One of the first steps in trying to solve this problem was to determine what kind of information I needed to gather in order to solve the problem. Some things were very concrete, such as my class and work schedule. You could say my dinner schedule was pretty concrete, too, except my dad would make exceptions to the rule if I just talked with him ahead of time. Other things, such as how much time I would need for homework, were flexible by someone else’s standards. In other words, it depended on my instructors to determine how much homework they were going to hand out each night and when we were going to have tested. However, the syllabi that they handed out at the beginning of the term could give me an average amount of time per week that I would need for homework. Even less predictable was the schedule I worked out with my friends when I would see them, what we would do and how long we would hang out. This would be the hardest bit of information to figure out. Finally, there were the things that I had to do, like laundry and sleep, that was necessary for my welfare but that I usually forgot to plan. These kinds of things could just be listed out and approximate times are given, such as I know I like to have 8 hours of sleep at night and I know it usually takes me about 4 hours to get my laundry done when I finally get around to doing it. Once all this information is gathered together, it is necessary to evaluate it and bring it into some form of organization. With my class schedule and work schedule in front of me, I can chart out the days and times each week that I have to be in each place. To do this, I will make a big chart with a single row of seven squares, one for each day of the week. I will write my class times and my work times down, leaving space any time there are gaps where I don’t have to go to work straight from school. I will pencil in family dinners on every day that work and school don’t get in the way. Using the syllabi from my classes, I will attempt to determine just how much time each day I will need to finish my homework and then try to find time in this schedule for study. I know things like sleeping and laundry take a set amount of time, so I will also pencil these in because they are flexible – I can sleep a little less if I need to and I can do the laundry on another day if necessary. The time left in each day will be the time I have available to spend with my friends, since this is both the hardest to pin down and the least important of my activities toward my future success.
By using this chart, I will be able to take better control of my life and make sure that I get everything done that needs to be done. I did run into some problems in trying to apply my ideas, such as when