Tag Archives: time management

Save Time Using the Internet as Source of Information

How can research help you save time? This article describes how a simple web search for information can save time in daily concerns such as commuting from one place to another. Read on to see how research can save time as well as money and effort.

Research can do worthwhile improvements in our daily lives such as saving time. Time is gold so they say and we must consciously do things that can help us save time. More time available means more opportunity to do other things.

I narrate my personal experience on how research tools and techniques matter. The application of simple review of available information and putting the information to good use means efficient use of time and money.

Save Time Using Online Information

I was one of the participants of a planning meeting in the Department of Science and Technology at 10 o’clock in the morning last Wednesday. My residence is in Quezon City and I will be traveling from that point of Metro Manila to the City of Taguig. If I take the taxi as I did before, I will be paying roughly PhP500 to reach my destination. That would take about two hours, at moderate traffic.

I dislike the feeling of urgency whenever the taxi I am in gets trapped in the traffic mess. The  driver complains and asks me to pay extra for the delay. It gives me stress and this can get ugly if my frustration leads to a heated exchange of words with the driver.

I realized later that the driver is not to be blamed because running on an empty taxi after unloading me in my destination in the midst of heavy traffic means expending gas with no passenger to pay for the gas consumed.

Stating the Problem

I thought there must be a more efficient, less costly and less stressful way to get to Taguig. Can research help resolve the question I have in mind? So I framed my problem statement thus:

Is there a faster, more efficient, and less expensive route to reach the City of Taguig from Quezon City?

Given this question, the next step is to review available information.

As there is nobody to ask around, the internet is the most convenient source of information. I browsed the web and learned that aside from taxis and buses, Taguig can be accessed by train. Train? I never thought of that option and I haven’t heard any of my colleagues take that route.

Although unsure if the route still exists because the information was written a few years back, I assumed that it still holds true. I am familiar with the Magallanes station of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). And the information says that just a few hundred meters southward, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) station can be found.

I followed the route, taking the Ikot jeep in UP Diliman to get to UP Pantranco jeep so I can ride the Metro Rail Transit at the junction of EDSA and Quezon Avenue. The train arrived at the Magallanes station at around  7:50am.

I fumbled my way to the supposed EDSA station of the old railway system of PNR asking a guard for directions somewhere below the Magallanes interchange. He pointed the way to the station. Walking about 50 meters more, I “discovered” the hidden access.

The Old Train Arrived

My arrival would have been timely because a diesel-powered train arrived shortly. But being a newbie passenger, I missed it as I need to go against a throng of passengers who alighted from the train. I have to wait for the next train that is expected to come within an hour. I glanced at my watch and saw the time is 8:34am. I am still okay, I thought, as the meeting will commence at 10am.

save time by train
The Philippine National Railways train arrives at EDSA station.

Patience is a virtue, so they say, so I spent the time documenting the station and the surrounding areas. It’s a hot day so I walked from the  sunlight exposed sitting area and stood in the cooler western portion of the waiting shed.

At around 9:18am, the distinctive train toot and bright headlight came into view. I prepared to board the train with several other passengers. The train is moderately full at this busy hour. It seems many people are unfamiliar with this alternative route that goes from Tutuban to Calamba.

It took the train only 14 minutes to reach Bicutan, after two brief stops in Nichols and FTI. I arrived at my destination. The DOST compound is only at the other side of the road. In less than five minutes, I was 15 minutes ahead of the meeting schedule.

Cost of the Trip from Quezon City to Taguig

The whole trip from Quezon City to Taguig cost me only PhP50. Below is a breakdown of my expenses:

  • Ikot jeep: PhP6
  • PANTRANCO jeep: PhP10
  • MRT: PhP24
  • PNR: PhP10

I didn’t mind the congested ride in the jeep and at the MRT because it’s the busiest time of the day as employees rush to work. It’s great to find a more efficient, inexpensive and stress free route to my destination. The cost is 10 times less than taking the taxi. And I can improve on my commute time with the knowledge I gained on the train schedule.

Walking up the stairs at the Quezon Avenue station of MRT and queuing along with the long line of train passengers is the only patience challenging part of the trip.

5 Time Management Strategies for Researchers

Do you always find yourself too stressed out as things to do come your way? Do you feel that here are just too many research tasks to attend to each day and you need time management strategies badly? Here are five time management strategies for you.

If you are one of those guys looking for ways on how to manage their time more effectively, here are 10 time management strategies distilled from the research literature and from people who managed their time well enough to meet their life’s goals.

5 Time Management Strategies

1. Track how you spend time

Log your time. It is important that you know where your time actually goes. Knowing your typical use of time can guide you in understanding how you behave each day of the week.

By logging the actual time you spent on things will help you identify which of your activities really matter and which ones are just time wasters. That will give you an important insight if there really is a need for you to make changes in your routine.

If you are comfortable with what you are doing, then congratulate yourself. You’re a good time manager.

If not, then it’s time to take action. Time for you to read and apply the next strategy.

2. Prioritize your activity

Do the important and urgent ones first than any other category of activities or work. There may be things that are urgent but not really important so  you can just skip them in your schedule.

So what things are both important and urgent? This varies of course between people because each individual has his own set of priorities in life. What may be important for you may be unimportant to someone else.

For example, socialization may be deemed necessary by others but you find yourself uncomfortable dealing with people. That’s because you have a different personality. So why bother. Just follow your heart and do things you like without being pressured to attend a party or whatsoever that you don’t like anyway.

This means that you should have a set of priorities that will guide you in determining which things are both important and urgent. List these priorities down to remind you each time you are in a decision making situation.

3. Arrange your things and files

Arranging your things in their proper places can help you save time. Retrieval will be easier in a well organized environment. Just don’t overdo doing the organization as this will also eat valuable time.

Specifically for your files, a simple scheme that you may adopt will be to categorize your files according to priority, that is:

  • Important and urgent,
  • Important but not urgent,
  • Urgent but not important, and
  • Not important and not urgent

You may use this filing scheme in your computer to avoid wandering about while searching for the digital files you need most. Despite that there is a search facility for computers, many users do not know this feature and how to make best use of it. Simplify by getting your files at least in the categories where they should belong.

4. Give ample time to do your best

Doing your best each time can save time. While there are situations that you need to optimize or do things quickly in neither poor nor perfect state, doing quality work avoids spending time correcting errors.

Take note, however, that quality is sometimes confused with perfectionism. There are always things that you will likely miss. So missing out a thing or two is normal.

In empirical research, there are always rooms for error. This is referred to as probability of error. Errors are opportunities for others to criticize or make corrections on what you did. This paves the way towards a healthy interaction.

5. Have time for relaxation.

Giving yourself time for relaxation energizes you to face another hectic day. Reward yourself by doing things that excite you after accomplishing a major task. Subconsciously, your will to do another challenging task will strengthen and do another thing with vigor.

If you are health conscious and justifiably you should be, a jog or brisk walk in the morning each day can help you relax. Moderate aerobic exercise of 150 minutes each week can get you into good shape.

A healthy body means more time to do important and urgent work as well as keep you out of the sick-bed. You will then be more energetic and productive.

Adopting a personal time management strategy can help you allocate enough time to do your passion as a researcher. Doing research entails a lot of thinking.

Thus, researchers must take an extra effort to manage scarce resources such as time. The five time management strategies mentioned can help you figure out the best use of your time.

©2014 November 1 Patrick Regoniel

Five Time Management Tips for the Busy Faculty

Are you one of those who want to do research but find yourself too busy with your teaching tasks? Do you wish you can do more and improve your research performance? Here are five time management tips to help you out.

One of the four major functions of regular faculty members in the university is to do research. However, I always hear complaints among colleagues about their inability to deliver research outputs due to time constraints. There are just too many things to do with very little time to spare. For someone who has to prepare lessons for several subjects, writing a sensible research proposal for possible funding appears to be an impossible proposition.

How can you deliver despite these obstacles to your research writing engagement? I have found the following ways helpful which colleagues and anyone in the same plight may find handy:

1. Optimize.

Don’t work towards perfection. This doesn’t mean that you will write or do work haphazardly but set an acceptable standard that you can at least meet. It is better to do something than keep on griping that you can’t do anything other than teach.

2. Outline your planned composition.

Outlining before writing anything  can be a great motivator. Thirty minutes will be more than enough to prepare an outline.

I created a mind map to help anyone come up with a research proposal. Writing your proposal in chunks of activities at a given period can help you check your progress.

3. Use a pocket note.

Ideas crop up in your mind in the middle of the night or at unexpected times of the day. It’s difficult to capture these fleeting ideas unless you have a pocket note ready for this purpose. Keep one that is easily accessible in your pocket or stash in your handbag or waist bag.

busy personI advise against using electronic storage such as an android phone, tablet, or similar gadget. It is easy to lose files and even the whole thing. When you do lose it, it becomes a distraction because you feel bad having lost something valuable.

Besides, pocket notes are very cheap. After you have finished writing about those ideas in your notes, tear off the page and dump that in the garbage bin. That gives you a sense of accomplishment as your pocket note becomes thinner.

4. Identify your best writing time.

Set aside a specific time each day to write about research-related tasks.

My best time in writing about anything is the first four hours of the day. My mind is fresh especially after I have made my usual six to seven kilometer run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

After lunch, I’m useless as my eyes start to droop. I call that the “after lunch phenomenon.” A 15-minute nap will perk me up to work once again, albeit, with difficulty.

Unless something really needs to be done, I resolve to spend the afternoon on household chores or light tasks such as buying groceries, shopping, taking leisure time, and similar activities.

5. Be consistent. Practice makes perfect.

I know I am one of those rare guys out there who can keep on doing things I have set out to do. I find that writing each day gives me unexplained pleasure. Now, I can’t count the online articles I have written since I started off in 2008. I lost count but I am pretty sure I wrote at least 600 articles on different topics.

While consistently writing a lot of short articles for many years, I noticed that my writing skills improved and I do it with much less effort than before. I find my writing activity handy in writing research-related tasks.

Things happen when you do something about your plan. Nothing will happen unless you act NOW. I like that Nike slogan “Just do it.”

© 2014 June 30 P. A. Regoniel