Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Getting Ready for Fall Quarter – Managing your time Part 1

by Peg Balachowski, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning at EvCC 
Several years ago I taught a College 101 class. As you might expect, time management skills are an important thing for new college students to assess. Have they ever had to manage their time? Have they learned to manage it efficiently? And what, exactly, is time management?

Of course I went to Wikipedia:
Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities – especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.
It is a meta-activity with the goal to maximize the overall benefit of a set of other activities within the boundary condition of a limited amount of time, as time itself cannot be managed because it is fixed.

A meta–activity. I love it! I never thought of time management in that way!

So…maybe you are about to start your first teaching job. Maybe you are teaching at multiple campuses, spending time commuting from one campus to another, possibly on the same day. Or maybe you work a full-time job, and teach part-time in the evening. Let’s talk about some ways to help you get through your day to increase “effectiveness and efficiency.” I pulled this out of my College 101 archives, but I bet you will find these reminders helpful:

Time Management Tips

1.    Discover How You Spend Your Time:  Keep a temporary 24 hour schedule recording how you live your life (i.e. habits, peak productive times, free time, and common distractions).

2.    Prepare Written To-Do Lists:  Make and update a list of specific tasks you want to complete, including the time you plan to start and finish.  It is very important to create a priority rating system by using numbers, ABC's or symbols (*,!,+).  Don't put it on your list unless you have a good reason to do it.

3.    Improve Decision-Making:  Develop your ability to prioritize based on many factors including your values, deadlines, resources, available time and consequences.

4.    Break Down the Tasks:  Often tasks are viewed as unmanageable and "too much".  To make them appear less threatening, schedule the tasks in divided parts that are easier to do in shorter time periods.

5.    Prepare Written Time Schedules:  Especially for visual learners, it's important to see your daily, monthly, quarterly and/or annual schedule.  First fill in all of your commitments and life necessities (i.e. work, class, meetings, grooming, eating).  The free space available is your time to schedule your to-do list items.  Make sure these schedules are placed where you can frequently read and modify.

My favorite, and one I have to remind myself to do all the time is the to-do list. Like many people, I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to cross something off of that list! My goal is to have a list for the day as soon as I get to my desk. I’m not always successful, but I find that on the days I accomplish this I get more done (like writing blog posts!) Pick one of these tips, and let’s practice!

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