Analysis Of The Study Skills Of Time Management And Essay Writing
Study skills help you manage your own success as a student; providing strategies and techniques for addressing core academic tasks at any level of study (Cottrell, 2013).
There are many different types of study skills, for example; time management, learning style, note-taking, effective reading, planning an essay, and essay writing. I have chosen to analyze the skills of Time Management and Essay Writing. I wish to examine these two skills, as I believe that if I learn how to strengthen my techniques in these areas, I will study more effectively over the next two years.
Time management is the ability to use the time we have in a working day as productively as possible. As a student, only part of your week and year will be timetabled, and so you are responsible for organizing most of your study time yourself, this can be challenging (Cottrell, 2013). I can relate to this entirely, as I have a full-time job alongside a young, demanding family. I personally struggle with effectively organizing my time and yet, this is an essential part of being a successful student.
Using our time effectively is very important. It allows us to complete the task or tasks within a manageable time frame. There are many strategies for organizing one’s time; the aim being you find a strategy that suits you. Some strategies include; writing a To-Do list and using a daily or weekly diary. Williams and Reid (2011) say writing a To-Do list is very useful.
I personally find writing To-Do lists beneficial. I write a weekly plan that includes my children’s activities, my household chores, my study requirements, and my work schedule. I then write a daily To-Do list which is lifted from my weekly plan. The To-Do list is set according to how much time I have available during that given day, and this is where my time management skills are exercised. If I have only a short amount of free time that day, I will shorten my to-do list so that there are achievement tasks. If I have more time available on that day, I will give myself many activities to complete, and using my time management skills, I will prioritize the tasks accordingly. But good time management skills develop over time. Over this time one soon realizes what works and doesn’t work.
Cottrell (2013) says there are Ten Steps to good time management. Step One is to be Systematic. One must have a system that works for them. I personally think ahead; whether it be that day or that coming week. I consider all of the tasks to complete against the amount of available time. The second and the third steps are finding out your time requirements; this is how many study hours you are allocated a week and how many hours a task will take. Step Four is to decide how you want to use your time. This is about how we share our time for each activity between work, study, and family. Step Five is to Prioritise; making a list of what needs to be done now, and what can be completed later on, and this will identify your priorities. Step Six is to Plan. I like to be very specific and comprehensive in my time planning. If we plan carefully, time versus task, we are less likely to feel dissatisfied as we haven’t achieved as much as we first wished to. Step Seven is Do It. I believe this is the most important of the steps. Reduce one’s anxiety about the task ahead by being proactive and doing it. Step Eight is to apply time management techniques. Time management is a personal preference and so for me, I believe prioritizing is the best technique. By considering what needs to be completed first and what can be achieved later on, creates a hierarchy of tasks, and allows one to feel they are positively working towards their To-Do list. Step nine is the ability to manage distractions and procrastination. Understanding what distracts you and having self-control so that you don’t allow these things to stop you from achieving the task set, is also one of my most important strategies. I am aware of what will slow down my productivity, and so I try to remove these elements as I study. Finally, step ten is to Monitor; which is checking that you are sticking to your plan. I believe the final step, of reflecting on ones activities and achievements is essential for knowing that you are working towards your chosen goal. Cottrell’s ten steps are a concrete reminder of how to manage one’s time effectively and are a great way of realigning one’s strategies should they need support.
(Ancel and Yilmaz 2016) states that Nursing is a profession requiring the skills in performing different tasks during the course of a day, for coping with limitations and pressure. Employees working in a busy health setting should have the essential skill of good time management. The continual and growing shortage of nurses, demands the requirement to work smarter rather than just harder for improving quality care (Said 2014) Time in the nursing industry is essential; everything is fast-paced and most things function in a timely manner. As healthcare professionals, we have to monitor our time carefully; medication time and record time. I am constantly reflective in my practice as a nurse, as I always want to perform to the best of my ability, to deliver high-quality care for my patients. Time management techniques are therefore constantly being used and modified as I progress through my career.
Having observed key time management strategies, I will now consider how to write an effective essay. Essay writing and time management skills very much interlink, as in order to read, research and gather information to form the main body of an essay, one needs to have successfully implemented time management skills to fully understand their essay topic.
An essay is a piece of writing designed for academic purposes. It is short enough to be read in one sitting. It communicates detailed information about a subject between people who share a common background of knowledge. (Mounsey, 2013)
An essay is a piece of writing which is written to a set of writing conventions (Cottrell, 2013). An essay has three important parts; Introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction states what the topic is going to include and cover. The body of the essay is the main part and it can be divided into paragraphs. The middle section of the essay is where one argues their point alongside supporting evidence and references. When essay writing, I enjoy the need to research certain topics and discover what other professionals in my field have found. The main body of an essay requires important references from published researchers. The need to reference correctly is essential, as it allows you to highlight the input of other researchers in your field. The final part of an essay is a conclusion. In conclusion, we should be summarising the main body of the essay. What we have found and why we think this is relevant to our professional roles, allows us to be reflective and improve our practice.
In my role as a nursing associate, I am employed to bridge the gap between health care assistants and registered nurses (NMC 2018). For this reason, it is important I improve my essay writing skills so that I am clear and concise when delivering evidence-based documentation. By following Cottrell’s structure, this allows the reader to clearly and logically follow the points I am trying to convey.
I chose to analyze the study skills; Time Management and Essay Writing. I wanted to examine these two skills so that I could strengthen my techniques and successfully study. Having researched Time Management skills, I have realized the most important element is the ability to prioritize one’s list of tasks. By prioritizing, you have to identify what needs to be completed first and you will, therefore, gain a feeling of success which will lead you positively onto the next task.
The two study skills are very much connected; as time management is essential for reading and understanding the content of an essay. If you prioritize your reading and note taking, you will gather information and this will allow you to structure your essay. I have found it interesting learning about how to format an essay effectively. Not only must it be correct for the writer, so that their evidence is displayed effectively but more importantly, the aim should be for the reader to benefit from reading the essay. As a Nurse Associate, we want to share good practice amongst one and another. If by analyzing core study skills I have been able to improve in my own practice, as well as being able to convey to a colleague, how they might improve, then I believe overall I am studying effectively.