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!

Studying Externally

This is one of the huge choices to make when you come to University, as the allure of the Uni lifestyle is heavily influenced by the fact that, legend says, there is no punishment for not attending classes, and some courses can even be taken without classes, or, as the educated refer to it: Externally. I personally fell victim to the consideration that I could, in fact, do a class online, and never have to attend a class for that subject again!

Admittedly, my first year proved this impossible, as, in a theatre degree, roughly one in 27 classes is offered externally, and those that are, are rather different courses than their on-campus counterparts. Nonetheless, I had attempted to find a course that I could do externally to “lessen my workload” and this is something that I feel many students fall victim to early in their university careers.


I myself experienced the naivety of my own thinking when I, needing to do an elective and not wanting to do it while in second semester of third year, the busiest time in a Theatre Kids’ degree, decided to take Foundation Psychology A. Several of my fellow 3rd year Theatre kids also attempted this course, and did so with the same naivety that I had come to hold dear. Our first clue that this course would be difficult should have been made plain in the name, of the course of study- Psychology. Psychology, after all, is a science, and we failed to recognize that this would mean that we would be undertaking a particularly difficult subject.

Nonetheless, we soldiered on, enrolled, and prepared ourselves for the first assessment. It was hard, much harder than we had expected, but we managed. Next, was the second assignment. It was hard, harder than the first, but not so hard that we couldn’t manage it. Then came the third assignment. The third assignment was hardest, and managing was no longer an option. It was at this moment that the fear set in. The realization that I needed a solid grade on the exam to pass the course instilled a horror so deep within my soul that I realized my genuine mistake. I had failed to account for the difficulty of this course, and, while experiencing the weird blend of holiday and work mode, was having a very hard time getting the appropriate amount of work done.

Now came the period of study, the most study, in fact, that I’d ever managed to do for an exam. This was primarily because I had, in fact, failed to perform any of the course study up until this point, and was hoping to manage a pass based on a grueling weekend of hardcore study. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for them, my study buddies had similarly failed to prepare themselves for the exam, and this meant that the lot of us crowded together to study. The moral for this is kind of all the same: Study and Learning is easier with people around you, be that in the form of your friends who are equally incompetent at time management, or the fellow people around you in the lecture hall. Know what you’re getting yourself into, plan ahead, manage your time.

 

And remember kids, Psychology is a science.

Time Management (From a Creative Artist’s Perspective)

Yes I know, there are millions of these “Time management” things on the web and probably several scattered throughout this very website. But how many are specifically focused from a Creative Artist’s point of view? We all have our unique methods of dealing with time management and I’m going to share with you some of my particular struggles and solutions.

Time Management

Uni is a lot different to high school, as we aren’t forced by the threat of punishment for wagging a class. Some lecturers mark an attendance role in certain classes just to ensure that people aren’t missing out on important information, however, for the majority of the classes, it’s entirely up to you to attend class and get your work done. The difference I guess is that you are studying one course that you are interested in unlike high school where there could be 5 other subjects that you are doing purely because they’re compulsory. Thus you become self-motivated to attend classes. Thankfully, you can log onto study desk and get a weekly refreshed timetable of the classes for that week. This helps a lot for planning and is a very good place to start.

Now, if you’re in creative arts, here’s where things get tricky. Be it Music, Theater, Creative Media or Visual Arts, there is always rehearsal or work to do outside of the timetabled classes. I study Music major with a minor in Creative Media so I’m specifically speaking from my experiences with these. I am involved with several ensemble groups with music and within creative media I have had to spend many late hours forfeiting sleep to get projects done.

Somewhere in there I need to do my own personal practice, actually get some sleep (I’m not invincible) get outside-of-class work done, do gigs, live the social side of college life by getting involved in the Res Shield events and simply live life.

My SOLUTION! Here’s what I have found to be the most effective method. You need to get your hands on a massive wall calendar, whether it’s a Redfrogs or a USQ one, get yourself a calendar. When I’m emailed about events to play at or workshops to prepare for, when there are important events to attend, when assignment due dates are released, WRITE THEM ON THE CALENDAR. The lie people always tell themselves is “I don’t need to make a note of that. I’ll remember it.” Seriously the calendar will help you remember and plan.

Redfrogs Uni Planner

This leads me to my next method. Get yourself a little “Things To Do” whiteboard. There is nothing more satisfying than wiping off reminders as you finish tasks. Your trusty calendar will show general big reminders but your whiteboard will help you remember the specifics for each day.

Things to do planner

With the possession of these two items, you are bound to be more productive and remember a lot more important dates. You’ll find this really helpful and important when doing assignments and being seen as a professional and turning up to rehearsals.

How do you manage your time?