Meg: How to outwit the thief of time

USQ blogger MegMeg McKie is currently studying history and a literacy teaching subject as part of the Bachelor of Arts degree. She speaks dodgy but enthusiastic Mandarin and a little Indonesian. She loves birman cats, Hello Kitty merch, Aussie wildlife, daal, saris and Scottish accents.

Chances are, if your great grandma was Australian, she spent the formative years of her education carefully copying out ‘Procrastination is the thief of time’ in her best cursive. These days, we have motor cars, computers and YouTube, which all threaten to still away our precious time.

Here are some ideas to harness time to your advantage.

1. Procrastination be gone!
Watch one of the helpful YouTube videos on why you procrastinate (the task seems all too big and overwhelming?) and then ask yourself what you can achieve in the next 5 minutes. Then start. Right now. It’s just five minutes…. And then repeat!
The key here is to stop procrastinating by attacking procrastination head on.

2. ‘You eat an elephant, one bite at a time’
It all adds up. Spend 10 minutes a day summarising the main points you have learnt for one of your subjects in the week. Chipping away at the Mount Everest in front of you is not as daunting as breaking out the mental TNT, and it all adds up…

3. ‘Stop nesting,start studying’
This beautiful concept, nestled among the pro-tips included in the link below, can be good to remember, if you find yourself unable to start anything until you have all of your coloured highlighters in rainbow order on your desk. While a tidy, efficient workspace is a great way to lift your mood and cue your mind to focus, there comes a time when you need to realise those unfluffed pillows can stay unfluffed.

4. Live at the library…
This is great for avoiding the urge to redecorate your room and for avoiding social gatherings you would rather attend than study. I use a little suitcase with wheels to transport my loads of library books. Socially awkward, yes… but I’m pretty sure both grandma and the average chiropractor would approve.

5. Smell the roses, while you are jogging past
Daily exercise really is an investment in better sleep, reduced stress and increased mental alertness. Aim for 30 minutes. This isn’t a huge chunk of time out of your day. If you can manage a walk in the morning sunlight, so much the better. If you’re in Toowoomba, consider a brisk walk around the tranquil Japanese Gardens. Connecting with nature and getting your blood circulating is a great way to multi-task.

6. Multi-task and multi-media
Look for sensible, productive ways to do two things at once. Download lectures and listen to them when you’re on bus trips. Walk on the treadmill while listening to lectures or watching relevant documentaries. Break out the coloured pens and butcher’s paper and affix the main points to your wall, with stick figure cartoons – for fun and study, simultaneously.

7. Failing to plan is planning to fail
Having a daily timetable and diary seems really obvious when it comes to time management… and that’s for good reason. If used to maximum advantage, your timetable or diary will stop that time slip-sliding away, never to return…

8. Real world in real time
Challenge the soothing sense of connectedness offered by Facebook and meet up with your friends in real life, if you have study to do, make the most of your procrastination skills and have study gatherings together. If you live at College, make maximum use of Study Hall. Keep each other honest, focused and motivated.

Even better is if your friends and family have cuddly kittens—build these little purring stress reducers into your busy week.


9. The ol’ cost-benefit analysis
Remember why you are at uni. Where do you want to be in 5 years? What will you be able to do in the years ahead (have a great career, afford to buy rather than rent your dream home?).

Do a quick search of literacy rates globally, and remember that even though sometimes it seems never-ending and laborious, education is a privilege. Try to recapture the enjoyment you felt in learning as a child. Do your best to work hard, and have gratitude for your life opportunities.

If this doesn’t help… think of all the chocolate you will be able to purchase when you use your degree to be gainfully employed!

Do you have any never-fail time management and motivation strategies that work for you? Please let me know, below!


Ann-Marie: How to beat the procrastination monster

How to stay focused on study: 8 internal distractions and how to avoid them

Andrea: 5 reasons not to leave your uni work to the last minute, from a student who's done just that...