Obstacles to achievement

Recognising obstacles

The different time management techniques in this course are designed to provide structures and frameworks to help minimise the problems associated with time management.

Managing learning time is all very well but we all get tired, fed up, bored and distracted sometimes, even when we are usually ambitious and motivated in our studies.

The root cause of obstacles to achievement is often behavioural. Our own behaviour can put paid to learning, no matter how well organised our schedule is, some common examples are:

  • Procrastination – not dealing with a problem and maybe avoiding it or denying one exists
  • Self-distraction – finding other more “exciting” activities to tackle
  • Unrealistic goals – taking on too much 
  • Fretting – worrying continuously but taking no positive action 
  • Scheming – finding many solutions to a learning problem but not committing to implementing any of them
  • Diverting – using diversionary tactics to switch attention away from learning goals

Are there any behaviour patterns that you recognise in yourself here?

Perhaps you have a method that you deploy to re-ignite your interest?

Managing obstacles

Usually, it is possible to manage or avoid obstacles and to go on to achieve learning goals. You can minimise or control them, and it certainly helps to become intensely involved in what you are doing.

Here are two more practical ideas:

  • Focus on the ultimate goal
  • Consider why you have the obstacle.

Self-awareness is vital – if you know which negative behaviour you are prone to you can observe this in yourself and take action to stop it.

Let us conclude by briefly summarising the “remedies” from Study Skills where they are relevant to overcoming the obstacles to effective time management for learning.

  • Set yourself realistic but challenging goals
  • Give yourself a reward once you have achieved your goals to plan
  • Make the most of rest periods
  • Sleep well and eat regularly
  • Keep a pad of paper handy to write down nagging thoughts or ideas
  • Identify the unpleasant consequences of failure
  • Look for a source of inspiration