Making Time - The 25th Hour of the Day?

By Jonathan Gonzalez on June 13, 2012

What would you do if you had a twenty-five hour day? Many of us would sleep longer, and everyone knows college students need more sleep; however, an even larger number of us would spend that time in a more “efficient way” including, but not limited to, any of the following things: studying, homework, browsing the library, running to Starbucks (with massive lines), gaming, reading, social time, social media usage, eating, daydreaming, pounding your head on the table and possibly engaging in intimate relations. While this is an exhaustive list, I am sure I have left someone’s passion or time-anchor out of this list. For someone that wants to live an “all of the above” life, it is nearly impossible to do these things efficiently. The obvious question most people ask is the pained and angered “why”, but answering this question would be a waste of valuable time. Today I plan to address the seldom asked, yet extremely relevant “how” question.

How does one manage time? Manage is such a technocratic term, and it implies I am going to be discussing budgeting, time sheets and other physical ways of finding time in your day. Scrap your schedules and time tracking devices because there is a simpler way. I do not plan to explain how to manage time, but rather I am going to tell you how to make it.

Unfortunately, you cannot add a twenty-fifth hour to the day whenever you chose, but you can start by eliminating waste from your day.

1. If you are going to do homework, do homework — I cannot tell you how many friends have told me that I do my homework much faster than they do their own. It’s not because I work faster, but because I work more. No Facebook, no Twitter, no distractions. Every second that you spend checking your email is another three seconds that you have to spend on your homework. You might think that all you have done is click over screens, but you have also lost your train of thought and your momentum. That is a recipe for wasting time.

2. Multitask  wisely — In some instances, multitasking can be a good thing. For example, a lot of people think that they work more efficiently while listening to music.  If it helps, do it, and don’t let me stop you. Another way to condense time is to fill gaps in your schedule. Lines at the coffee shops and at campus restaurants are often long, and instead of taking the five minutes that you wait in line to consider whether you want to add a cookie to your order, study a little or do something productive (at least use this time to check Facebook so that you don’t have to later). Seriously, time spent waiting in line or before class is free time that you can add to your day. Also, if you know that you’ll need to research two projects at the library, do them both at the same time even if the due dates are weeks apart. Between travel time and research time, you’ll be glad I saved you the trip.

3. Relax during relaxation time — What I mean is that you should not carry your stress from school work into your relaxation time. If you stress while you relax, you are not relaxing, which means that you will have to relax more later. How do you do that? Stress balls are a waste of money, but relax while doing something to occupy your attention like reading or watching TV. Also, pay attention to your breathing. Long deep breaths will save you minutes of stress.

4. Take breaks — Trust me on this one. If you must pull an all-nighter, at least give yourself a break every hour or so for five minutes. You don’t have to do much. Just stretch or get a drink of water and then get back to work, because you don’t want to completely lose your train of thought or momentum. In fact, think about what you plan to say next in the essay you’re writing, or mull over key terms that you just studied. The key is to stay focused, but don’t try to cram more new material in.

5. Find ways to boost your memory — If you remember more, you’ll study less, and you won’t have to waste time running back to your dorm or apartment because you forgot something. How do you do this? Eat brain food and read mystery novels. Brain food is harder to measure, but if you remembered the small clue that ended up being important in the last five minutes of CSI, you’re probably doing a good job.

6. Sleep — This is the most important one, so pay attention. If you get a good night’s rest, you will be more efficient the following day. I know that you already know this and I should not have to tell you but I’m doing it anyway. Please, please, please if you take none of these other tips, get a decent amount of sleep. Once you find a way to work sleep into your schedule, everything else will fall into place.

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I am a student at the University of South Florida majoring in English and Political Science, captain of the University's policy debate team and amateur writer. Interests include gaming and card playing (including MTG CotD and traditional playing card games). Feel free to find me here or on Facebook with questions!

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