Outwitting the Thief of Time

Chances are – if your great grandma was Australian – she spent the formative years of education carefully copying out ‘Procrastination is the Thief of Time’ in her best cursive. These days, we have motor cars, computers and YouTube which all threaten to still away our precious time.

Here are some ideas to harness time to your advantage

1. Procrastination be gone!

Watch one of the good, helpful YouTube video on why you procrastinate (the task seems all too big and overwhelming?) and then ask yourself what you can achieve in the next 5 minutes. Then start. Right now. For five minutes.

The key here is to not procrastinate by attacking procrastination head on.

2. ‘You eat an elephant, one bite at a time’

It all adds up. Spend 10 minutes a day summarising the main points you have learnt, for one of your subjects, this week. Chipping away at the Mount Everest in front of you, is not as daunting as breaking out the mental TNT, and it all adds up…

3. ‘Stop Nesting, Start Studying’

This beautiful concept, nestled amongst the pro-tips included in the link below, can be good to remember, if you find yourself unable to start anything until you have all of your coloured highlighters in rainbow order, on your desk. While a tidy, efficient workspace is a great way to lift your mood and cue your mind to focus…there comes a time when fluffing the pillows needs to be tossed aside…

http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-7-dumbest-things-students-do-when-cramming-exams/

4. Live at the Library…

Great for avoiding the urge to redecorate your room, and great for avoiding social gatherings you would rather attend. I use a little suitcase with wheels, to transport loads of library books. Socially awkward, yes…but pretty sure both great-grandma and the average chiropractor, would approve.

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5. Smell the roses… while you are jogging past…

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Daily exercise really is an investment in better sleep, reduced stress, and more mental alertness. Aim for 30 minutes. Not a huge part of your day. If you can manage a walk in the morning sunlight, so much the better. Consider a brisk walk around the tranquil Japanese Gardens. Connecting with Nature, and getting your blood circulating is a great way to multi-task.

6. Multi-task and Multi-media

Look for sensible, productive ways to do two things at once. Download lectures and listen on bus trips. Walk on the treadmill while listening to lectures or watching relevant documentaries. Break out the coloured pens and butcher’s paper, and affix the main points to your wall, with stick figure cartoons – for fun *and* study, simultaneously.

7. Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Having a daily timetable and diary seems really basic…yet, used to maximum advantage, stops that time slip-sliding away, never to return…

8. Real World in Real Time

Challenge the soothing sense of connectedness offered by Facebook, and meet up with your friends in real life – maybe even have Study Gatherings together. If you live at College, make maximum use of Study Hall. Keep each other honest and focused, and motivated. Encourage. Empathise.

Seek out friends and family with Real World features such as cuddly kittens, and build these little purring stress reducers into your busy week.

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9. The Ol’ Cost-Benefit Analysis

Remember why you are at uni. Where do you want to be in 5 years? What will you be able to do (have a great career, afford to buy rather than rent your dream home?) in the years ahead?

Do a quick search of literacy rates globally, and reflect that – even though sometimes it seems never-ending and laborious – education is a privilege. Try to recapture the enjoyment you felt in learning, as a child. Do your best to work hard, in gratitude for your life opportunities.

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If this doesn’t help…think of all the chocolate you will be able to purchase, when you use your degree to be gainfully employed.

Do you have any never-fail time management and motivation strategies which work for you? Please let me know, below!

Party vs Study

Study or Party? This is a dilemma that has plagued many university students throughout the years and no doubt will continue to be a problem for students in the future. It’s a topic that no one person can provide an exact answer for, factors such as time, competence and situation dramatically impacting the answer. This should make you question the main fundamental goal of a university student which is to achieve an academic education however we can’t help but consider that guilty pleaser. No one understood this more so than Tom Petty who quotes

“You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends”.

As a recent university graduated who wouldn’t classify himself as a party animal I still can’t help but agree to an extent with both sides however, you be the judge on this topic.

For you to properly judge the choice between the life of a social butterfly in and the life of a uni student who places study before anything else this blog will look at two things:

  1. The physiological reason why we choose party over academic
  2. And look at procrastination which fundamentally the core of party or Study.

The Why

We look at the decisions we make between a short term and a long term reward based on the perceived reward value associated with each possible action. Before I continue I’d like to acknowledge these concepts are based off an article (One Candy Bar or Two? Party or Study? Procrastination Decisions) written by Ira Hyman who uses a clever example to explain why some times party comes before party.

The article cleverly uses an example of a child who was given a choice on a Monday morning whether he/she would prefer their candy bars be distributed either one on Thursday and the other Friday, or to receive two on Friday. Results showed that while the child chose two candy bars on the Friday valuing that as the better option, as the days passed and Thursday came the child’s valuing suddenly changed to preferring the candy bar Thursday and Friday. The idea of receiving the reward at the present outweighed an intangible reward later the next day. Anyway for those who are wondering just what I’m talking about here’s a diagram to explain.

Working Towards the Reward

Let the blue line be the reward on Thursday and Friday and the yellow line be the big reward on Friday.

This can be related back to university students, say there’s a test Friday and their going to party after it finishes on the Friday afternoon, they know there will be another party on the Thursday. Does he/she study through Thursday feel more confident about the test and go all out on the Friday night party or do they go for the second party as well and spend money and study time that perhaps hinders Friday a bit? The choice is yours?

If you would like to check out this article yourself, feel free:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-mishaps/201010/one-candy-bar-or-two-party-or-study-procrastination-decisions

Procrastination

Now, the boring section about procrastination, where I talk about ‘strategies to realistically manage the distractions that are bound to arise in a busy person’s schedule.’

I could give example such as:

  • close the door
  • turn off the mobile phone
  • prepare a schedule for your study session with beginning and ending times
  • take strategic study breaks so you can still pay bills, go to the gym, pick children up from school and make important phone calls
  • keep a blank ‘procrastination pad’ on the desk for jotting to remind you to think more about non-study things later, after your study period.

However I found an interesting video that will explain it better than I ever could:

To save this blog from getting too serious I’ve also added this video, Enjoy!:

And there you have it. I hope this at the very least has given you a better understanding of the age old battle of study vs party. It makes you wonder whether it all comes to this:

college-you-only-can-choose-two

So the question that all university students must ask themselves:

What are you going to choose? Part or Study?