: I know I checked my 5 minutes ago but I ll just check again in case someone has just sent something and while I m checking I ll just send off this quick message and see if anyone is online What specific part of a task would you like to complete but keep putting off: Estimate how long this task will take: Make a decision as to exactly when you will start this task: DATE: DAY: START TIME: FINISH TIME: 10
27 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Learn From Others Time Management Technique 6 Page 1 Using this technique: When? Any time you feel you need some extra help in time management. How? -thinkaboutthe people you know and the areas in which they have skills - make a time to talk with friends or family to learn how they deal with problems they face in managing their time OR -getagroupof friends together to work after school and watch, listen and learn from how other people work Why? Not only will you learn from others but by working in a group situation you are more likely to use your time effectively. Could you benefit from this technique? Consider your friends and family. Can you think of someone who is: - organised - disciplined - motivated - hard-working - enthusiastic - thorough Something to think about: Have you noticed how if you only have one thing to do and lots of time to do it in it seems to drag on and take forever? The task expands to fill the available space. But if you have millions of things to do and limited time in which to do them suddenly you are very switched on and focused. So we need to tap into that energy without having to wait until last minute deadlines. One way to do this is to learn how other people deal with this common problem. Talk to your friends, your siblings, your parents observe what other people do. Do they set specific targets? Do they put reminders around the house? Do they put minideadlines on themselves? Do they use rewards to help themselves find this energy? 11
28 Time Management Technique 6 Page 2 About this technique: There are many ways you can learn from other people with the aim of improving your time management skills. One method is to find a group of like-minded individuals and do homework together. Maybe you can go to a local library or use your school library after school. Perhaps some people in the group are very organised and systematic in the way they approach their work. Perhaps they work in a really efficient way. Not only can you learn from how other people work, but by working in a group you are often more motivated to complete tasks and are more likely to stay on task and not fall prey to the distractions you face at home. Talk to older siblings, friends and even parents: you could be amazed at the tips you will pick up. Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: Having a friend or parent who helps you stay on track and to whom you can report your progress is a valuable tool. Tell them what you plan to do and ask them to check in with you at a specific time: use the power of other people to keep you on track. List some areas in which you need to improve (eg organisation, being able to complete work, fighting procrastination): List some friends or family who you suspect would be good at these skills: Decide exactly when you are going to sit down with them and either talk about how you could improve and how they deal with difficulties or do some work together: 12
29 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Smart Time Use Time Management Technique 7 Page 1 Using this technique: When? Every time before you start to use a block of time it only takes a few minutes. How? - consider the amount of time available to you - consider how fresh and alert you feel - consider the different activities or tasks you need to do -decidewhatthe BEST use would be of the time block you have Could you benefit from this technique? 1. When are you most alert? a) morning b) afternoon c) evening 2. On average, at what time in the evening do you start to get tired and find it difficult to concentrate? 3. Is the first piece of homework you do: a) the hardest one b) the easiest one 4. Is the first piece of homework you do from the subject you like: a) the least b) the most 5. Do you think much about which piece of homework is best to do when? a) yes b) sometimes c) no Something to think about: Why? Many students just start work on a task without considering what the best use would be of their time. If you are tired and having difficulty concentrating, don t try and study for a test, instead do some homework that is less mentally strenuous. When you are alert, do the hardest or most challenging tasks in this timeslot rather than leaving them until later when you are tired. Working smarter doesn t necessarily mean you come up with some amazingly clever and unique idea that saves you hour upon hour of time. It can simply mean that you take the time to think about what you want to do before rushing into it in order to see if you are approaching it in the most effective way, and to ensure you have everything at hand that you will need to complete the task. This then increases your chances of completing the task quickly and efficiently with the least hassle possible. Planning the best use of your time rather than just drifting along from afternoon to evening helps you use time more efficiently and allows you to have more time to do the things you really want to do. 13
30 Time Management Technique 7 Page 2 About this technique: To make sure you are using the time available wisely always ask yourself the following question. What would be the best use of my time right here, right now at this point in time? Strangely enough, this might not always be sitting at your desk. A good strategy when facing a challenging task is to take a short bit of time to organise everything, look through the material and think about what you need to do. The best thing to do next might actually be to go for a walk and let your subconscious mind process the ideas so that when you come back you are fresh and invigorated and ready to get into it. It is all about changing your perspective to increase your personal productivity. The question is no longer What do I feel like doing? or What do I want to do? The question has become What would be the best use of this time block available to me?. Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: Don t waste peak performance times on less challenging tasks. Match how alert and switched on you are to the task. Do tasks that require concentration in time periods when you are at your optimum concentration level. Next to the timeslots available to you this evening, write down whether you are likely to be HIGH, MEDIUM or LOW in your ability to concentrate. Then look through your homework and assign tasks that require lots of thinking to HIGH periods of time and tasks that are simpler and more routine to LOW periods. 4-5pm 5-6pm 6-7pm 7-8pm 8-9pm 9-10pm 14
31 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Using Visualisation Time Management Technique 8 Page 1 Using this technique: When? Any time you are feeling anxious about what you need to do or complete, or want to ensure you use a block of time most efficiently. How? - close your eyes and create a positive mental picture where you see yourself doing what needs to be done -pictureeverything going smoothly and yourself completing everything you need to do in the time available Why? Our subconscious mind is incredibly powerful. It will take the pictures we feed it and work towards making these a reality. By visualising exactly what you want to happen, your mind will work towards making it a reality. Put a cross to mark where you would be on each of the scales below: Your thoughts are mostly: Happy postive thoughts Negative unhappy thoughts You are mostly an: Could you benefit from this technique? Optimistic person Pessimistic person Something to think about: Visualisation is an amazing technique. Many sports stars use this before their sporting activity to ensure they are focused on achieving their goals. They make a mental picture or a movie of what they want to happen and play it on the screen of their mind. The more detail they can add to the picture the more real it feels. A golfer will visualise a perfect swing and watch as the ball arcs through the air to the hole. A basketballer will see themselves jumping through the air and the ball landing in the basket. Have you ever noticed how what you think about tends to happen? If you are thinking about how something won t work or how you can t do something, be careful - it can become a reality! 15
32 Time Management Technique 8 Page 2 About this technique: Many students are sceptical about this technique but once they actually try it they are usually converted. To make more efficient use of time, before you start work visualise exactly what you need to do and see yourself achieving it and completing all the tasks. The aim is to create a very detailed and positive image where you can picture yourself being efficient and focused and completing everything you need to do in the time available. Your subconscious mind will start to work towards making this picture a reality. It works the other way too. If you start thinking negative thoughts and feeling worried that you won t complete everything or you won t be able to be focused then guess what this actually happens! Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: Every idea and every action started in a thought. If you want something to happen, think about it, visualise it and picture it. Too many people spend time thinking about the things they don t want rather than the things they do. 1. Before you start your homework tonight, take a minute or so to sit and close your eyes and think about the work you need to do. Create a clear mental picture of yourself doing the work and completing everything efficiently and with ease. 2. Start taking note of the quality of your thoughts. Are you thinking positive mental thoughts like I can do this, I will finish this tonight, or does your mind keep moving towards less constructive thoughts like I ll never get all this done, There is just too much to do or I just can t make myself get focused on this. 3. Every time you think a negative thought, turn it into a positive thought. For example, I ll never get this done becomes I can get xyz done tonight and I will be able to do the rest tomorrow. 16
33 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Conquer the Clutter Time Management Technique 9 Page 1 Using this technique: When? On a regular basis at the end of each evening before you go to bed. How? - sort through the material on your workspace -throwaway (or recycle) any rubbish -fileawayanything you are finished with -putneatlyintopiles the things you need to work on tomorrow Could you benefit from this technique? 1. Is your workspace organised and uncluttered? 2. Do you have shelves or drawers etc for filing? 3. Can you always find everything you need? 4. Do you waste time looking for things? 5. Do you paste in sheets and file away handouts? 6. Do you sort everything out at the end of the day? 7. Do you attempt to control the clutter in your room? Why? When the first thing you have to do before you start work is to rearrange the clutter, you are making it much more difficult for yourself to start and make the best use of your time. Something to think about: When you keep your workspace decluttered you feel more energetic, energised and inspired to work. Ending the day with things sorted, cleared and prepared ready to go for the next day gives you a good sense of closure and a feeling of completion. Coming the next day to a clearly organised work space makes it easier to focus on what is important for that day rather than having to deal with the leftovers of the previous day. This gives you greater energy, focus and direction. Chaos in your room tends to make you feel out of control. Everything on your desktop should be there for a reason. Have things you use daily and on a recurring basis like stationery ready at hand. Anything not being used daily, stick into a drawer. You want to keep an open working space. 17
34 Time Management Technique 9 About this technique: It is hard to manage things stacked up in huge piles all over the place or scattered haphazardly across your desk. Allow yourself a set amount of time to go through the piles and papers on (and around) your desk at the end of the day. For everything you pick up decide to either a) trash it; b) file it; c) act on it now; d) leave it for tomorrow. Take the time to file and put away the excess papers. Don t leave them till later as they will just mount up and become more and more uninspiring. Make clear piles for work you need to do the next day one way to do this is to put neat piles on your floor so you can clearly see the jobs for tomorrow. You can also arrange the piles in order of importance so the next day you know exactly what you need to start on. Summarise this technique into the three main steps in your own words: Page 2 Clutter that starts off small seems to expand until it has a life of its own. Deal with clutter by organising and filing your papers regularly. Remember, filing is not about storage it is about retrieval: about being able to find something quickly and easily when you need it. Allocate an hour this week to reduce the clutter in your room and working space. 1) First ensure you have a clear deskspace to work on. Get rid of stationery that you aren t using every day by placing it in a desk drawer or aplastic storage tub. 2) Clear space for a noticeboard or find somewhere you can prominently place important pieces of paper or notes. 3) Look at where you store things for school. Do you need to buy some more folders? Are the folders you have labelled clearly? At the end of each evening this week, take minutes to sort through what is on your desk and either a) trash it; b) file it; c) act on it now; or d) sort it into clear priority piles for tomorrow. 18
35 TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Optimal Study State Using this technique: Time Management Technique 10 Could you benefit from this technique? Page 1 When? If you have a weekend or an evening when you need to do quite a lot of work, use this technique to ensure you can maximise the time available to you. How? - ensure you have had a decent night s sleep -eatreallywellthat day: healthy food like fruit and veg, carbs -haveregularbreaks every half hour or so and get some fresh air -haveaplanbefore you start that has both work time and leisure times scheduled Why? When students have lots of work to do or exams to study for they sometimes decide to do things like stay up really late and try and work all day long without realising that they are making themselves less effective. As a result it will take them much longer to do anything compared to working while in an optimal study state. Put a cross to mark where you would be on each of the scales below: Your eating habits are: Very Healthy OK Unhealthy Overall your lifestyle (health, sleep, exercise, breaks) is: Balanced OK Unbalanced Something to think about: To improve your effectiveness, you can implement a number of simple techniques. Take a short break every half hour or so. This is vital. Most people cannot maintain their attention span for longer than this and if they remain at their desk their efficiency will reduce dramatically. A break also gives your brain time to absorb the information you have been studying before moving onto the new information. If you try and cram everything in at once, the information will not move into your long-term memory and will be quickly forgotten. Also ensure you drink lots of water when studying as dehydration causes short term memory loss. Where possible have fresh air coming into your room or take breaks where you can suck up much needed oxygen. 19