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Top time wasters to avoid

March 21, 2015

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EVERYONE is a good student — only if they can find the time to study! Yes, time is what no one seems to have enough of these days. There are only 24 hours in the day and seven days in the week, but things that demand our attention and take up our time are just too many to be squeezed into our schedule.

And to make things worse, there are so many time-zapping worthless activities tempting you to spend hours on them in a way that makes wasting time seem like a major accomplishment. Anyone who has completed a level at Candy Crush after a week of failed attempts, managed to hatch a rare dragon egg in Dragon City or uploaded a selfie with the perfect pout, will know what a major accomplishment these essentially useless tasks seem like. How we boast about them and set about to spend more hours outdoing our last feats.

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Now if, like a poet once said, had we but “world enough and time” these indulgences won’t have been a “crime”, but for students, with exams already here or very near, one can’t afford to get distracted by even worthwhile things if they are not related to studies. Until the final exams, your focus needs to be your studies, and then you can play and let yourself become distracted by other things.

But to stop distractions from stealing away your precious time, you need to know what these distractions are. If you sit back and think rationally, you will quickly identify the things that nab your precious time. And once identified, make a sincere and firm attempt to avoid them until you are done with your exams — otherwise you shouldn’t expect good grades.

So let’s see what these time-wasting activities are and set about to eliminate them from your routine — at least for a while!

Social media

Growing up in the digital world, kids today, and everyone else, are connected to digital distractions in such an intricate way that they cannot be avoided. But avoided they must be if you want to get something done and in good time.

Social media is the most time-consuming of the digital distractions and Facebook is the king among them. What you need to remember is that there was life before social media, people did manage to stay connected and share things that were worthwhile and the world will not come to an end if one did not update their status for a few days.

You just have to stop ally our social media interactions during exams, or at least limit it to a 10-minute check and just move away from the computer, or keep the IPad or Smartphone out of your reach. It will be better if you candidly seek the help of an elder sibling or your parents and tell them to keep these distractions away or stop you when they find you connected to internet.

A physical site-blocker can also be added to the computer to keep distractions at bay. StayFocused for Google Chrome is a great blocker that allows you to enter your time-wasting sites and put a time limit on how many minutes you can visit the sites each day. When the time is up, the site is blocked for the rest of the day. Isn’t this just what you need now to stay focused?

Chatting and messaging

YOU messaged your friend to confirm the page number of the homework that you have to do. He answered you. You sent him a smiley. He replied with a funny sticker. You then sent him another sticker and there are further exchanges of ‘lolz’ and ‘he, he, he’, and before you know it, a good half an hour or more is wasted on this.

Ask yourself — do you really have to keep answering each smiley with a smiley and a sticker with a sticker? Don’t you think it should have stopped at the first smiley or a simple ‘Thanks’ from you?

And even during regular days when exams are not looming over your head, do you have to chat with all those friends you already spend the whole school hours chatting and hanging out with? Even if you want to share something, can’t it wait till the next day, like it did before cellphones and internet were invented. Our parents didn’t chat and message their friends all day and they still managed to remain good friends, so will you if you don’t do these things.

Random searches

A LOT of time is consumed in things that appear important and relevant to our studies but really aren’t. Internet searches for study material and information can take up a lot of time if you don’t do it in a precise manner. So make sure that you use the specific keywords when searching so that you quickly arrive at the desired result.

Games

MAJORITY of people who use gadgets are hooked on at least a game or two which they like to play at least once every day. And these game designers are so smart that they make sure the games involve playing regularly to progress, inviting friends, sending and accepting requests, which means that even if you are not playing a game for fun yourself, your best friend begs you to accept her Candy Crush request and send her an extra life, thus making you play the game and soon you are hooked on it!

Limit the time you waste on such games, collect all your will power and resist the urge. Keep the Xbox locked away. See how much time you will be saving this way.

Personal grooming

IN this looks-obsessed world, everyone is conscious of their appearance and takes pains to look their best as much as they can. Personal grooming takes up a lot of time and attention, and we can easily cut down a bit of such activity so that we can spend it more productively on studies.

Mind you, personal grooming is different from personal hygiene, and the latter is important. So combing your hair or trimming your nails is necessary but if you are spending more than five to 10 minutes on these things each time you do them, then you need to rethink what you are doing and cut down on the time.

TV

WITH television and cable TV offering 100 plus channels 24/7, we waste more time looking for something interesting to watch than actually watching something interesting.

Get real and honestly tell yourself which programmes/shows you actually find interesting and then only sit in front of the TV when they are on. Better still, when the exams are on, don’t watch those shows, they are all available online so after the exams you can watch the missed episodes with a relaxed mind.

Poor organisation and planning

IF you start your day without knowing where you will be heading — in other words without a roadmap — chances are that you will not be heading anywhere at all!

You need to plan what you have to accomplish each day, then have a slightly longer-term plan about the weeks ahead too. And try your best to accomplish most of what you have planned. Besides planning, you need to be organised to carry out your plans otherwise a lot of time will be wasted.

Always have a quiet and clutter-free study area, away from distractions, where you keep all your study things. This way you will easily find all your study material in one place and will not spend time going all over the house picking up your notes, books and other things. And after you have finished studying, always tidy up before getting up.

A clean and quiet study area will send positive signals to the brain and make you learn faster.

There are many more things that are stealing away your time, some specific to only you as each person does different things. So identify those things that you feel you spend too much time on and which can either be ignored for a while or you can easily spend less time on them. Then allocate that time to your studies and other more important and productive activities.

Studies have to be a student’s main focus, there are no two ways about it.