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Monitor your use of time

Methods for how to monitor your use of time and what you need to know before making a study plan.
So you have a busy life. Work, studies, social activities, there’s always something to do. There’s so much that seems important and it might be hard to combine all these things. Is there a healthy balance between what you need to do and what you want to do? Or do you recognise this situation? You don’t have a plan and now you’re facing an uphill battle in the final days before your exam or deadline. To get back on track, you are working long hours, not getting much sleep, eating junk food. This is taking its toll on your body. And on the day of the exam, you roll out of bed with dark circles under your eyes and with little motivation and energy.
Poor you. It doesn’t have to be like that. You just need a plan that works. A good plan will help you to study better, get motivated, and reduce your stress levels. But to be able to make such a plan, you will first need to get an overview of all the things you do. One way you can do this is by carefully observing your use of time. Monitoring your time helps you in setting priorities and making the right choices in your busy life. You will get awareness about what changes you can make in your life. We’ve selected three useful methods of observation. One, keep a log. Two, use an app. Three, all the way. The first is to keep a log.
Each day, you make a note of how many hours you spent studying. And you can also use it to keep track of other activities. With this method, you have the freedom to track your time in your own way. The second option is to use an app that keeps track of time. Just like with the log, you can use this app to keep track of your actual study hours. You can even split it up in different categories, like reading, writing, revising, doing exercises, and so on. And of course, you can also track certain non-study related activities. Good apps for this our Time Meter for Android, or Hours for iOS. The third method is all the way, thorough and ruthless.
For seven days, you keep track of how you spend your time using a colour code. Every 15-minute block has to be accounted for. Because this method is very systematic, it helps you to find patterns in your time use that are hard to find out otherwise. Also, because you account for every 15 minutes, you will also notice any smaller habits or distractions. As these smaller things can add up and influence the rest of your day, they make a big difference. It requires a bit of effort, but if you choose this method, you’ll reap the rewards. Give it a try. Next week, we’ll give you more information about analysing your observations and how to make a good plan.

Before learning how to make a plan, you have to know what you spend your time on. There are three proposed methods to keep track of your use of time.

  • A log
  • An app
  • All the way (see downloads)

The apps mentioned in the video are: Time meter (android) and Hours (iOS).

Try to track for at least three days, but preferably for one week. The more extensively you measure, the more valuable insights you get. Next week you will analyse your results to find out what you can improve on. Which method do yo prefer? And will you give it a try?

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Improving Your Study Techniques

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