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Quiz yourself ... What’s your time management style?

Do you leave everything to the last minute or plan ahead? Which approach works best for you?

1. You’ve just been given another essay to write on top of the three you already have to do. What’s your approach?

  • A. Go out with friends for a drink, you’ll start thinking about it tomorrow when you’ve de-stressed with a night out.
  • B. Start hyperventilating - you’ve got so much to do you’ll never get it done but you decide to pull an all-nighter, that will help.
  • C. Work out which one needs to be done first, and then plan your schedule around doing each of them in the order of the deadlines you have to meet for the essays.
  • D. Start doing a little bit of each one. You feel better if you’ve got them all started.

2. You’re on the last day of your placement and the sister tells you to help feed the patients but then matron calls you to observe an enteral feeding tube insertion in another part of the ward. This is one of your learning objectives and you are unlikely to have another opportunity to do this before returning to university. What do you do?

  • A. Do neither and go for a smoke. You can always play the two of them off against each other later.
  • B. Panic. How can you possibly be in two places at once? They should know you haven’t perfected cloning yet!
  • C. Tell matron politely that you have been asked by sister to help with the feeding and ask if you should find someone else to take over that duty first.
  • D. Go with matron for five minutes and then make excuses and come back to the meal time to help patients.

3. You’ve got to study for a test the next day but your friend on another course wants you to go out for a drink. What do you say to him?

  • A. Nothing. You go. It’s good to have a break.
  • B. Tell them, in floods of tears, that you can’t possibly go out. You have so much to do, don’t they understand?
  • C. Work out what you can reasonably get done, set yourself a target and tell them if you’ve learnt all that you need to by a set time, you will go out later.
  • D. You go out but then come back and stay up all night revising.

4. You get home from a long shift and your housemates have all left the flat in a state again, after you recently cleaned it top to bottom. You’ve got to go to lectures first thing tomorrow, but you need something to eat before you go to bed. What do you do?

  • A. Order takeout from the local pizzeria and eat it out of the cardboard box in your room.
  • B. Shout at your housemates for a bit and then storm off to bed without eating when they don’t respond
  • C. Tell them that it’s unreasonable that they leave the house in this state, especially as you’ve tidied and cleaned top to bottom recently. Suggest you sort out a rota in the morning, and in the meantime persuade one of them to wash up a few plates while you cook your dinner.
  • D. Roll your eyes to the ceiling and roll up your sleeves and clean the whole place again without so much as a moan.

5. You have to write two essays this weekend, go shopping, do the housework, pick up the dry-cleaning for a christening you are going to on Sunday and see the bank manager. How do you fit it all in?

  • A. Sleep in - that’s what weekends are for. Maybe head to the shops for breakfast and you’ll see if you can fit anything else in.
  • B. Set the alarm early to get up and get started on your work. You get caught up in it though and are still in your pyjamas at 1pm, missing your appointment with the bank manager and the dry-cleaners has closed.
  • C. Set your alarm to get up before the shops are open and get a headstart on your coursework. Set alarms on your phone so you know what time you have to leave to make it to the bank and dry cleaner’s and pop in and get your shopping on the way back. Forego your Saturday night out as you have the christening, which is something nice to look forward to on Sunday, and then do a bit of housework and homework that night.
  • D. Tell your housemates that you are going into town to see the bank manager and pick up the dry cleaning, and ask if there is anything they need. They decide to make a day of it and go shopping and have drinks, and you end up sidetracked.

How you answered …

Mostly As: Laid back operator

You prefer the easy life and will always put off until tomorrow what you could possibly have done three weeks ago. You hate to be rushed or put under pressure, and would always prefer the company of others rather than spending time alone. But when you are on your own, you’d prefer to have a bath or watch television than focus on work. You rarely tidy the house and never like to make plans or stick to a schedule, preferring to see yourself as a free and easy spirit.

TRY: Making a timeplan. You can divide up your free time into housework and chores, homework and spending time with friends and family. Use the latter as treats that you reward yourself with rather than a daily occurrence. You will enjoy it all the more if you look forward to these rather than always building them in. And your bank balance will look better too. Remember you get out of life what you put into it, so do make sure that when you are at college or work, you are fully focused on it. Your life will be richer for it.

Mostly Bs: Stressed but unproductive

Take a deep breath. You are so worried about making sure you do everything that you often end up running around in circles doing nothing at all. You don’t want to let everything get on top of you but it always does, and you wish you could be more chilled out lke your friends, But you can’t.

TRY: Doing some breathing and relaxation exercises. You can get these off the internet and you can also get CDs to help you feel less anxious. It’s important to be in the right state of mind for tackling the large number of duties you have to fit in every day. Work out what is important and what you can put off. Housework can maybe wait, or get friends involved in a rota. Your essay deadline tomorrow cannot be put off, so prioritise work by the time it will take and the deadline it has to be in and create a to-do list and timeplan accordingly.

Mostly Cs: Productive timekeeper

You always have a timetable on your wall to tell you when you can study and your mobile phone pings with a succession or reminders to make sure you are never late for anything. Your calendar is bulging, but you manage it all beautifully and your work is always delivered on time. We’re envious!

TRY: Taking time out for yourself. You may have a tendency to fill your day with work and tasks that you do for other people, but remember to leave time out for yourself to relax and chill out. But keep up the timekeeping and brilliant organisational skill - these will definitely come in handy when you qualify as a nurse, as well as during your student days.

Mostly Ds: The people pleaser

You want to get that essay in on time and you want to have time to finish off that novel you are reading, but someone always comes along and needs help with fixing their car or getting advice about their relationship hassle or bad day at work. You never seem to have time for yourself.

TRY: saying no for a change. People won’t instantly hate you if you tell them you can’t go out for coffee when they want to, in fact, they will value the time they have with you more and learn to respect it. That’s not to say you should turn away from a friend in crisis, but work out whether they really need you or are just after a chat that you can delay until you’ve finished your work. Learn to put yourself first and don’t be selfish (never a good quality in anyone) but don’t be a yes person. You have rights to, and a right to getting what you want done is essential to a happy and fulfilling life and career.

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