Tuesday, 5 May 2015

9. How efficient and effective are we in our time?

 P.S: this blog supports the fact that time-management strategies are for individuals who realize that they waste time - who want to know how to prioritize and use time wisely.

Blogpost 3 titled "Time-Management" communicates the strategies of how one can manage their time: the weekly planner obtained from the Work-readiness Skills Program helps to ascertain how many hours we have available to use in a week (excluding sleeping hours and hours spent to prepare for the day); and the time schedules shared by Mr Graeme CA(SA) help to ascertain how much time we have available to study, and how many hours we need to study.

After implementing the above strategies, I thought to myself that 24 hours is not enough. That's because there would be unexpected interruptions that would force me to divert from my weekly planner; making me shift some of the tasks I had planned to do. Consequently, some of the tasks get procrastinated because of not having enough time to attend to them OR not being able to complete them as efficiently as I should. The unfortunate thing that I discovered is that there is no time to do tasks of the previous week and that of the current week when the weekly planner of the current week caters for hours needed for the tasks of the current week.

P.S: tasks relate to those done during study time outside lectures. 

The weekly planner - example in Blogpost 3 - did help to ensure that I do not waste time. It also helped me to attend to all the tasks planned for the week. However the issue arises when it comes to effectiveness and efficiency: am I productive during the period for which I've set the tasks? Have I allocated enough time to ensure efficient completion of the tasks? Have I allocated too much or too little time? These need to be addressed in addition to the unexpected interruptions.

Interruptions come in various forms: they can be as minor as a message or email alert from a cellphone; or as major as a wedding to attend to. Minor interruptions can be avoided: a cellphone can be switched off or put on silent and put away. The occurrence of major events such as weddings are usually known in advance: we get a notification about the date and time of such events in advance. The question now is how do we ensure efficient completion of all the tasks that we had planned to do on the day of such events?

I have been attending a program called Emerging Leaders Program. It is one of the programs hosted by the Leadership and Responsibility department, which I spoke about in Blogpost 7. The program is designed for the development of leadership skills for students who want to grow, be challenged and be responsive and responsible citizens that this country needs. The leaders behind this program are Ms Tonia Overmeyer, Ms Monique Withering, Mr Arnold Mdepa, Mr Mario Meyer and Mr Theodore Sass.

The questions raised above and other matters were discussed in the sessions I had attended thus far:

Am I productive during the period for which I've set the tasks?
One of my most important tasks is post-reading. What I've discovered is that I am less productive during the period I've set aside for post-reading. Another issue is finding a form of post-reading that is effective for me: whether it's reading the textbook again, doing questions or watching summary videos on YouTube.

At the program, it was shared that completion of important tasks could be done during the period in which one's energy is high. I am mostly productive in the morning and during the day. I could post-read in the morning instead of in the evening.
With regards to the form of post-reading - that is something I have to discover on my own through practice and trying out of different methods to find one that works for me.

Have I allocated enough time to ensure efficient completion of the tasks? Have I allocated too much or too little time?
 Pre-reading is another task I do before lectures. There are instances where I'd finish pre-reading of a whole chapter; and there would be instances where I would not. Advice that was provided at the time-management sessions was to allocate a few more hours than initially allocated. This is the same thing that Mr Graeme CA(SA) said, as mentioned in Blogpost 3

How do we ensure that we complete all the tasks that we planned to complete on the day of a future event? 
As mentioned previously, one is notified about the date and time of a future event in advance. I recall Ms Withering saying that such events could be diarized. This way, one will be able to re-shuffle and make their schedule work for them, taking into account the occurrence of the event

 Other matters
To-do lists also help when it comes to using time wisely. After I started using to-do lists, I've realized that they help to ensure that I complete all the other little tasks that are not major but important - tasks that I cannot really allocate time to, tasks that come about unexpectedly. I would attend to such tasks whenever I have free time. Such tasks include completing a Curriculum Vitae, buying stationery or textbooks, etc.
Keeping a to-do list helps me to not forget the things I need to do. However, it is important to do important and urgent tasks first (as Mr Melane had said at the Work-readiness Skills Program - more details in Blogpost 3), especially when there isn't much time to do all tasks planned for the day.

A tip that was shared at the program is that we should not be overwhelmed about the large amount of little tasks that need to be done. They can be completed at certain intervals over a long period. The same goes for major tasks such as projects - it was shared that projects would be thoroughly completed over a period than in one day.

Time-management and efficient use of time can be perfected over time through practice.
Please feel free to share your views/ thoughts/ advice pertaining this topic on the comments section below.

Thanks so much for your time and consideration. Until next time :)

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