We're in the first days of the fall term at CPCC, and because I have "new" students (and by "new," I mean new to college), I spent a lot of time talking about how to succeed and time management.
I borrowed some information from my colleagues (They are, after all, more familiar with CPCC's student population than I am.) and added some of my own to create this prezi for my students. The main points are things I've learned about time management through my years of being overwhelmed.
1. Be honest with yourself about your responsibilities and how long they are going to take you.
Ever think something's going to take you an hour, and it takes you five? Yeah, me too. I actually am guilty of doing this all the time with grading. I think I can knock out a set of essays in two hours, but the first two take twenty minutes each, and it isn't until the fifth essay that I'm actually rolling. And I do the opposite with cleaning. I think I need two hours to clean the house when it really only takes thirty minutes.
Try to give yourself the time you need. And spend the time you need on the more important things. And this brings me to my next point.
2. Use Stephen Covey's time management matrix to help you prioritize.
As you can see, Covey suggests organizing your responsibilities into important/not important and urgent/not urgent. Dan introduced this chart to me a few years ago, and it really works!
When I start working, I take care of everything that's urgent and important first. Then I work on what's important but not urgent and mix those tasks in with ones that are urgent and not important.
It's easy to get distracted by things that are not important and not urgent. This really does help me prioritize.
3. Make lots of lists.
I probably make too many lists, but I get my work finished. I have two calendars: monthly (which I put into my weekly calendar every Monday morning) and weekly. On my monthly calendar, I list appointments and tasks/errands that I need to accomplish that are important but can be put off. Every week, I transfer that week to my weekly calendar, and I add the things I do weekly: blog, prep my classes, work out, etc. So for every day in my weekly calendar, there's a list of my appointments and things I need to accomplish.
And like I wrote before, every morning I sit down and figure out what's urgent/important and then important/not urgent. I tackle other things as they come in, and yes, there are plenty of tasks that get put off until the next day. If I have a few things that are important/not urgent that just keep getting shuffled down the week, I spend the first part of Wednesday or Thursday tackling those things before I move onto the important/urgent.
If I get overwhelmed, I make a list of my top three-five tasks for the day, and I knock those out. After that, I feel accomplished, and I can move onto everything else I have to do.
4. Make sure the people who are important to you understand what's important to you.
This one is maybe best for non-traditional students, but it's a good reminder for all of us. The people you love and your friends shouldn't give you grief about working or studying or foregoing time with them to meet your personal goals. Make sure those people, if you really do love them and/or they really are your friends, know what your personal goals are and that they support your goals.
5. Consider your responsibilities as different types of balls you are juggling.
I love this last point because it almost combines 3 and 4. My good friend Kimmie told me once to imagine all of your responsibilities and your relationship as balls that you're juggling. Got it in your brain? Now imagine that you're juggling different types of balls: some are glass, some are really bouncy, some are bouncy but a little flat (like a bad kickball). Some of those balls you can drop once, like maybe spending time with your significant other. If you drop that ball once, it'll bounce back up so you can catch it and keep juggling. If you don't catch it after the first bounce or maybe even the second, you won't be able to pick it up again.
That images help me understand my commitments, relationships, and responsibilities, and of course, I want to juggle all of them at once, but that isn't always possible.
And if none of that works, pretend like you've got everything under control. Sometimes if you pretend long enough, everything starts to be under control.
If you have any other tips, I'd love to hear them!
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