Urgent Support

Time Management

Mr. Sharma

"Arav are you studying in IIT?"

Arav proudly said "Yes I am!"

Mr. Sharma, a neighbour of Arav, patted him on the back and gaped in awe!

Mr. Sharma further added,

"Well I guess there are unending assignments, back to back classes, so much going on around the clock. How are you managing your time? It must be challenging!"

While Arav thought being called an IITian is always a proud moment, the name brings in a lot along with it. The commitments and deadlines sometimes get pretty difficult to handle!

There are many students like Arav who feel overwhelmed and it is absolutely normal. You are always racing against time... and every time you feel time wins!

Well, Time management is about more than Life Hacks.

Initiation

As a student at IIT-B, it is natural to occasionally feel overwhelmed given the number of commitments you have to keep up with. Many students also talk about feeling like they're constantly running out of time and trying to keep up with the schedules. A tool that can be really helpful at such times is effectively managing your time.

Coping Mechanisms

Sean Covey, in his book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers', uses the example of how a neatly packed suitcase fits much more than when we randomly throw in stuff to explain how the same principle applies to our time. Using the time quadrants to organize our days can help us pack more into our days, especially the important things.

The Time Quadrants

The quadrants are based on two main factors- important (tasks that are important and contribute to our goals) and urgent (tasks that need immediate attention).

Record/notice how you spend your time, honestly and without judgment for a couple of days.

Which quadrant do you think you have been spending most of your time in?

  • While quadrant 1 will always have things we can't control (like the assignment with short notice or a personal emergency that pushes us off our schedule), the number of tasks that fall under this category also increases when we tend to procrastinate (e.g. delay working on an assignment till the day before the due date when it becomes a high-pressure situation) leaving us feeling stressed, burnt out and unhappy with our performance. If this sounds familiar, here are some ways you can deal with procrastination!

    Know more

  • If you're spending too much time in quadrant 3, it's likely that you're giving in to distractions (e.g. checking a text as soon as your phone beeps knowing well that it might not be of importance) or engaging in activities that are important to other people but not necessarily to you (e.g. saying yes to a social outing in your time allocated for studying). Ultimately you end up feeling like you’re simply following others and sense a lack of routine. You can begin by trying to say no to things that are not important for to your goal and limiting your distractions.

  • Relaxing and taking time off is of great importance. But this becomes a waste of time when done in excess (e.g. binge-watching an entire series instead of in moderation). You may feel guilty, or a sense of lack of control if you're spending too much time in quadrant 4. You need not stop but begin cutting down on these activities.

Record/notice how you spend your time, honestly and without judgment for a couple of days.

How to make the most out of staying in Quadrant 2 of Productivity?

A lot of the things we engage in are based on urgency or are time wasters. While this is not always bad, the problem arises when the important things get side-lined because of the urgent ones. Here are some things to get you started
Planner

You can start with a written planner or any app that you may find useful. The main thing is to write and track all your assignments, tasks, goals, etc. and then plan your week (or day) in advance.

Planning with the 'big rocks' and time blocks

First, identify the most important things you need to accomplish in the week. These big rocks can also be related to the different roles you play (eg. most important thing to do as a student, friend, sibling, etc.) to help you feel more balanced. While many things may seem to be important, try and limit these to around 7-10.

Next, block time for these big rocks by putting these on your calendar first. Based on the big rock experiment, the idea is that if you fill a jar with small pebbles first (time wasters, chores, activities that don’t contribute to your goal), and then put the big rocks, they may not all fit. But if you begin with the big rocks and then put in the pebbles, they tend to nicely fit the spaces in between the big rocks. Therefore, reserve time on your schedule for the important stuff and your other activities will fit in too.

  • Try to plan as realistically as possible. Many of us have the tendency to under or overestimate our capacities. Think back to your past experiences and adjust your plans accordingly.
  • Keep your planner in a way that it is visible to you at most times. Don't forget to reward yourself for the times that you do stick to it!
  • Avoid speaking negatively about the tasks and your ability to complete the same. You could use affirmations such as "I know that I can finish this work"; "I know that I have several strengths" in order to keep yourself motivated.

Seek Help

  • If you’re having difficulty with your coursework or have any academic concerns, the Faculty Advisor could be your first point of contact. You may also have specific queries about your different courses, in which case you can talk to your respective course instructors. The DAMP mentor (if you have one) would help you out as well.
  • If you are having a hard time adjusting to campus life or other concerns, your ISMP/ ISCP mentor is your go-to person! It could be about your wing mates or about managing your schedule—your mentor has been there, done that.
  • If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or you are simply confused about what is happening to you, talking to a counsellor at the Student Wellness Centre could give relief and provide guidance about what you can do.
  • Also, your parents are just a phone call away. Don’t hold back from contacting them even if you just want to unburden!