TECHNIQUES FOR PERSONAL TIME MANAGEMENT 1. 0 INTRODUCTION Time Management can be defined as the analysis of how working hours are utilized and the arrangement of tasks so as to maximise personal efficiency. (Collins English Dictionary, 2012) The only possible way of managing time effectively is when one has “Self-Management” which is basically accepting responsibility and not laying blame, and this can be done when a person is Motivated. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, only when a person fulfils the lower level needs and reaches the higher levels i. e. Self Esteem and Self Actualization can he be fully motivated to set goals.
Fig 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 2. 0 GOAL SETTING Goal setting is a powerful way of motivation. But not any goals that are set are motivating; they have to be SMART goals. SMART is a suitable acronym for the criteria that a goal must have in order to be achieved. The table below is an illustration of Locke’s theory of goal setting. SPECIFIC | Exactly what is it you want to achieve in your academic life and to what extent? A good goal should answer the question “which, what, who, where, when and why”| MEASURABLE| A good goal should be able to answer the questions “how much? or “how many” in order to be able to have a good track of progress and to measure the outcome. | ACHIEVABLE | A good goal should be attainable and not too far-fetched that it demotivates the person instead. This should answer the question “How can the goal be accomplished”| RESULT-ORIENTED| The goal set should be relevant and realistic in accordance to your strengths and weaknesses. (Breitsprecher, 2005)| TIME-RELATED| Every goal should be guarded within a time frame. This is the objective that gives urgency and importance of a certain project.
By setting a deadline you provide yourself with motivation to begin with your project and assist with the drive towards achieving it. | Fig. 2: Locke’s Goal Setting Theory Having clear SMART goals in place is required for efficient Personal Time Management. None of the goals however can be achieved if you do not know how to manage you time . 3. 0 TECHNIQUES FOR PERSONAL TIME MANAGEMENT The following are a few techniques for managing time effectively: 3. 1 EISENHOWER’S TIME MANAGEMENT MATRIX The Eisenhower Matrix is one of the simplest techniques that can make time management a lot easier.
The Matrix divides Important vs. Urgent tasks through four Quadrants (Andra, 2010). Fig 3: The Time Management Matrix From the figure, Urgent and Important: This is the Quadrant of Necessity; this involves all tasks that are emergencies and of utmost importance Not Urgent and Important: The Quadrant of Quality and Personal Leadership is the quadrant which is most important but is often neglected because most tasks involved aren’t urgent until it’s too late. Urgent and Not Important: Covey (1994, pp. 75-77) claims that most people spend a lot of time dealing with tasks in this quadrant.
It is mostly confused by tasks in the Quadrant of Necessity. A good way of differentiating between the two quadrants is by asking “Is this task related to my goals? ” Not Urgent and Not Important: The Quadrant of Waste, this contains all the time wasters. 3. 2 PARETO’S PRINCIPLE The Pareto Principle also known as the 80/20 principle is another technique for managing time, according to Koch (2008, pp. 11-13) 80% of your results comes from 20% of your actions. To implement the Pareto Principle when performing a task ask yourself “Is this task in the 20% that gives 80% result” if not, stop the task as it is a time waster.
Fig 4: 80/20 Principle 3. 3 THE 3P’s Carroll (2012) agrees that in order to accomplish as much as we can per day, it is important to consider the 3P’s. Firstly, Prioritise, know what is important to you. Next Plan, without planning and scheduling arises most problems with personal time management. Lastly, Perform, once you have set your schedule according to your priorities it is your responsibility to consequently perform the allotted tasks. 3. 4 POSEC METHOD POSEC is an acronym for Prioritise by Organizing, Stream-ling, Economizing and Contributing.
According to Steven Lam this method “gives the individual a realistic tool for setting priorities as they pertain to one’s own unique needs and life goals. ” (Lam, n. d). The following table elaborates more on the method: PRIORITISE| Put first things, first. (Covey, 2003 pp. 62-65) According to level of importance| ORGANIZING| An efficient and orderly way of conquering tasks| STREAM-LINING| Things you may not like to do but have to do| ECONOMISING| Things to be done that are enjoyable but not necessarily urgent (Lower on priority list) | CONTRIBUTING| Social obligations and contributions|
Fig 5: POSEC Method Mastering the POSEC Method subsequently leads to an upward movement on the Maslow’s pyramid. 3. 5 CHUNK, BLOCK AND TACKLE Some large projects can often be overwhelming it is difficult to even plan to start them. This time management technique is ideal for taking on tasks of this sort. Basically break down the task into convenient CHUNKS, BLOCK off time to work on it, and lastly TACKLE the task with a dedicated focus. 4. 0 APPLICATION OF TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES The thorough application of the above techniques in academic life would ensure a successful journey with fewer complications.
In the following paragraphs I will demonstrate how I personally would apply them in my academic life. To begin with I have to set SMART goals which will be the base foundation for my studies. For each module task, I will have a table (as of Fig 2 above) which will assist in task allocation and performance. Below is an example for my Business Module: SPECIFIC| Achieve an A+ which will result to a Distinction for the Business Module this semester. | MEASURABLE| To achieve an A+ I need minimum marks of 80% which will be a GPA of 4. 0. ACHIEVABLE | In order to attain a minimum of 80%, I need to read over my Business notes every night for at least an hour. | RESULT-ORIENTED| Since my strength is remembering through diagrams, my revision will be based mostly on visual aid such as mind maps. | TIME RELATED| Be sure to understand all business concepts and trends by the 28th of January 2013 which is 3 weeks before the final examination. | Fig 6: Goal Setting for ITB Module Prior to understanding the Time-Management Matrix I spent most of my time in QIII and QIV, which are mainly, time wasters e. . Facebook, watching too many TV shows, excessive sleeping etc. I completely ignored QII because it wasn’t urgent. By adapting to the Time-Management Matrix, I am now able to manage time more efficiently. Before beginning any task I firstly evaluate which quadrant it falls under, I then know if I should focus on the task or avoid it. Also by focusing on tasks under QII, I am able to prevent many tasks from falling into QI i. e. by eating well and exercising, I avoid getting sick or by preparing for assignments and exams beforehand I avoid deadline pressure.
The second technique, Pareto’s Principle has made it clear that the amount of time spent studying doesn’t matter as much as “HOW” the time is spent studying. To ensure good grades, I need to stop spending all my time studying but instead re-allocating time to responsibilities that will accomplish this. A good example would be to attend all the lectures and understand each topic and concept fully. By understanding and analysing the lectures I will gain the 80% while memorisation and revision will be the remaining 20%. The third technique involves the 3Ps.
By creating a daily to-do list I will be able to decide which tasks are of more Priority than the others. After prioritising I am able to Plan when to begin on a particular task, smart planning often aids in saving time. Setting remainders on my phone will help ensure I begin the task on schedule. Performance hence follows; if I follow the schedule within the timeframe I have a better chance for continuous productivity. The POSEC method is a method that would help me focus my attention on daily responsibilities, not only academic related but also pastime activities that will help me climb higher in the Maslow Pyramid.
To begin with, Prioritise by setting tasks in order of importance. By Organising I’d be able to know when to begin on a task more efficiently without chaos. As the word suggests, Stream-lining my tasks would enable me to tackle situations which require more time and effort easier. Just like how money needs to be economised so does time, this can be done when priorities are set on important tasks rather than just enjoyable ones. Last but not least contributing, in-order to fulfil Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs contribution and social obligations should be fulfilled.
Chunk, Block and Tackle method can be summarized as breaking down of main goals into smaller sub-goals and tasks. I would mainly apply this method when dealing with larger projects or assignments, by breaking down the project into smaller Chunks. Then assign each smaller task (Block) within a certain timeframe and lastly tackle it. This makes it simpler than tackling a project as a whole. 5. 0 CONCLUSION: To sum up on time management techniques the only way a student can be able to manage time effectively is to avoid procrastination completely and be able to be say no when distractions arise, in other words be assertive.
This will enable success in academic as well as social life. WORD COUNT: 1,241 6. 0 REFERENCES ALLEN, D. , 2009, ‘David Allen on Getting Things Done, Tips on Using Your Time Productively’ Success, What Achievers Read, vol. 08, issue no. 973, (viewed on 24th November 2012) http://www. success. com/articles/973-1-on-1-david-allen-on-getting-things-done ANDRA, M. , 2010, What is the Eisenhower Matrix, Codehoop Labs, viewed 28th November 2012 http://timegt. com/2010/07/14/what-is-the-eisenhower-matrix/ BREITSPRECHER, W. P. , 2005, Goal Setting, BreitLinks, Viewed 30th November 2012, http://breitlinks. om/community/goal_setting. htm CARROLL, S. , 2010, The 3P’s of Time Management Success (online) New York, NY, viewed 30th November 2012 http://www. seancarrollspeaker. com/2010/11/the-3-ps-of-time-management-success .html Collins English Dictionary, 2012, Complete & Unabridged, 10th ed. , viewed 29th November 2012 http://www. collinsdictionary. com/dictionary/english/assertiveness Collins English Dictionary, 2012, Complete & Unabridged 10th ed. , viewed 28th November 2012, http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/timemanagement COVEY, S. MERRILL, A. R. , MERRILL, R. R. , 1994, First Things First, To Live, To Love, To Learn, To Leave a Legacy 1st ed. , Simon and Schuster, New York, NY COVEY, S. , 2003, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 1st ed. , Simon & Schuster Inc. , New York, NY HEBENSTREIT, K. , 2008, The Business Case for IPT’s, Ellie Trevarthen, viewed 28th November 2012 http://wiki. nasa. gov/cm/wiki/? id=2723) KAUFMAN, R. , 2010, The 80/20 Principle (online), The Personal MBA, Worldly Wisdom Ventures LLC, viewed 28th November 2012 http://personalmba. om/8020-principle/ KOCH, R. , 2008, The 80/20 Principle: The Secret To Achieving More with Less, 2nd ed. , Nicholas Brealey Publishing, New York, NY. LAM, S. , The POSEC Method of Time Management (online), viewed 30th November 2012, http://www. stateuniversity. com/blog/permalink/Save-Time-By-Making-Time-A-Students-Guide-to-Time-Management. html TIME MANAGEMENT, 2012, Time Management Tip #4 : Prioritising and the 80:20 Rule, Viewed 4th December 2012, http://www. timemanagementhq. com/time-management-tip-4-prioritising-and-the-8020-rule/