"I try so hard...I write lists, lists to follow lists...with due dates and times. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! I still haven't figured how to get things done on time! I wish I had learnt those skills from my school days along with the academics."
I was commisserating with a childhood friend of mine (I'm not phenomenal in this regard either but have improved since my school days). She was talking about her professional goals and where she wants to be in five years time.
Not many of us realize the importance of time management in our academic and professional advancement, let alone our emotional wellbeing. Every classroom has students who are always late with their papers/homework assignments; students who spend too much time on one part of the project and too little on other sections. Invariably, they cause and bear a lot of stress.
Say the teacher gives the class an assignment. The time needed to complete an assignment depends on several factors:
Is the assignment simple or comprehensive? The student has to gauge the time needed based on the grading/marks and the complexity of the assignment.
Is the subject of interest to the student? If it is an interesting topic it motivates the student to start work on the assignment. At the same time the student should keep the other factors in mind-complexity, sequence of task so that he /she doesn't spend too much or too little time.
Does the student have additional learning needs (LD, ADHD)? As we saw earlier, sustained attention is important to complete tasks.
Does the student know how to do task analysis? Each assignment has to be broken down into smaller tasks to be done in a sequence. The time required for the entire project is used up in smaller protions for each small task.
Does the student begin work on the assignment on time or is he/she a 'last minute' worker?
This is a very important skill not only in the classroom but in every other aspect of the student's lives. How many times do we hear mothers complain about their children not getting ready for school on time? How about waiting until the last minute to submit application forms? I knew a classmate of mine whose biology records were never submitted on time. Just before her Viva she had about fifteen pages to finish. Her friends were vey nice. They stayed up the night in her room and chatted-while she worked ofcourse:)