Dec 27, 2014 By Austine Archibong

Research work could take the most unexpected twist and turn. It is a nerve-racking experience. Usually, if approached in a haphazard manner, valuable time could be lost.
In big research corporations, each researcher has a set of responsibilities and area of focus, this might help and aid timely completion of research work. However, in personal or unstructured research work, these tips on time management is life-saving. Without any bias to any form of research, these tips are generally applicable.

1. Read up! This is the first thing to do to ensure completion of research in the quickest possible timeframe. There is no end to the amount of underground pre-knowledge on any research work to be embarked upon. This will help guide in decision-making during the research.

2. Quite naturally, the first is to make a plan or strategy from the onset. This has been rehashed numerous times. But the key to the plan or strategy working out eventually is doing the right research project that you have the capacity, innate or available, to complete the research, on time! List all possible requirements; equipments and expertise, risks involved, financial commitment, raw materials, ambience et al and have them in place or at least in consideration.

3. Define the scope. This cannot be over-emphasized; researches could expand beyond the ends of the world. Before going further, a possible scope should be in mind. This should be after the underground work. The key is sticking to your guns, except in experimental research where the results could decide the next action.

4. Break actions into smaller units and understand in details each division. Place value on each division. Placing value would have to be in consonance with your supervisor's interest and guidance.

5. Prioritise the activities based on their value and happenings in the course of the research. Off all divisions, some would have a higher value, so prioritize on that.

6. Have a life cycle for each of the value. Let the tasks be accomplishable in bits. Each having a time bound. Specifically seek to accomplish them within specific milestones with reminders of the task schedule.
For example, instead of saying: 'Monday to Wednesday, project chapter one,' you could divide it in tad bits. Firstly, getting the underground data or theory; then dividing the chapter into sections; writing the first draft without editing - uninterrupted, straight from memory; then editing after writing, paragraph by paragraph; then using plagiarism checker, grammatical errors checker, spell checker et al before submitting to your supervisor for possible corrections. If there are, then finish up as required.
The break into phases like this helps you achieve specifics. If time is used up like this, it is more effective than having a larger task spread over a certain period; it might take a longer period, then messing up the initial plan or if shorter, the extra time could be spent less effectively than achieving the scheduled bit of work.

7. Put in place a support system. It could be a higher personality you report to or discuss with. This helps your psyche, as you'd have to meet expectations and/or impress, helping you tap into the deepest part of your creativity. If you attach huge importance to this, you'd likely want to sit up more to your responsibilities.

8. Being online for theory could waste time, get what you think you might need, shut yourself out and just work. When you are deficient on some part after everything, go back and fill it up. It could be very distracting to get the required while online at the same time. Social media is another leech.
It is advisable you have a working period and flexible time. On your working period, ruthlessly protect your personal time. Don't easily give in to non-relevant activities. These could distract work and extend the time to complete any phase of your research work.

9. Plan base on happenings, consider power and all other infrastructures you might require for your work. For example, as a student using the laboratory of your school, there would be times when power would be more stable or when the laboratory would be less in use, plan in that regard to avoid been stranded or waiting in turn. Optimize available time basically, depending on the situation at any point in time.

10. Seeking perfection is one of the biggest thief of time. Editing and fine-tuning on end. After a certain point, its best you declare victory and move on, especially when you exceed the time bound and  you close in on the picture in mind.


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