Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

September 22, 2006 10:06 PM

Time! Where does it go...

Time management continues to be a long struggle for me even after being at Berkeley for a year. However, in many ways, I have learned more about my study habits and what limits I need to set for myself.

I think the trick to time management is planning and definitely knowing your weaknesses, especially how you waste the most time. A lot of it also has to do with being realistic; you can definitely plan to do a certain amount of work, but I think in the back of your mind, you have to know that you probably won’t achieve the amount you set out (or if you do reach that goal, it’s always a great surprise). But it isn’t all about work. It’s also about having time to just have fun and do stuff you enjoy. (All of this seems vague, so I guess I’ll have to use myself as an example, though I’m not very good at time management stuff).

I know my weaknesses, so I try to eliminate them whenever I can. For instance, I can stay online chatting to people that I end up not doing anything I planned (or if I do, I sleep late, which isn’t good for me). In those circumstances, I try to eliminate them by not being in front of my computer or just not going online. It really does require a lot of self-control, but in some ways, it works. I’m also very big on working alone – I tend not to get any work done in a group. So if you ever see me (or don’t), I can be found in one of the libraries (or recently, the Mulford Student Resource Center, which is my new “home” for the semester) doing some reading or note taking because it’s quiet and has very few distractions (though not being able to eat is not a good thing, but that’s another story). In terms of trying not to procrastinate, what works for me is completing the unimportant subjects ahead of time so I have time to concentrate on more important subjects (this doesn’t always work, but usually it does for me). And again, by forcing yourself to be in a different environment without all the comforts that distract your studying, you would be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

I also find time to have fun (isn’t that a weird concept?), but in some ways, it’s very rewarding. Volunteering helps me distress, as does walking, listening to music, dancing, hanging out with friends, trying out new places to eat, etc. Those are times I truly value. Although it does take away from “study time,” you really need to have fun too. Just know your limits. Also, if you have something big planned during the weekend (a whole day club event or something similar), try to balance it by spending your other weekend day studying or doing whatever else is needed. I also love going to performances or movies, so those are various ways for me to “treat” myself after working so hard or to take a break from studying.

The planning process isn’t always set in stone, so be able to work around it and set certain reach-able goals. And balance that with having fun. Oh, and always remember to take care of yourself. :)

Since I have no clue if I helped (time management is again, not my strong point, so I'm afraid I've rambled on and on), please feel free to write me an e-mail at pal@berkeley.edu or come to my office hours, Monday and Tuesday from 11:00 A.M. to noon if there are any questions, clarifications, or just random comments about what I have written (or just anything else). I would really love to talk to you about anything you need help with or even random stuff like TV shows (though I haven’t been able to watch that much), school events, and performances (especially dance).


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