Monday, June 13, 2005

Time Management

I spent a full hour earlier this morning (while waiting for my car to have regular maintenance) making a few notes about studying, with particular reference to mathematics as I am interested in bringing my understanding of calculus up to a fairly high standard.

The question of motivation does not arise in my case as I am definitely interested in this venture. I find mathematics intrinsically interesting and fun.

The primary issue for me is one of time management. I have set up a criterion of 10 hours/week for activities related to the Learning of calculus. Much less than this is equivalent to 0 hours/week. However I am not yet prepared to identify a specific time period during the week as I find that level of precision to be counter-productive. It is enough to monitor my time and simply make sure that there is no slippage of commitment.

Within the ten hours/week I hope to distribute my time across three types of activities:
1) making notes (sometimes on paper and sometimes electronically)
2) completing exercises
3) reflection comments.

However I have two other commitments for time that are directly related to Learning. One is about History where I have identified 3 books that I wish to read:
1) Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence
2) Wild Swans by Jung Chang
3) Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang & Jon Halliday.

The other is on the topic of personal journals where I wish to read:
1) John Fowles: The Journals volume 1
2) Coleridge's Notebooks: A Selection
3) Some of the Dharma by Jack Kerouac
4) The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (2 vols.)

A cursory glance indicates 8 additional non-fiction books beyond what I am reading for mathematics.

Finally, I like to have one novel on the go at any one time. Since my classification system is quite elastic, I include "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" as well as "Wild Swans" as falling under this category. This has the advantage of not adding to my total.

Let's tie up the arithmetic and verify that I have a do-able agenda.
1) Mathematics (10 hours/week)
2) History (6 hours/week)
3) Notebooks (5 hours/week)
Total time reserved for Learning: 21 hours/week (average 3 hours/day). This is a substantive commitment, perhaps unrealistic, but worth a try.

I will put mathematics on hold until the Spivak book arrives. History and Notebooks are the foci of the moment.

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