Running behind time is soooooooo easy. One minute you have all the time in the world and the next you realize you barely have an hour or more to the moment you have been waiting for. It’s kind of frustrating to be late or not meet up.Especially, when it’s something very important. On top of that, imagine knowing that you are going to be late on your project or even a presentation. That would be some hell of a big deal. Add to the fact that a lot of supervisors do not take it lightly to let you be the deciding factor and you have a picture in your mind’s eye that brings a scowl on your face. Now imagine if that were a reality. Of course that will be way below par with what you want or the picture you would love. There is something about poor time management that rubs us all the wrong way. For one, it makes you feel like a looser. I have not yet met anyone who is comfortable to know that they are turning up late at an extremely important schedule that does not feel horrible. In fact, in most cases, ‘horrible’ will be an understatement. Besides, you don’t want to have a run in with your supervisor for being late on submissions right? So how about we discuss how to manage your time better? Here we go. Let us find out some ways to meet up with your time:
HAVE A DRAFT: What do you want to do? Sit down and start drafting. Have an outline that guides you. Summarize in a small, short form the structure of your project. What you wish to do. At this stage, what you really should focus on is to have the title and the chapters written out as a guide. Just make little notes to aid you on your thought line. You really don’t have to go into details. If you itemize them like this, it will make it easier for you to highlight fully or expatiate later. Usually it is a way of trying to get you and your mind to start working on your project. Instead of just living in your imagination, by doing a short draft you have successfully moved your Project into reality. You must note that this is different from having an action plan. HAVE AN ACTION PLAN: Use a calendar to plan a chart. What do you want to do at a specific point and when? Realize that waiting for your supervisor to give you a heads up on when you should submit your work at any stage means that there is a possibility you may lag behind. So do not let this happen. State how long it should last and allot a time frame on it. This will guide you towards how and when each target should be implemented. I personally use this a lot on my work schedules and it helps me a great deal. You might prefer to use a POST-IT, they are very colourful. (Colours have a way of calling your attention). Especially when they contrast perfectly from the background where you place them. Strategically position them in a place you will always look or go to: In front of your computer or laptop; on your fridge; on your bathroom door or door to your loo (That is if you live alone. Of course you do know it will be crazy to plaster everyone’s faces with your activity right?). Well, by the time you start submitting chapters upon chapters of your work, you will have very little work pressure compared to not having an action plan at all and if you need to effect any corrections that your supervisor advices, you will find that it becomes easier and not too stressful; as is the case when you are pressed for time.
KEEP A REMINDER: Use your phone. It is called a mobile phone and usually you take it everywhere you go. I love it when my phone beeps to remind me about something I need to do in the next few minutes, next hour or so depending on how I set it up. I would recommend that you give yourself at least thirty minutes ahead of each agenda so that you have more time. Also, depending on where you will be at a certain point in time you should be able to assess whether your time could be extended further to accommodate a preparation. For instance if what you need to do demands that you get home to pick up something or change gears, you should set your alert for perhaps an hour to give you enough room to do just that. It is a great asset for the work of an assistant and you do not have to pay an assistant’s salary at all. Just log into the calendar your reminder for when you want the alert and the rest is history. Your project work will benefit tremendously if you utilize this asset that is your mobile phone. Believe me.
BE DESCIPLINED: It’s important that you understand how needful it should be that you be disciplined. Take for instance the scenario that your phone starts beeping; you take a look at it, read what it's saying and stick it back into your pocket without doing anything about it. Or better still, the scenario that you have drafted out your action plan and allotted time frames on it, but don’t get around to actually following through on your targets? Of course that would mean that you are not disciplined enough to be committed to your own success. So yes, you must be disciplined to ensure you work according to plan and push yourself to follow through with what is necessary. FIND THE TIME YOU WORK BEST: If you are wondering how this can impact on your time management, consider the fact that you do more work at those times that you find it easier and motivated enough to put in some work on your project. For instance, if you prefer a serene atmosphere and find it more pleasurable to work at night without much disturbance and distractions, you will notice that the energy to do more at those times means that you get more done. So reiteratively, the outcome is that whenever you work at night you turnover more at that time of the night than during the day. Maybe you might have a pile of work that ends up disappearing after you put in a decent duration of night time. By all means use that knowledge to your advantage and leverage on it. When your project work becomes that beautiful piece of work in your school’s library your immense efforts will have paid off. Finding the time you work best and leveraging on it will save you tons of hours. By the time you quantify the hours you have saved for yourself, you will realize how far you have come with effective time management. Clap for yourself later (don’t forget me too… now am smiling). CHECK IN WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR AT EVERY STAGE: One of the biggest mistake you can make after saving yourself time by implementing all of the above is by not checking in with your supervisor at every stage. You don’t want to do that and ruin the great job you are trying to do. Keep in touch. Keeping in touch with your supervisor is a great way of keeping the communication line open. Aside from that, in cases of new information, you get to hear them on time. It does not mean that you are sucking up to him or her. It will enhance the quick delivery you have targeted for your timeline. Need I tell you will also be any supervisor’s ideal candidate? ... *wink*. BE EARLY FOR YOUR PRESENTATION: And when the time for your presentation comes, repeat the processes that brought you this far to be absolutely prepared and on time. Go to bed early the day before, so that you will be fully refreshed at the dawn of your 'D' day. Make sure you have a head start in the morning to run through your entire work. Envisage your presentation and the kind of questions it could attract. Practice calmness and use the time you have been given for the presentation of your project work to schedule yourself. Arrive early and don’t be late. You should be looking dapper. Go buddy! Well, we have come a long way. I should hope the end justifies the means at this point. You want to be that person who has everything planned accordingly and implemented successfully and on time right? I trust that this will go a long way to making you that person. Obviously this list is not an exhaustive one. Feel free to share your insights too. Good luck on becoming that pro with time management.