Reading through my blogroll this morning I noticed a number of posts from school of computing folk discussing lack of motivation and concentration problems with respect to coursework and other tasks for the course. In addition to this I’ve also noticed a number of people suddenly feeling the pinch after the long summer break of not being “tuned in” to the academic workload.
While I’d love to be able to offer some magic remedy to these people I’m afraid there is none. Time management and more importantly effecient use of the time you manage is something that is difficult to master, and no one can ever claim to have mastered it 100%. The few things I will offer in the form of help though are these;
- Plan your time, and concentrate on minutes, not hours. Life doesn’t come in hour blocks, only our timetables do that. 15 minutes spent reading a book connected with your course is better than realising 15 minutes isn’t long enough to even make a start on your next piece of coursework and consequently doing nothing.
- If you get stuck, don’t get bogged down. We’ve all felt like throwing our keyboards out the window, but when you get to that point, have a cup of tea and start something else. Forget what you couldn’t do and concentrate on what you can, after all the solution may come to you later after you’ve left the stress of not being able to find a solution behind.
- Take time off, but plan it in advance. It doesn’t take being told that we can’t work all the time, but all too often we go out when asked by friends and this is usually at short notice. They don’t know what work you’ve done and what you still have left to do, only you know that. Know how much you wanted to get done in a day and reward yourself when you achieve that, not when a friend suggests going out. This also has a knock on effect of allowing you to enjoy nights out better because you are not stressed about work left undone back home
- Choose a condusive working environment. Home where our TV, games consoles and music collections lurk is often not such an environment. Try the long room, computer lab or library. If you are going to work with others keep an eye on how much work you do as a team and if you notice it slipping below what you could do alone, question how productive working with a friend is.
- Finally, if you don’t understand something, ask. We have lecturers and tutors for a reason. If they are not around try news or an e-mail. You could also try asking friends, although be aware they may not have such a high quality answer as they are usually in the process of learning the same material you are asking about!
These are just a few ways I try to keep on top of things, I hope people find them useful. If you have any handy points to add, please leave them as comments.