The first step in the research process is the identification of background information (Bolner and Poirier 3). In this step, a search will be carried of the keywords in relevant encyclopedia indexes. The various articles in these encyclopedias will help to form a basis for the research and will also act as a guide in conducting further research in other publications. The encyclopedia bibliographies will also help direct the research to appropriate references.
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Catalogues can also be used to search for books and other print publications. A guided keyword search will be used to obtain data on the topic (Bolner and Poirier 15). The location of the material will be identified and once a particular book has been obtained, a random review of the bibliography will help identify even more resources. Annual reviews on the topic will definitely provide a list of publications that are relevant to the research.
Periodical indexes may also be used to look for periodicals (Bolner and Poirier 23). Such indexes can be located on computer network databases or in the form of catalogue lists which in most libraries contain both print and microform copies of publications. Search engines will also be used to find usable material from the internet. These are readily available and are much easier to use so they can be used as much as possible.
Once the data has been collected, an evaluation should be carried out to critically analyze it as well as separate scholarly and non-scholarly material. If the sources found appear to be too many, they will have to be narrowed down to those that are specific to the topic.
At the end of this project, the following targets/goals should have been met:
- First, a clear analysis of time management as a business concept should have been clearly made.
- The usage of the time management aspect of the business should have been exemplified in the detailing of an academic paper.
- A review of the strengths realized by time management should be made and ways to put these positive attributes into effective use should be illustrated.
In order to meet the goals mentioned above, the SMART principle will be used to constantly analyze the success of given procedures (Verzuh 441). In compiling the goals mentioned above, care has been taken to ensure that they are as specific as possible. This will make it easy to come to conduct an assessment of the achievement of the goals from time to time. The objectives though not particularly measurable, their attainment can easily be reviewed on a scale. The goals are definitely achievable and realistic, and this is mainly because they entirely involve individual comprehension and not necessarily material achievement. Aside from the four mentioned characteristics, it is safe to conclude that the targets set above are also timely as their attainment comes in handy to enhance the comprehension of other concepts.
The main plan for the project is to conduct comprehensive research aimed at obtaining all the necessary material for the project. Data will be obtained from various centres including online databases and libraries. The data obtained will be used to draft an academic paper and once it is satisfactorily completed, a review of the same should be conducted to isolate the barriers encountered. As part of the risk management strategy, proper time will be assigned to the project in order to cover for any inconveniences that may be encountered.
Time management is the sum-total of all the strategies and materials that are used to ensure the proper usage of time when carrying out a particular task. Time management comprises a number of activities in the drafting of the plan to guide the allocation, setting of targets, assignment and review of the time used in carrying out the activity. In order to ensure that time is used effectively, proper organization and monitoring of the time used per given step of the project should be done.
Proper delegation of time to specific activities should be conducted in consideration of a given protocol. This paper seeks to review the concept of time management. To this end, the various aspects of the practice shall be applied in analyzing how an individual can comprehensively apply the concept effectively. The focus of the research and the subsequent report is exclusively based on a post-graduate student. By examining this topic from the perspectives of time management, the question of whether time management is an absolute necessity for such a student will be explored
Time management approaches
Various scholars have conducted researches on various time management strategies. Their findings have subsequently been classified according to four major categories of tool utilized in the process, namely, first, second, third and fourth generation approaches (Corey, Merrill and Merrill 22). These have been briefly detailed below.
- First-generation. Gadgets such as alarm clocks are used to alert the individual when the time allocated for a given aspect of the projected has come to an end (Corey, Merrill and Merrill 22).
- Second generation. In this approach, the individual personally plans and prepares for all the project activities by outlining them using calendars and appointment schedules (Corey, Merrill and Merrill 22). This approach also requires that the person sets proper objectives and achievable goals.
- Third generation. This time management approach involves the use of personal organizers such as diaries and personal digital assistants to plan for activities to be carried out within a given time (Corey, Merrill and Merrill 22). For this strategy, time should be allocated for clarification of priorities.
- Fourth generation. This is basically an approach based on the personal commitment of the individual to attain the goals. He/she can use any of the three tools mentioned above to establish some form of the protocol in the attainment of the fixed goals (Corey, Merrill and Merrill 22).
Personal time management
Time management approaches cannot be effectively put into use without first establishing clear objectives and goals. These targets are properly listed according to the specific needs of the project (Morgenstern 242). For the various activities, a method of prioritization should be established with deadlines being set for each individual task. This is very critical particularly for a postgraduate student as it helps in distinguishing classwork from the professional and personal involvements. A plan of the various activities to be carried out is then properly drafted while bearing in mind the inclusion of routine tasks. The task list is very important in all-time management strategies, especially for post-graduate students. Its components and usage are detailed below.
Tasklist- This is basically an inventory of all the activities to be carried out in order to ensure that certain goals are achieved well on time (Winwood 38). Various methods can be used in the creation of a task list with the most common method involving manually listing all the activities to be carried out on a paper and once a certain item on the list has been completed, it is crossed out (Heldman, 34). In recent days, various electronic gadgets have been created to act as substitutes for the traditional pen and paper tools mentioned earlier. These include personal digital assistants and personal organization computer software.
The organization of a task list is mainly tiered (Winwood 83). The simplest of these tiered project strategies is a general list of tasks to be achieved on a day-to-day basis. Most task lists are created in consideration of a given protocol system. The main method of task prioritization is the ABC system where A is the most important of all tasks to be carried out and C is the least important. Sub-categorization of activities can also be established within the ABC group (Winwood 83). For instance, A-1 is the most important within the A group and A-3 is the least important item within the A task.
In certain strategies, each specific task category will be assigned given amount of time, for instance task A can be items that require one day for completion while task C are those that need to be cleared within a month (Winwood 86). In the creation of a task list for organizing the activities daily activities, numbers can be assigned to particular tasks based on their importance to the project (Winwood 83). With recent developments in software technology, applications have been developed to assist in the creation of task lists. These software are more effective as they provide for assignment of notes to guide particular tasks. The main advantage of these software is that they can easily be re-set and data re-organized as compared to the traditional hard copy listing.
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Based on various schools of thought, five basic strategies have been identified in the listing of personal organization activities. These are listed below:
- Priotization. The objectives and goals of the project are listed according to their importance to the whole.
- Organization. The things that have to be accomplished to ensure that a selected task is completed successfully and well on time have to be well organized with links being provided to connect the various activities.
- Streamlining. These entails coming up with strategies for handling activities that are not pleasant but which have to be done for the project to be completed successfully.
- Economization. These involves the identification of tasks that are interesting to do but which are of no relevance to the project. Such activities should be cut down and the time saved allocated to other tasks.
- Contribution. This entails the isolation of all tasks that will have a substantial impact to the project and using them as required.
One method of prioritization that has received critical acclaim is the Eisenhower method (Sweeny 208). This involves the classification of all tasks based on their relative importance and urgency. Tasks that are both unimportant and not urgent are cleared of the list. On the other hand, tasks that are both vital and urgent are done immediately and by the person with the most skill. Tasks that are unimportant and urgent are assigned to other people that can sufficiently do them. Tasks that important but rank lower in terms of urgency are assigned a deadline and are done by the person directly responsible. Any postgraduate student should be able to find the task list an important tool in time management and since it does not require any special skill or associated costs to come up with one, the benefits will be almost 100%.
Importance of Time management
Establishment of workable time management strategies provided individuals with ways to exercise some level of control over their lives (Ellis 39). The development of plans for daily activities help persons and especially professionals to be orderly as they already know what needs to be achieved at the end of a given day. A proper plan will help accommodate for emergencies since all it would take is a simple re-organization of the list to take of the particular needs of the sudden occurrences.
Utilization of a proper time management strategy enhances the productivity for a particular project. If individuals don’t properly plan for their day they seldom accomplish all tasks that have to be carried out for the particular day (Ellis 39). Writing down what has to be accomplished and allocating a realistic amount of time to the specific tasks to be carried out helps reduce the risk of redundancy. A proper time management schedule will also ensure that at the end of the day, a number of tasks will have been completed.
A working time management strategy helps boosts an individual’s confidence (Ellis 39). This especially arises from the individual getting the feeling of having taken control of his/her life. The confidence created by an individual knowing that he/she can complete the tasks that they set out to do serves to improve their credibility in the eyes of professional counterparts.
Proper time management ensures that individuals have sufficient time to relax and unwind. By the person completing the important tasks of the day on time, they are able to delegate time to activities that they enjoy doing much as they may not be related to the professional responsibilities of the person (Ellis 39). These activities may include hobbies and spending time with one’s family, or simply taking time to regenerate.
Ability to Meet Goals
One of the most important advantages of time management is that it allows individuals to adequately attain their goals (Ellis 39). It becomes challenging for individuals to properly attain objectives that they have set for the day if they don’t have the basic knowledge of the concept of time management.
The aspect of time management is very critical in the achievement of both personal and professional objectives. This essay has served to outline the most vital components of this aspect. The task list has been particularly given prominence as a very important tool in this strategy. The importance of the concept of time management has also been detailed and it has been established that this is an approach that cannot be ignored if professionalism in any field is to be achieved. In conclusion it is worth noting that proper organization is one of the key identifiers of effectiveness. A decent time management framework comes in handy in ensuring that goals are met and that the individual can sufficiently vouch for his/her effectiveness in any professional field.
The original research strategy came in handy for most of the research process and the writing of the academic paper. The process of obtaining relevant background information for the essay went according to plan with sufficient aid being gained from relevant encyclopedia indexes. The encyclopedia bibliographies also served as proper guides to where more information for the topic of time management could be obtained.
Catalogues in the main libraries also helped identify the relevant books and academic papers that informed this project. Most of the print materials reviewed also had bibliographies that served to further direct the research process to more sources of information.
Usable academic material was obtained from online databases and the internet but this mostly served as guides for the flow of the essay. With sufficient data having been collected, a technical analysis was conducted to establish its relevance to the topic in question and in this stage the scholarly articles were distinguished from the non-scholarly articles. The most appropriate material regarding time-management was selected.
The research process was the most challenging of the entire procedure. This is particularly because most of the books and journals available at the libraries contained detailed amounts of information regarding time management and it required taking an extensive amount of time to go through each and every publication to isolate the most important material for use in the paper.
Initially, the internet seemed like the most convenient and easy to use source of material but it proved extremely difficult to access peer-reviewed journals and proper academic papers. This is mainly because most of the sites that hosted appropriate databases required registration of sorts. In some instances, it was extremely difficult to confirm the credibility of the material carried on the websites. It was also challenging to find data that met the needs of the project which was mainly based around personal time management. This is because most of the materials reviewed generally contained information on the aspect of time management within an organizational setting. This ended up making most of the data gathered irrelevant and more time had to be allocated to further research.
The challenges detailed above were however easy to overcome because most of the basic principles of time management had been sufficiently explained in class. Secondly, even though most of the material collected for the paper was focused on an institutional setting, the data was inherently grounded on the concept of time management for the individuals within the establishment. It was therefore easy to see how this data could apply to individual relevance outside of the institutional framework.
This aspect of the project has given me the basic idea of how important to clearly establish a framework for the data collection process such that it is easy to isolate the most relevant information for the project at hand. Had I not come up with the research strategy, it would have been extremely difficult for me to get the data I needed on time as I would be blindly seeking information without taking its relevance into consideration.
The project plan also came through to ensure that the paper was completed successfully. After identifying the objectives and goals of the project it was easy to come up with appropriate strategies to ensure that they were well attained. The data collected during the research process, was organized properly based on the relevance to the topic and the paper structured in such a way that made academic sense. This part of the process was not particularly challenging as the material for use had already been collected and all that was required was to put it organize it on paper. However, a number of time management issues arose in an effort to accomplish the project plan.
This is mainly because as a working postgraduate student I have other duties and responsibilities that fall within my docket. Though I had come up with a time frame for the attainment of each and every aspect of the project, I found myself having to give additional time to certain items while deducting the same from the less relevant items. In a way I had to come up with a compensational framework that made me attain all the objectives within the desired time frame.
Academic papers are by nature extremely demanding in the sense that they require for an individual to go through huge amounts of material and pick out just a few details to form the background of essays limited by word counts. In some instances I found myself deviating from the project but the plan helped me get back on track. I made sure that I had completed each item of the project within its allotted time and this contributed to the final product appearing presentable.
From the issues raised above, the project plan has arguably served as the most important taking from this project. I am in a position to testify that after using the plan to the letter, I was able to see a remarkable improvement in my efficiency levels. This is especially because I was in a position to see how much I could achieve once I dedicated time to the completion of each and every item included in the project.
The project plan is definitely one aspect that I will make sure to apply even in projects outside class notably at home and at my work place. The project plan is something I would recommend for each and every individual and more-so those involved in business.
Bolner, Myrtle and Gayle Poirier. The research process: Books and beyond. Iowa: Kendall/Hunt publishers, 2003. Print.
Corey, Steve, Roger Merrill and Rebecca Merrill. First things first: to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.
Ellis, David. Becoming a master student: tools, techniques, hints, ideas, illustrations, instructions, examples, methods, procedures, processes, skills, resources, and suggestions for success. United States: College Survival, 1985.
Heldman, Kim. Project management jumpstart. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2003. Print.
Morgenstern, Julie. Time management from the inside out: the foolproof system for taking control of your schedule–and your life. New York: Owl Books, 2004. Print.
Sweeny, Susanne. Transform Stress Into Strength: Getting Control of Your Life, Your Mind, and Your Time. USA: TransformStressIntoStrength, 2008. Print.
Winwood, Richard. Time management: an introduction to the Franklin system. Franklin International Institute, 1990. Print.
Verzuh, Eric. The fast forward MBA in project management. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2008. Print.