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Time Management

In one way or another we have constantly been reminded about time essence. It may have occurred through a reminder, a conversation, in an argument, a dialogue, an advert on TV or radio about time wasting, time keeping, time waits for no man or time wasted is never recovered.  Have we ever stopped and asked ourselves why?  Why do parents, teachers, mentors, role models and motivational speakers constantly remind students about the value of time? It all adds up to how one handles his or her time. Time is ever constant; it is irreversible and cannot be stored. Therefore, for one to achieve maximum potential or efficiency in any activity undertaken, he must take control and be aware of how much time he or she has covered. Time management can be viewed as a practice by which an individual prepares and uses available time on various tasks set to be performed in order to achieve a well organized and fruitful outcome. Time management covers, prior arrangements, distribution, outlining targets, assignments, thorough examination of time used up and observation. It also includes having an agenda then prioritizing tasks according to urgency. In the University of Bolton, time management applies in all spheres of life not just in the business or working sector, but also in our personal life. General productivity at work place is a reflection of an individual’s time management skill. It is essential because it verifies when and how an activity is to be accomplished.

Essentially, time management can be interpreted as, putting in order activities in one’s personal life. According to Davidson (2002, p 45-54), tasks that are tedious may require allotment of more time while simple tasks will require less time.  It is advisable to start with simple tasks moving on to tedious ones to avoid untimely exhaustion. It is recommendable not just to organize oneself physically but to outline these activities on paper for easy and quick reference. Most students in the University of Bolton achieve time management through setting targets. For example, a student may target to score a mean grade of A in an end year exam. This way it serves as a constant reminder that improved studies and hard work must run hand in hand. It also acts as a stimulant towards management of time. He or she will allocate more time to study other than engaging in non profitable activities. (Davidson, 2002, p. 34). 

Tatum (2011, p. 68) argues that time management also entails “protecting your time” meaning, your time is precious and valuable, therefore, one must cut off from activities or engagements that “eat” his or her time. The moment an individual disengages his or her self from unplanned or uncalled for tasks, it is essential to assign each planned task a set of time and outline how it will be achieved. This could be realized through writing, use of aided skills or tools such as computer software which make work lighter or by the use of personal innate skills. Aside from setting objectives, it is important to separate activities of main concern first with ones that need less attention. Set to accomplish or give a right of way first. This means that necessary and important tasks must be handled first and the less pressing tasks must be handled later. Most of the students in this institution apply this method.

The set out objectives must be driven by an urge or pull “gravity” which triggers action. Students in the University of Bolton believe that gravitational targets always trigger instant action. For example, a student who has a goal to attain an overall grade of A would work hard knowing that exemplary performance earns a scholarship. Free further studies in this case, acts as a gravitational pull, it calls for automatic action. He or she achieves two goals in the long run. It is not just goals that one should purpose to achieve but find ways or means to achieve more than the expected or stated. For instance, one might go an extra mile and sign up as a volunteer in a non profitable organisation to boost ones resume, earn extra pocket money by working extra hours at a restaurant, or by taking extra theatre of foreign language classes. In my opinion the concept of gravitational pull does not capture all the aspects needed in effective time management. Focusing on the final outcome can make a person by pass many issues that have a great bearing to the eventual outcome.

(Ward 2011, p. 87-90) cautions that time management should not be looked at as a tool to attain perfect results. Instead, one should make it part and parcel of their life. It is important to master the ability of managing time for long term personal achievements. Another hindrance to mastering time management is procrastination. When you set out to perform certain task at a specific time, ensure that you discipline yourself and try to achieve them. Poor planning may lead to procrastination. Meaning that a person keeps on adjourning tasks because they feel it is not yet time. An important characteristic of time is that it is constant. At no time will a postponed task be reversible, time is ever constant twenty four seven.

Theoretical Concepts on Time Management

Pareto Principle: 80-20 Rule

This concept was formulated by an Italian Philosopher and Economist, Vilfredo Pareto. He argued that time allocation directly influences the productivity or outcome. It explains that if 20% of our time was used wisely that is, without wastage it could mount to an accomplished activity worth 80% while a less needy activity that is the remaining 20% will consume 80% of our time. Basing on this argument an activity that will take or consume less time must be given first preference and must be accomplished first. The 80-20 rule is seen as a way to improve efficiency and increase productivity. One must look through the simplest and easiest means of completing an activity, complex means take a lot of time. The more time you spend on a task the lesser the results. In my point of view I think that efficiency and productivity run hand in hand. Let us not rush into completion but rather the output should be self satisfying however much time taken.

The Eisenhower Concept

The concept revolves around two principles of tasks that require much need and tasks that are important. It involves assessing a list of tasks and categorising them into significant versus insignificant, vital versus not vital. Tasks that fall under the incognisant and not vital quadrant are given second priority while tasks that are vital and significant are dealt right away; tasks that are insignificant but vital are assigned to another party. Tasks that are significant but not vital are assigned for a special day in which they are dealt with individually. In my opinion this concept is much broader and covers a whole productivity and efficiency concept. It doesn’t throw back weight or look down on certain activities. Each task is given a chance but on different priority levels. In addition it encourages planning, delegation and final achievement of all tasks.

POSEC Method

POSEC is an abbreviation for Prioritize by Organizing, Streamlining, Economizing and Contributing. POSEC concepts revolve around an individual’s overall psychological, emotional and economical situation. Tasks are carried by individuals who must have a balanced social and economic life to be in a position to accomplish an activity efficiently. The concept closely borrows from Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of needs”. After carefully outlining ones objectives in life, choose from the list  those that need first attention, that affect one individually, second arrange to accomplish tasks that need habitual attention in order to be do well. Thirdly assess the tasks that you may not enjoy to accomplish but must be, fourth screen tasks that you should attend to, may be fond of doing but are urgent.

In my opinion POSEC concept looks at both the bigger and smaller pictures in an individual’s life. The core element in achieving goals is the person who sets them. It is crucial that this element is in a steady and sound condition to be able to accomplish other tasks. Secondly, the overall growth of an individual depends entirely on his or her productivity levels. This can not just be achieved through prioritization; it calls for a unified organisational system that is beneficial in all aspects. 

Davidson (2002, p 23-45). Further argues that it is fundamental for every student to strive and lead a balanced life whether in school or at home. Upon joining college students realize the necessity to master and perfect their time management ability. It is not like in a school setup where many students are accustomed to being pushed around by teachers and parents to finish their assignments. In the University of Bolton, most students are not under the constant watch of their parents or teachers; they have more freedom at their disposal. They must realize that there are no magic means to achieving a well planned lifestyle. Time management has been an underlying problem among many students in the University of Bolton. Incidences of late registration, late handing in of assignments, priority issues in terms of activities and task that are more important, students dozing during  class sessions probably after sleeping late or drinking too much coffee to keep awake during exam period are common place in this institution. Others opt to finish assignments of subjects that they like and decide not to work on complex assignments.  Comical excuses like “the dog ate my homework” are common among students who have scheduling issues. It is natural for humans to give excuses; nonetheless, students should realize procrastination is a stumbling block to realizing their full potential. Students have the notion of postponing activities until the next day. Tasks that they are aware are to be completed on the same day. Sadly poor time management among university students does not facilitate them to gain much in or after college life.

A number of students in this institution find it hard to balance problems that are sometimes relatively handful. Engaging in different activities such as class, additional assignments, term projects, relationships, co-curricular activities and individual problems can sometimes be overwhelming. These results into tension and panic especially at the end of the semester when students find themselves having not completed all their projects or have not sufficiently revised their exams. The primary cause of poor time management among college students is procrastination. It is act of evading a task which ought to be done. It results into students feeling hopeless, insufficient and remorse. These feelings in the long run affect the educational and individual life of a student (Nilsson, 1998, p. 76).

In the wake of exam period, several students experience anxiety especially when an assignment is not complete. Such student view themselves as failures and inadequate. Worries may also augment from fear of forthcoming exams or results of previous test. Most Bolton university students also fail to complete assignments due the notion that ‘am a failure in everything’ or ‘I do not possess the necessary skills to complete a task. Aside from class work, you might come across students going through a rough patch in their personal or family life be it financial constraints, relationship issues or physical abuse. Such students spend most times worrying rather than concentrating on their studies. Priorities may also lead to students not accomplishing a task efficiently. For example, a student may fail to finish a math test because he or she finds math boring and excel in an art class which she adores. The panic of feeling letdown or failing in incidences of students who believe that not getting straight as are a sign of failure. Therefore are always in panic to strive and achieve so. Others approach unworkable and strict ways of studying. They may believe that one must master content before undertaking an exam in order to pass. He or she may perhaps feel like they haven’t achieved their best and eventually fail to hand in an assignment.


There are no set rules in time management. People come from different spheres of life, cultures and backgrounds. How one manages his or her time whether in the professional or personal setting varies.  One should know the amount of time he or she needs to complete a task perfectly. The means and method are reliant on your tasks and the time available for its completion.

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