Updated: Jun 28, 2020
Discipline is difficult to exercise, that's why most timetables fail. Today, I will share a simple time management technique that I used to deploy during my CAT preparation (about 4 years back). It really helped me stick to my routine and get things done with more efficiency, hope it helps you too.
Don't Make a Timetable
Make a Task Table!
Not sure what a Task Table means? Let me explain the difference:
Time Table - A schedule which states what is to be done at what time in a day.
Task Table - A schedule which states what is to be done in a day.
The problem with a timetable is that it is difficult to stick to, hence we either end up feeling demotivated or not getting all the things done.
Here's what a Task Table looks like:
A Task Table should include the following:
Main Task - The main target for the day. (Could be a covering subject, a topic)
Details - Write specific details of what all you need to do pertaining to the main task. (Read chapter 2, solve questions 14–26 etc). You may also give further details of a task that needs elaboration. (e.g - in the picture above, I elaborated what comprises of 'Learn 4 Chapters')
Time per Task - Write the time required to complete each task. (e.g. 30 minutes)
Total Time Required - Add up the time of each task to calculate total time required. (5 hours in the given case)
Day’s Analysis - Note when you can start studying and till when. (e.g. 6:30 pm to 1:30 am)
Total Time Available - Calculate the time available using day’s analysis. (7 hours in the given case)
Free Time - Deduct total time required from total time available. (2 hours in the given case)
Keep crossing the tasks as soon as they get done - that will provide you motivation. The reason why a Task Table works better than a Time Table is that you are no longer constrained by each hour. You have an overarching view of the things that need to be done and how long will they take.
This lets you set realistic targets and achieve them with flexibility. For example - When you note down how many hours each task will take, your mind gets prepared to not overspend time on any task. Since you calculate the total hours available at the end, you would know whether or not your targets are realistic.
Moreover, you will be aware of the spare time (7-5 = 2 hours in this case). This will keep an automatic check that you don't spend it on things that cost you your study time. A task table is very flexible, you can complete the tasks in any order, you don't have to follow a schedule per se.
Try using a Task Table instead of a Time Table for time management and see the results for yourself.
This technique did wonders for me, I use it even now. Though, now it has become an automatic process, so I don't note down how many hours I have available in the day, but I generally have an idea of how much time each task is going to take and how many such tasks I will be able to perform in a day.
Bonus Tip - Make the Task Table for the next day a night prior. It will help you wake up charged. You will also have more clarity on how to proceed with the day!
Thanks for reading :)
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