Joining Your Opponent: Making time work for you in your EPPP study schedule

As the clock ticks, the deadline nears, the later we are for work, the less time we have for the to-do list, and the older we become. Yes, at times the clock seems like our enemy; the opponent in a race we will never win. But, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat him, join him.

Working against the clock to get through your EPPP study schedule can leave you feeling a failure and burned out; perhaps wishing there was more time to get everything done. Although there is no way to get more minutes on the clock, there are steps to take to team up with the clock and properly manage the time you do have.

The first step to successfully managing your time is figuring out what you have to work with. What is on your to-do list? How much time do you have to accomplish each goal? What is the most important thing to accomplish during the time you have?

When EPPP test prep is at the top of your list, plan your day around your EPPP study schedule and study when you are the most productive. Make sure that your most important goal is what takes up the most of your time rather than wasting time getting things done that can be saved for another day.

When you have your goals prioritized, keep track throughout the day of how close you are to accomplishing those goals. In A Five-Minute Guide to Effective Time Management Psychology Today’s Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. speaks to keeping up with our goals:

“Take stock of where you are at during different points during the day (or night). If you’re not going to manage to achieve your goal, don’t give up. Recalibrate so that you can spend some time working on your most important tasks so that you don’t let the entire day go by without getting anywhere.”

To stop time from getting away from you, simply need keep track of the progress you make with you goals. If you are not making as much progress as you had hoped on a specific goal, such as getting through a practice EPPP test, it is better to reorganize your schedule to continue working towards the goal than it is to give up altogether.

Be realistic with the timeframe you have set aside to accomplish your goals. For instance, don’t tell yourself you are going to get through an hour of EPPP material when you have 45 minutes until your meeting begins. Whitbourne says:

“Whether someone else sets your schedule or whether you do, don’t let the times of appointments, job duties, assignments, or meetings slide. Be on time for assigned tasks that someone gives to you. If you’re the one running the show, mind the clock and don’t start or end things late. By being consistent, you will force yourself to think within the realities of the day’s schedule.”

Create a schedule that you can be consistent with. And stay energized within that schedule by setting short-term goals and taking rests. For every 20 minutes of study you should take a 5 to 10 minute break and for every 1 to 2 hours of study, take a half-hour to 45 minute low-tech break doing something involving less brain power. Take a bath, go for a run, or get out and do something you love. And then go to bed at a reasonable hour to be energized for what’s on the schedule tomorrow.

There is neither formula nor spell to give us more time. We have what we have; but if we make good use of it, we can experience the liberation of having time on our side.
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