It’s 11:30 AM, Thursday Jan. 24, at VIU. My stomach is growling abominations at me because I haven’t eaten lunch yet, and there’s a daunting essay in my backpack that needs to be finished by Friday morning. I’m also supposed to go to dance class later. I ask myself if I seriously have time to attend this “Time Management” workshop. The workshop website reads: “Learn how to move from ‘I don’t have enough time’ to ‘I have plenty of time for what matters.’” Ah, what the heck. I grab a sandwich from the cafeteria and head over to bldg. 255, where I meet VIU counsellor, Ycha Gil, who will be hosting the workshop. “24 Hours in a Day: Time Management” was part of VIU “Grade First Aid” workshop series. Held on campus throughout the school year, the workshops provide helpful tools and resources for students to increase their academic success. Students get the chance to ask questions and address individual concerns. As a full-time student, I’m often baffled by where my time goes. It seems that all the little, daily tasks add up quicker when I’m engulfed in studies. And before I know it, flossing and vacuuming is like a trip to the dollar store: they’re small items, but they certainly add up!
During the workshop, Gil pointed out that time is universal and we all have the same amount of time in a day. Everybody has 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week—whether you’re in Canada, Japan, Mexico, or anywhere else. So why is it that some people struggle more than others with time management?
“Time is not about being managed,” Gil says. “What we need to learn is how to manage ourselves.” Essentially, you call the shots when it comes to your schedule.
Bernice Dangkat, 22, is in the Bachelor of Administration program at VIU. Dangkat says she’s procrastinating more than usual this semester because she’s enrolled in fewer courses. She joined the workshop hoping to learn how to use her time more productively.
Gil recommended several strategies to help achieve a productive schedule. “Ask yourself: Do I have a schedule?” Gil says. “Is it working? Is it reliable? If not, you need to make changes.”
Gil says that students often run into trouble when they go home and don’t have a set schedule. She says time is very similar to money: just like you keep a budget, you also need to keep track of time. Gil recommends self-discipline via day planners (and week and month planners), to-do lists, and by planning for unscheduled events.
Of course, you can schedule down to the millisecond, but at the end of the day there are still only 24 hours. And technically, if you’re getting the recommended six to eight hours of sleep a night, you’re really only left with about 15 hours in a day.
During the Time Management workshop, Gil used the term “balance.” (Not to be confused with a “balancing act,” where you’re juggling a textbook and fruit smoothie in one hand and you end up spilling blueberry-yogurt puree all over your Macbook. Sometimes multitasking backfires and #you’restucktypinginhashtag until the space bar on your keyboard is fixed.)
“Be realistic,” Gil says. “If you’re putting 25 hours in a day, it’s time to review your schedule.”
Gil pointed out that students won’t have a student schedule forever, even if they’re making hard sacrifices during the semester to appease their busy schedule. Gil said studies have shown that for every two hours of lecture, students need four to six hours of homework to be successful—excluding readings! Luckily, studies have also shown that students need 10–25 hours per week of recreation to be academically successful. Another tip was to avoid depriving yourself of things that are important to you. Instead, Gil suggests spacing recreation out during the week. For example, instead of going to the gym one day a week for two hours, go twice a week for one hour. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for tips if your schedule is overwhelming. “Some of the other people in my program don’t want to admit they’re struggling, but they are,” says VIU student Malek Almaleki, who has a full course load in his Masters of Business program. Almaleki plans to organize his schedule with the day planner given to the workshop participants. Upcoming “Grade First Aid” workshops include “Introduction to the Campus Career Centre and Job Search Strategies” on Feb. 12 and “Career Planning” on Feb. 19. For more information, visit: <www.viu.ca/gradefirstaid/index.asp>