Time management is an important aspect of university life. Students have to split their time between attending lectures, taking tests, completing assignments, allocating time for social life, making time for their families and taking care of themselves. This calls for an effective balance because time is a precious resource that needs to be managed wisely in order to meet the demands of university life. According to the University of Adelaide (2013), research indicates that time management relates to academic success and satisfaction. This indicates that students who manage their time well in the university are more likely to achieve good grades and be more satisfied with their lives compared to their counterparts who do not manage their time wisely. However, going by a study done by Barney McCoy in 2013, students face many distractions that inhibit their time management. For example, the study found out that the college students use digital devices for non-class activities. When students multi-task with digital devices in classrooms, research indicates it may hamper their ability to pay attention (McCoy, 2013). This study is a scratch of the surface, and it is a pointer that more should be done to make sure that students manage their time in the university well in order to achieve good grades and enjoy their stay in campus.
Significant Topics Pertinent to the Issue
The issue of time management in the university encompasses many other aspects; it entails class activities as well as activities outside the course. The main problem associated with poor time management, or lack thereof, is poor grades and lack of satisfaction. Other subsidiary problems associated with poor time management in the university, or lack thereof, include procrastination, distractions and unbalanced life (Schunk & Zimmerman, 2012). All those problems emanating from poor time management are related in one way or the other. For example, distractions in class lead to lack of concentration. Lack of concentration in turn leads to procrastination. For example, a student who fails to take notes because they are busy sending text messages will have to postpone writing of the notes to another time. The student would probably copy the notes from friends during the lunch break. The effect of this would be an unbalanced life because the student will be making notes during breaks. An unbalanced life would in turn lead to lack of satisfaction, which may be translated into poor grades in that subject. Although the interrelationship between the problems stated may not occur in exactly the same sequence, the point is that the manifestation of one of the problems would lead into another.
According to McCoy (2013), the past decade has seen a steady growth in the use of digital devices that allow user's wider access to information and people. The same period has also seen an increase in the use of digital devices as educational tools. In the classroom setting, the use of digital devices has its own drawbacks. For example, the constant use of digital technology hampers a student’s attention span and the ability to preserve challenging tasks (McCoy, 2013). Again, the problem with the use of digital devices in class is that the human brain is not built to handle multiple streams of information at the same time. As a result, students cannot concentrate fully in class because of distractions. Given that 70 percent of the students used in McCoy’s research said they were using digital services for non-class purposes, it is suffice to say that a considerable number of students waste their class time through a distraction. These results point to a lack of proper time management.
According to Hussain & Sultan in 2010, procrastination is another major problem among university students. The process can be incidental or habitual. In the university, procrastination becomes evident when students postpone and delay their academic work. For example, students may delay preparing and submitting their assignments, projects and presentations. Consequently, such delays lead to the failure to prepare adequately for examinations (Hussain & Sultan, 2010). Although researchers have tried to classify procrastination into several categories, the results of procrastination remain the same no matter type. Namely, procrastination slows down the performance of students, makes them lazy, careless, passive and academically stagnant and irresponsible (Hussain & Sultan, 2010). Improper time management forms the basis of procrastination that signifies the importance of efficient time management.
The use empirical research in both studies mentioned proves that the results are replicable and credible. The researchers use university students from different universities thus indicating that the results cannot be disputed for concentrating on a particular institution. Use of random sampling also avoids biases that limit the credibility of research work. Other studies done previously and quoted in the two studies discussed, also show similar results. Therefore, the researchers meet accuracy and precision expectations required in a standard study. In addition, the information provided is relevant and timely. For example, a study on how digital devices hamper the concentration of students in a class should be a wake-up call to the relevant policy makers. There should be a decision on whether to allow the use of smart phones in taking notes or ban it completely. The study on procrastination is also relevant because curriculum setters should be concerned whether the workload given to students is to blame for procrastination and the resultant drop in performance.
However, the studies do not give the strategies for avoiding distraction and procrastination. For example, in the study by McCoy, he examines the issue of digital devices in class to a great length. The researcher correctly traces the genesis of the use of digital devices in the classroom settings up to the moment. However, while the results presented are not in doubt, the researcher gives no mention of related research that can be useful for learners and policy in identifying workable ways to eliminate distractions caused by the use of digital devices. The research done by Husain & Sultan also manifests a similar problem; the lack of related research on the means of eliminating procrastination among students.
Nonetheless, the lack of solutions to the problems identified is understandable because it is beyond the scope of the study undertaken by the researchers. Therefore, in terms of answering the research questions that they intended to answer, the researchers have done excellent work. The accuracy, precision and relevance of the research is not in doubt.
A major assumption in the studies discussed is that there is a diverse correlation between time management and performance. Good time management is associated with good grades while poor time management is associated with poor grades. The assumption is that distraction and procrastination, which are some of the main manifestations of poor time management, have an immense contribution to poor performance. However, procrastination and distraction are partly to blame for poor performance in school; other factors cannot be ruled out. For example, the contribution of one’s intelligence cannot be ruled as one of the main factors affecting performance. High performance in tests scores cannot be delinked from high levels of IQ (Ardila, Pineda, & Rosselli, 2000).
There are many instances whereby some of the students perform very well even when they do not concentrate fully in class (Ardila, Pineda, & Rosselli, 2000). This is because traditional intelligence tests do not properly assess executive functions. Executive function is correlated with self-regulation, temporal organization of behavior, planning behavior and control of attention (Ardila, Pineda, & Rosselli, 2000). These functions are under the control of the prefrontal lobe, and they do not form part of the contemporary examinations, which may explain the reason some students with very good time management skills in class may end up performing poorly and vice versa.
Proper time management is an important skill that university should learn. There are very many demands for time, and it is necessary to plan one’s time. A good time plan should share one’s time between attending classes, undertaking assignments, social life, and family and preparing for presentations, projects and exams. A proper balance is required, and this calls for the student to devise a means of prioritizing activities, avoiding procrastination and dealing with interruptions that may come in on the way. However, time management in the university should not be seen as the only means to good grades; it should be encouraged because it prepares the student to undertake future activities in a structured manner without overwhelming any of the aspects that are vital in life.
Ardila, A., Pineda, D., & Rosselli, M. (2000). Correlation Between Intelligence Test Scores and Executive Function Measures. National Academy of Neuropsychology , 15 (1), 31 -36 .
Hussain, I., & Sultan, S. (2010). Analysis of procrastination among university students. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences , 5, 1897-1904.
McCoy, B. (2013). Digital distractions in the classrooms: Student classroom use of digital devices for non-class related purposes . Journal of Media Education , 4 (4), 5-11.
Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2012). Motivation and self-regulated learning: Theory, research, and applications. New York, NY : Routledge.
The University of Adelaide . (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2014, from Adelaide.edu: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/counselling_centre/resources/brochures/time.html