For the past few semesters I had trouble concentrating on my uni work. Things were getting harder and I was doing more subjects than I should. Along the way I made a few attempts to manage my time efficiently. None of them worked really worked. There didn't seem to be enough time to finish assignments and still revise as much as I would like. At least that was what I told myself.
Upon reflection, I found that when I was doing fun things, time passed very quickly without me realising it. So maybe it is not that there was not enough time before. I just wasted more time than I thought I did. Therefore I will now correct this with the most direct method -- I will schedule what I do everyday.
To this end, I divided all the things I can do into three categories or levels: 1, 2 and 3. Level 1 is the "must do" tasks like work and revision. Level 2 are optional but still "good to do" things such as practising piano, reading a novel, coding (a favourite pastime). Level 3 things are true time wasters which are purely for entertainment purposes. Obvious candidates include TV and games.
At the start of everyday (or back from uni) I work out how much time I have left until the end the day, and divide that into three blocks: one for each level. Currently I am trying to put at least 50% of the time into level 1 -- we'll see as time goes on. In any case, I am not going to dictation "when I will do what", but that at the end of the day I should have used the time as planned. Also if a higher level task requires more time I can take hours off the lower levels but not the other way round. I do that to ensure I do not make excuses and "delay" my revision.
Of course there are some problems. The main one is deciding what tasks fall into each of the levels. Even now, I cannot decide where blogging should go. I said level 3 an hour ago, but I am having second thoughts. ^_^
Despite some ambiguity problems, it works. Yesterday I managed to put in 4 solid hours into learn control theories, and I am in the middle of my holiday! It goes to prove that I can concentrate and there is sufficient time. I just need to stop making excuses.