Students need time management skills if they want to succeed

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Students need time management skills if they want to succeed

A stressed student in an auditorium. (File photos)

I am increasingly alarmed by the time students and young people are wasting and their inability to set daily, weekly and yearly priorities and manage them successfully. Digital tools can greatly help people to manage their time effectively and efficiently, but they are also, unfortunately, the main cause of this time-wasting phenomenon.

When I walk into a classroom these days, students waiting for the next class are invariably hunched over their smartphones, reading and typing messages or other uninterrupted social media activity. The digital dependency is obvious. Additionally, students can often be found playing smartphone/internet games during the “free” hours they have between classes. And I can only imagine how the weekends went.

Study habits are also problematic, as it’s not uncommon for a student to tell me that they spent most of their night “cramming” for an exam or finishing an assignment. This not only seriously affects their sleep, but isn’t even effective as a study strategy.

Time management is a huge subject, on which people have published bestselling books, run workshops, and developed all kinds of programs (video series, smartphone apps, etc.), with varying degrees of success. Indeed, the fact that millions of people are buying books, watching videos, and signing up for workshops on time management is indicative of the need, not necessarily the effectiveness, of these products. In the field of education, many schools organize conferences or workshops on time management for their students; some universities even offer courses on the subject.

The problem is modern, of course. Companies and institutions seek to maximize productivity, trying to squeeze every minute out of their employees. And competition on an individual level has driven us to try to make the most of time, reducing the amount of sleep we get in the process (recent studies have shown that average nighttime sleep periods have dropped from more than eight hours to less than seven).

It is amazing that in an age where we have digital calendars, many people are unable to properly manage their time and activities.

Nidhal Guessoum

It also seems that our time is increasingly in demand: work, communication (text and email), exercise, family and social, leisure, entertainment, travel, etc. But at the same time, our attention span has diminished, our ability to control life has weakened, and our ability to prioritize tasks and achieve our goals seems to crumble.

It is amazing that in an age when we have digital calendars such as “Outlook”, where we can easily schedule tasks weeks and months in advance and receive notifications and reminders at our convenience (hours or days in advance), many people are unable to properly manage their time and activities.

Organizing your weekly, monthly and annual schedule allows you to accomplish more tasks, because you manage them dynamically by rescheduling some of them as things evolve. With this, however, comes the danger of seeing many “empty” slots on the screen and therefore being tempted to fill them with more tasks. It’s important to know what you can do and not to fill your schedule too much and then start to feel down about not being able to complete all the tasks.

Greater productivity reduces stress, increases self-esteem and happiness, improves professional reputation (as an actor), leads to promotion and career advancement, and improves social relationships. Conversely, procrastinating and missing deadlines or submitting hashed last-minute work will only lead to poor professional status and reputation and increased stress and psychosomatic illnesses.

In addition to these simple time management tools, there are work management strategies to help get tasks and work done. A simple tactic is to break big jobs down into more manageable chunks, such as writing an outline of a report, hitting a small milestone, and then seeing the sections of the report as smaller tasks to come that will be tackled more. easily.

Coming back to the students, we need to teach them how to manage their time and work properly, study effectively and efficiently, and thus achieve success by reaching their full potential, being happy and enjoying their time at school. .

My students are always amazed when I tell them that never during my long years of study (until my doctoral courses and my thesis) I did not stay awake after midnight. In fact, I rarely studied past 10 p.m., as I’m an early go to bed (and early riser) person. It’s all about managing your 24 hours. Even if you stay up all night, you still have the same 24 hours as me; I can just use mine more efficiently, give myself more time to sleep, be mentally fit when I sit down to study or work, and thus perform better and be more successful.

Managing time well in the digital age with all its distractions is a challenge for which we must prepare our children and our students. It’s a skill that can benefit them throughout their lives, both personally and professionally.

  • Nidhal Guessoum is a professor at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Twitter: @NidhalGuessoum

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News

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