The study year has started and questions of time and stress management are important right now. Happily I learned some time management tools are great ways to manage stress and increase my focus while studying. Right now I am working toward long-term personal and professional goals and managing some high stress issues with short, mid and long-term implications and timelines. This creates an interesting scenario. Positive and negative stresses create a need to reorganize how I work and study; it also points the way to improved performance. Capability is not the same as performance. For me, micromanaging my study time helps to close the gap between capability and performance; it also helps manage stress. Closely managing time and tasks is helping me develop talents and achieve higher productivity and performance. In a nutshell stress and time management are behavioral issues and decision-making choices.
Marshall Goldsmith notes that ‘behavioral issues become increasingly important as you develop more skills and achieve at higher levels.’ In ‘What Got You Here Will Not Get You There’ he recommends four steps to ‘make a commitment to moving forward:’ let go of previous habits or strategies, make honest performance assessments, be supportive of oneself and others and pick a specific thing to improve. His advice helped me to learn about the relationship between choices and performance; and how to implement effective strategies. It illustrates how capability and competence without performance mean nothing; and how learning skills to set aside distractions from indecision or competing demands opens time for focus and achievement. It sharpens decision-making about approaching complex projects like executing study plans for a year-long term.
My study plan this year revolves around two important issues. The first is controlling how decision-making and stress affects my study plan. The second is my performance at exam time is based upon how I study. This year I have much less time available for study than in previous years. Making decisions about how I use my precious study time is more important than ever. In ‘The Confidence Quotient: 10 Steps to Conquer Your Self Doubt’ Meryle Gillman and Diane Gayle discuss the behavioral roots of different decision-making styles. Understanding these points help me focus on the most challenging things first. Tackling these issues will yield the greatest results.
Getting the greatest results means deciding how I use study time. This is more than which units or primary and secondary texts I read. It comes down to how I use every minute allotted to study and the skills I reinforce every day. The arguments I make at exam time are not just about examiners questions and texts; they are arguments for my efforts during every minute of the year. Both Plato and our examiners make an argument for the difference between opinion and knowledge. Opinion is murky ground; it needs competent reasoning and argument for meaningful expression. My ‘micromanagement’ strategy was inspired by desperation; happily it is reducing stress and closing the gap between opinion and knowledge; and between capability and performance.