One thing I have learned about time is that it does not have the same value and meaning to everyone and in every situation. Think about your busiest time for instance. In those times, I bet you get the feeling that an hour consists much less than 60 minutes and that your days consists of much less than 12 hours. In my busiest times, I even wonder how I got to waste so much of my valuable times when in fact I could have achieved so much within the period of a day or even an hour. Those times are like a revelation that time is such a precious gift that is given to us. And no one would understand more the value of time as those who got the news that they only have a short period to live and their loved ones. Unfortunately, it takes many of us to face a situation where time pressure is at its peak to realize that we really do not have time to waste.
I was recently discussing with a friend of mine who is pursuing her higher education in Europe about how she was not able to manage her time and that time was flying by without her being able to achieve the major milestones in her work. Sometimes, when you have so many things to do at the same time, you simply freeze and are not able to do anything. Then you start stressing out and worrying that the allotted time for the work is almost over before you are able to achieve anything. I always say that when you are not doing anything, it is either because you have too much to do or you have nothing to do. I have been in the former situation several times, and the one solution that works best for me in getting things done is to divide both your tasks and available time into tiny bits.
Say, you have to write a paper of 10 pages that needs to be delivered in two weeks’ time. I believe that the first thing to do here to meet your deadline and still be able to deliver a quality paper is to set out a plan. The plan should list out the main tasks that lead to the delivery of the assignment. Once a complete list is identified, the key thing is to prioritize. Although prioritization should be based on the logical flow or order of the work (for ex, identify your research problems, then your objectives, then your method, then your results), priorities should also be given to tasks which are expected to take most of the time and which are likely to face the most obstacles. Then the key thing is to divide the available time into tiny bits of time (i.e. into days, into mornings and afternoons, and even into hours). Once spreading out the list of tasks across the tiny bits of time (by making sure of course that the tasks can be effectively done during the allotted bit of time), you won’t need to worry how you are going to be able to complete the bigger assignment! Of course, it is always good to plan for contingencies because you never know what is going to interrupt your course of work! So when you start your first day of work, you are only going to worry about what you are going to do on that day and not about the bigger assignment! And of course, it is good to be loyal and committed to your plans. Because if you start postponing what you are supposed to do today for tomorrow, then you are definitely going to put pressure on yourself later on and increase your chances of not meeting the deadlines!