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Steps to Manage Time While Solving Complex Mathematical Problems

Jun 21, 2016Mathematics

Time management is a must-know skill in this fast paced world. Learning how to manage time begins right from school. Children juggle between school, sports and homework each day. Those unable to do so lag behind in each step of their life. Those who master this skill become very successful in life and much sought after.
If you think you are unable to manage time then do not worry. It is all about learning the right techniques and making enough effort in implementing them. Those who are quite adept at time management claim to acquire 25 out of 24 hours in a day. Not that they get an extra hour but they are able to utilize the given 24hours to the fullest.
Managing Homework Time
There are many techniques that you can employ to have enough time for your homework. A gist of what most techniques consist of:

• Planning: You make a list of all the homework you receive and accordingly allot time for each assignment. Then you keep a list of all the required study materials, stationeries and sit in a quiet place to begin. There are also some online services that student can take help off.
• Execution:Next you do continue with assignment maintaining the time schedule and as you finish each topic you check them off the list. Not only this gives you an elated feeling of being able to finish time, but you also garner enough confidence to proceed further.
• Rejuvenation: As you are executing the tasks, it is important to refresh both body and mind. This can be done by taking breaks, having a healthy meal, daily 30 minutes of sports or any other aerobic activity, meditation etc.

But what if one day the homework you got was quite complex and time taking so much that it disrupted your entire schedule. You feel out of control and lose confidence in the process. Some may even keep the homework aside out of fear.
A lot of my students have asked me how they should take out more time to work out complex homework such that they do not lag behind their other homework. Most of the time complex homework turns out to be that of the subject math.
How to then take out time/manage time for your complex math Homework?

1. Identification

First step is to identify the difficult homework. How do you decide that?

• Maybe you found it difficult to understand it in class.
• Maybe you missed the class and now cannot understand it. Hence the complexity.
• Or even if you did understand it, you would still need to practice a lot before you get a grip on it.
• Maybe that topic involves a lot of steps that it seems complex.
1. Time when you are at the best.

We all have our ups and downs in a day. Certain hours we feel the most confident, energetic while at other times feel sluggish, sleepy. Know when you feel the best. For some it is the morning while others are up quite late at the night. Keep this time for the complex homework. This is because it would require a lot of concentration and focus to help you keep going. When you feel super-productive, both concentration and focus will come easily to you.

1. Spend some time understanding

As you sit down with the first problem, spend some time in understanding each step. Consult your class notes and textbooks for any help or can even call your friend for help. This may seem time-taking at first but once you are able to understand it, you can work out the other similar problems in a jiffy.

1. Finish the simpler tasks in between the class

There might be simpler homework/projects that require less attention and time for completion. Try to finish them off or at least make significant progress in between the classes. Like for example you had a grammar class after which you were handed out the homework. The grammar rules are still fresh in your mind so you can use in between the classes to finish them off. If it is an online submission, mark the answers so that all you have to do is type it down on your computer after coming home. Or you can finish it on the school computer. You save nearly an hour which you can devote for the math.

I read on online about how entrepreneurs sneak in more time in their schedule by lessening their dead time. Dead time refers to the time when your active thought is not required like

• Eating
• Taking a bath
• Other activities including household chores that donâ€™t require you to think much.

Now if you spend 15minutes instead of 30 minutes eating, you save 15 X 3 meals = 45minutes which is nothing but extra time. Same goes for other activities too.

1. Sacrifice

According to Nielsen, a global information and measurement company – an average US gamer age 13 years or older spent 6.3 hours a week in 2013. It is not hard to guess that the hours will have gone up with each passing year. This means roughly an hour per day. Now this is just the time spent on games excluding TV and FaceBook/ Twitter.
So just on days when you require extra time, try to sacrifice the above. They take out most of your productive time.

1. Group Study

Why fret alone when you can do the same in groups. It is always better to study such difficult topics/ homework in groups.

• Studying together keeps each group member focused and you are less bound to get distracted.
• You discuss the problems covered in class. Active participation in these discussions will ensure a deeper understanding of the topics.
• Since everyone in your group is on a tight schedule themselves, they are more likely to study and not waste time in gossiping.
• This means you finish the homework faster as compared to the time taken if you had to do it alone.
1. Take an interest in what you are doing

If you are not efficient enough, you may never be able to finish the complex math homework if you are not efficient enough. Efficiency comes in only when you are interested in the work. It is like how you find time flying by when you are watching TV. Do not consider your math homework no matter how complex as difficult. Think of it as a challenge that you have to conquer.
Believe me! This attitude will get you not only with your homework but virtually any difficulty/ challenge in life.