1.3.1 Where Did the Time Go?

You know that we never seem to have enough time to do all the things we want to do in a day. Using your time wisely is a part of becoming a successful student. It does not matter if you have half-hour segments or several-hour segments set aside for working on your math. The truth is that you have to put the time in your daily/weekly schedule or you won’t be able to accomplish your goals. “I’ll get to it when I get to it” is not going to work. So make choices that support your goals. If learning math is important to you, give it the right place in your schedule.

Here are three more tips:

  • Planning. You could try to write out a schedule. It might be helpful to plan out your lessons on paper (maybe even in your math notebook), or in a computer document that you then print and post where you’ll see it. You could map out your day in hourly slots. Put in all responsibilities, then times for eating and sleeping and some relaxation, and then plan the rest that has not been accounted for. (That’s where the math goes.) Then comes the hard part: Stick to this schedule as best you can. Revise your schedule periodically or as needed to keep it realistic. Being realistic about how much you can get done in a given time is very important—if you are too ambitious you may end up feeling deflated if things don’t go to plan.
  • Making lists. One of the difficult things about being a student is all the stuff that competes for your time and attention alongside your studies. All these uncompleted tasks create distraction and stress just by being there. The best way to get rid of that stress is to get the stuff out of your head and onto a list.
  • Now here is the useful part. You don’t necessarily have to complete one item on your list before moving on to the next. When you have a little time you just take some small actions on any of the things on the list that will move them forward. The satisfaction you get from crossing something off your list will give you a sense of achievement that will be very motivating!
  • Managing procrastination. Do you have a tendency to put things off? Well, you are not alone … practically all of us do! Reports suggest that nearly 80% of students procrastinate about their studies from time to time. Psychologists suggest you can manage your tendency to procrastinate by:
    • Setting realistic goals.
    • Planning (see above).
    • “Making molehills out of mountains”—that is, breaking down a big task into a set of smaller ones.
    • Figuring out why you procrastinate (perfectionism, fear of failure, fear of disappointing others) and trying to relax about these obstacles.
    • Tell your friends and family your goals—they could help to keep you motivated.

If you tend to put things off, maybe one or more of these ideas will help.

1.3.2 Study Time