To achieve all your goals and become what you are capable of you must get your time under your control and that is possible with time management skills. Good news is like any other skills time management too is learnable. Through repetition and practice you can become the lost result oriented person in your field.
Today we will get to know the “time-block” tool for increasing productivity.Time blocking is an effective strategy for using time wisely. Learning to time block is a useful skill for students, the self-employed, parents, working professionals and all others who need greater structure to make the most of each day.
Russian Metaphysician and philosopher Peter Ouspensky was once asked by his student “ How do I know what is the right thing for me to do?”
To which Ouspensky replied “ If you tell me your aim, I can tell you the what is the right thing for you to do”
The starting point for time management is for you to determines what your goals are, both short-term and long-term and then organize them priority wise. At a given point in time you should know what’s important for you.
Lets says you are Grade XII student and your goal is to score A+ grade in your final exam.
So the first step is done as you know what your goal is. Great!
Lets move on to the second step, which is to create a list of activities that you will need to do to achieve A+ grade.
You have to study 5 subjects, there are 10 chapter in each subject and lets say your study break is of 50 days. To simplify you have to cover 50 chapters in 50 days, that is the time left for your exam.
By cover I mean you have read text books, understand concepts, create notes, study notes, revise them at least thrice. After you are done studying the subject you may want to attempt at least 5 papers in each subject.
Now you have a rough idea about what the breadth of activities you have to cover.
Third step is to create time blocks.I like creating time blocks which are 1 and half hour in length. I have a provision for a 10 min break that is the time I reward myself and 5 min “Get back” time that is time I use to focus back on studies by deep breathing or any other calming activity .
Cal Newport is an Associate professor in the department of computer science at Georgetown University and the author of five how-to books and a blog focused on academic and career success. In his time blocking theory he says that “40 hr time blocked work week produces the same amount of output as a 60 + hour work week pursued without structure. Which is a whopping 50% increase in your productivity. Isn’t that amazing.
So it’s your study break and you have entire 24 hours at your disposal. Let’s say You sleep for 9 hours. You study for 9 hrs, which mean you can create 6 study blocks each lasting 1.5 hour with a rewarding break time of 60 min and “Get back” time of 30 min. You still have 6 more hrs left to create time blocks for leisure activities like chatting with your friends, catching up on your favorite TV show or checking social media. You can also accommodate a time block for your Fitness activities like working out or going for a walk. You may also want to provision for activities like celebrating your friends bday or spending quality time with your parents. However remember that your 9 hr study time block should remain untouched.
Next you have to create a schedule for the activities at least for next one week….ideally over the weekend
The schedule will tell you in which time block you are going to study which subject.
While scheduling activities, it is important to understand your body clock and schedule activities accordingly. For eg. If you sleep late and are nocturnal creature and you would feel fresh in the evening , you may want to study the difficult subject in the night time and vice-versa. Though ideally our brain if well rested is at its best in the morning time hence recommended to study is in the morning.
How to handle Distractions:
When working towards your goals it is very important that you stay on track. Let me tell you what I mean by that. Today you have to study “Electrostatics” the toughest chapter for you in Physics. However the India-South Africa cricket match is on your mind and you are unable to focus. A way to handle this is ask your self .. what is my goal and what is important now? Your mind will help you to come back on track. You can utilize your 10 min break to catch on the match or highlights. But remember you need to comeback on your study track after the reward break is over.
Another example of distraction is the buzzing notifications from your smartphone. Here is what happens, you went for a bday celebration yesterday evening and have posted a photograph on Facebook. Now it is very tempting to see how many people have liked your snap and from your list of 1000 Facebook friends who your true friends are who appreciate you through likes and comments. So every other minute you are checking your FB account. Here is what you are doing to your brain. When you are in the study mode, the study circuit is on which comprises if millions of brain cells. It takes a lot of energy for them to work in coordination and help you stay focused and remember the stuff you are studying. Now the moment you start looking at you FB, the brain has to change it circuit from study mode to “leisure mode”. Again the same story of millions of cells firing and helping you focus on your FB and obviously lot of energy consumption. As you keep toggling between study circuit and leisure circuit you are totally exhausted with this and further lose interest in your studies and prefer picking up the easier task of the two that the leisure activity.
So friends stay away from distraction. Schedule them in your break time.
There are many apps available online that help you create time blocks, however I believe a pen and a paper is the best. Excel too works great.
Create a system that suits you the best by dividing the activities through out the week in your Study time block. You will be amazed to see how you are adding extra time your day 🙂
Happy time blocking!