The Case for Time Management
9 Dec 2016

“Failure to Prepare is Preparation for Failure”

Plan Ahead/ Get Ahead

Effective time management can make the difference between success and failure. Most of us do not plan as effectively as we would like, and therefore, exercise less control over events that occur than we would like. When we neglect to take active ownership of future time, or fail to anticipate needs, we become passive victims of time. However, when we take control and learn to schedule time carefully, we make opportunities for ourselves, work more efficiently, meet deadlines and fulfill everyone’s expectations, including our own.

Planning ahead requires self-direction and self-discipline. Planning is something you must learn to do for yourself. To plan your time effectively, you must be conscientious and responsible. To follow your plan takes willpower. But the rewards for planning are enormous.

Below are recommended steps for developing an effective study plan.


Step Action
1 Make a list of all of your assignments and time commitments.
2 Estimate how much time is required to accomplish each assignment on the list. Sometimes this means making your best “guess.”
3 Create a schedule which shows when you plan to do each assignment. Make sure you record major events which will eat up your time.
4 Stick to it!!   Follow your schedule.
5 Don’t despair if you must revise the schedule. A revised plan is still much stronger than no plan at all.


You can reduce study time and increase study effectiveness by choosing appropriate study location and conditions. Select a room with proper room temperature, good light, and a clean working surface. Choose a quiet place, away from noise, distractions and interruptions. Before you begin, gather all necessary study tools such as paper, pencil, reference books, etc. Under these conditions you can concentrate all your faculties on the task at hand, do a better job, and finish sooner.

A good study plan can help you avoid the “Sunday Night Syndrome.” If you procrastinate – put things off until the last moment (usually Sunday night) – your work will suffer. Work deferred is often unfinished, or finished in a perfunctory and superficial way. It is very hard to be imaginative or creative or even thorough when you are falling asleep at your desk. Staying up late only jeopardizes your sleep, health and future performance.

In the end, it’s easier, and more effective to manage your time. Time management follows the laws of cause and effect. Fail to prepare; prepare to fail. Plan ahead; get ahead.


Guidelines for Preparing a Good Study Plan

 A good study plan is valuable but it takes time to develop. This investment in time will pay off handsomely in the quality of your work. While making your plan, remember that it will help you in direct proportion to the thought and effort that you put into it.


A schedule is a personal thing. It is made for you, by you, and reflects your strengths and weaknesses and your particular study habits. No one can effectively make a schedule for you, and certainly, no one but you can abide by it. A schedule is something you do for yourself, to help control your future time and do your best.

Below are a number of guidelines to keep in mind while developing a good study plan.

  1. Begin with a thorough list of work that you need to accomplish in a day, week, or semester.
  • Estimate time for daily assignments as well as longer term projects.
  • Be especially aware of testing cycles for each of your courses.
  • Reserve time for extra-curricular activities and non-study demands on your time.
  1. Choose a calendar large enough for you to make detailed entries. Use a pencil, because schedules are flexible and subject to change.
  1. Be conservative about scheduling. Try to be very realistic about how much time it takes to accomplish each task, recognizing that there will always be unanticipated interruptions. If you are too heroic in setting a schedule and bite off more than you can chew, chances are you’ll get behind and the schedule won’t work for you.
  1. Take your particular strengths and weaknesses into consideration when making the schedule.
  • Reserve time early in the day, when you are rested and fresh, to do the subjects that are more difficult for you to do.
  • Give yourself extra time to study for your tougher subjects.
  1. Give yourself more than one night to write term papers and to prepare for semester exams. “One night stands” can back you into a corner, especially if on the night in question, you get the flu.
  1. Review your schedule periodically and make adjustments to keep it up to date.
  1. Look at your schedule every day. Do your best to keep to the program you set for yourself.

Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go exactly as planned. They never do. However, if you stick to it, you’ll be surprised at how much freedom a good schedule gives you!


Dr. Jeffrey Fast

Dr. Jeffrey Fast has been a teacher and administrator in America’s leading independent schools for almost 40 years. After graduating from Oberlin College, he served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines teaching English at both secondary and collegiate levels. He received his MA in English Literature fromYork University in Toronto, then moved on to receive his PhD from the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, England. Upon his return to America, he took on both teaching and administrative positions at The Webb Schools in California, serving for 15 years as English department head, Dean of Students, Director of Curriculum, and Director of the Summer Studies Program. He also taught English to Japanese students at The Toin Gakuen School outside Yokohama in one of his sabbaticals. After Webb, Dr. Fast moved to Boston, and took on teaching and administrative positions at Belmont Hill School, serving as English department head, Director of Curriculum, and Form Head for the past 22 years. He currently teaches sections of 9th grade English, as well as several advanced English electives — Shakespeare, Faulkner and the Southern Tradition, Search For Faith, Literature of Social Reflection.

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