Dr. Boitumelo Diale
A toolkit on how to ace your matric: Learning to manage our time better!
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent” — Carl Sandbur
We met in the January issue titled “Is Grade 12 a journey or a race? On the road to somewhere or nowhere”. If you don’t have this issue, make sure you get it so you can build up your toolbox.
In this issue I want us to start sorting our lives by sorting out our time. If you can learn to do it correctly now and it starts to become a habit, believe you me, you will have a much better adulthood life than those of us who were never told about this. Remember the saying, “The chains of habit are too fine to be felt, until they are too hard to be broken”. How many of you can identify with the abstract here:
“I’m so frustrated; I just don’t have enough time for everything. I wish there were more hours in a day, more days in a week! Between classes, heaps of homework, tasks at home, sports, youth activities, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the internet and of course … my friends, PlayStation and music, I really have time for nothing! How am I going to manage the year ahead?”
Many of us find ourselves in this dilemma, and eventually wish there was a 25th hour in day. Well, the truth is, we all have 24 hours and we need to manage what we do within these time frames. Strictly speaking, we can never manage time; we can only manage ourselves. As we acquire new skills in time management, we gain control over our lives. The secret to managing yourself is to know who you are and where you are going.
Whether you are in grade seven or in grade 12, the key to your success starts with taking responsibility. Time management is self-management. Many of us blame others for wasting our time. As long as you blame others for your time management choices, you will do little to improve your time. Time slips through our hands like grains of sand, never to return. As said earlier, a day consists of 24 hours; you cannot add a second nor take a second away. It is your most valuable asset and how well you use time influences how you perform. By analysing how you spend your time, you can begin to make changes that will ensure you get the most out of your day.
Then you need to make sure you find your prime time, and to do this you need to understand your energy timetable. Everyone’s energy timetable is different. Some of you are morning people, while others do better in the evening. One key to better time management is to find your high-energy periods and schedule the complex, difficult or challenging tasks to when you are likely to be at your best. This will assist by bringing out your creativity and active thought processes. Remember you can’t control time, but you can manage time!
Time management techniques
There are many techniques that you can use to manage your time. Firstly, it is important to learn to use your planners and diaries. If your school has asked you to buy a diary, it is not because they want to add an extra book in your bag, but because they want to assist you to manage your life and effectively plan your time. So take this opportunity and use your diary effectively. In your diary you will have a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily planner page. Planners are an excellent way to help you organise your time. They encourage you to write down appointments and deadlines. Most of you are technologically advanced; your smartphones have brilliant apps that allow you to do this and are always in your pockets, so start using these features to benefit you. Try to always keep them up to date.
Remembering the essentials
In you daily planner, keep a ‘To-Do-List’. This is a very important list and it helps us remember essentials for the day that we plan to do but easily forget and only remember when it is too late, like forgetting your sports bag or homework book at home, or what mom or dad asked you to do for them after school. By then it is too late to do anything and you are already in trouble. This is the time you can effectively use your smartphones and set a reminder way before the time the task is due to take place.
Time wasters and procrastination
The three common time wasters of our era are our cell phones, social media, and the competing soapies on TV, as they lead us to procrastinate. I know, because I am also guilty as charged of these monsters, but am working hard to self-discipline. Charles Dickens once said: “My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” So, let us use our day effectively!
All these time wasters are here to stay. The good news is you can overcome most of them. This is what I call the 80/20 rule of life.
Until we meet in the May edition of the toolbox: “Why do I have to study? Dealing with matric anxiety and depression”.
Bye for now.
Dr Boitumelo Diale is the head of department: Educational Psychology and Educational Psychologist specialising in Career Development at University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus