Your Guide to University Success | GRAD - page 12

Managing
your time 1
Time is like money – you only have a limited
amount of it and you have to decide carefully
how you are going to spend it. You have to budget
your time, just like you budget your money.
The first step to budgeting your time is find-
ing out what you spend your time on. Keep a
detailed diary for a week, writing down exactly
how you spend every minute of your day. In-
clude everything:
Showering and getting dressed – 40 minutes
Walking to class – 15 minutes
Class – 50 minutes × 4 = 200 minutes
Chatting to friends – 10 + 25 + …
You will quickly see where your time goes to!
Now start taking control. How do you decide what is important,
what should be done first
?
The following handy tool, a time management matrix, has been adapted from
Stephen R. Covey’s book
The seven habits of highly effective people
, first published
in 1989 by Free Press.
The majority of students complain about time
and we are the ones who always misuse “this
little time” we have by sitting around complain-
ing about the accent of that lecturer and that the
lecturing pace is really fast, but I’ve learnt that
complaining about it makes it even faster because
I’ve lost time while I was complaining
(first-year
student, Wits University).
URGENT
NOT URGENT
IMPORTANT
A
B
Â
Â
Crisis
Â
Â
Medical emergency
Â
Â
Pressing problem
Â
Â
Deadline-driven projects
Â
Â
Last-minute preparations for scheduled
activities
Â
Â
Preparation/planning
Â
Â
Prevention
Â
Â
Values clarification
Â
Â
Exercise
Â
Â
Relationship-building
Â
Â
True recreation/relaxation
NOT IMPORTANT
C
D
Â
Â
Interruptions, some calls
Â
Â
Some mail and reports
Â
Â
Some meetings
Â
Â
Many “pressing” matters
Â
Â
Many popular activities
Â
Â
Trivia, busywork
Â
Â
Junk mail
Â
Â
Some phone messages/emails
Â
Â
Time wasters
Â
Â
Escape activities
Â
Â
Internet
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