There are, in fact, obvious reasons for this. Those who have worked without an organised timetable will know these all too well. As you sit down to work, time stretches ahead of you unstructured and without end. You don’t know how long the task will take or what you will do afterwards. All you know is that the job’s got to be done and you’re there to do it until it’s completed. This can depress even the most motivated student. Faced with this daunting prospect we struggle to get down to work.
We search for things to do, to lighten the burden and take our minds off our work. We suddenly find pencils that urgently need to be sharpened, or books which have been in the same position for years that urgently need to be rearranged. It can be anything just as long as it gives us some respite from our work. Even when we’ve got down to work, we still see time stretch out ahead without structure. So we search relentlessly for any distraction just to give us a break.
Trivial things easily take hold of our concentration. We go missing from our work for five or ten minutes at a time. Obviously these are the breaks we should have planned. Without a plan, they come more frequently, taking up more time than we can afford. In contrast, by planning not just our work but the times for relaxation too, we give ourselves clear goals and expectations.
We 128 Research HTW17 7/27/01 8:16 AM Page 128 Organizing your Time 129 have a certain amount of time in which to complete the work, after which we give ourselves a reward for hard work. We might arrange to have a coffee break with friends, or a session down at the gym or in the swimming pool.
And, of course, at the same time we are free of that nagging conscience each time we have a break, telling us that we shouldn’t be here, we should be back at work. With a well-planned timetable we know that our time has been pre-planned, our relaxation as well as our work, and we have no need to worry because it’s all under control.
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