Time management


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  • Welcome to the Viterbo University Time Management workshop. If you have additional questions after viewing the workshop, please contact the Academic Resource Center, 332 Murphy Center, 608-796-3196 for more information.
  • If you are just beginning college, there can be new challenges for managing time. In your previous schooling, it’s very possible that you had parents, teachers, coaches, or others reminding you of due dates and/or responsibilities. For the most part, in college you will have sole responsibility for keeping track of your obligations.

    There is also probably more “free” time in your schedule since you typically don’t have classes scheduled throughout the day. You will be deciding how you use those open times: in productive or unproductive ways.

    You may also have several roles you’re trying to maintain in school and out of school and don’t feel there are enough hours in the day for it all. The more you have going on, the more precious your time seems.
  • Each person receives an equal and fixed amount of time – 1440 minutes each day to be exact. As a limited resource, time is even more valuable than money. It cannot be saved or borrowed. Time not used is indeed time lost.

    Similar to money, however, your use of time can and should be managed, so that you make the most of it. When you are managing your time usage, you are making intentional choices about how and where you “spend” your time.
  • Since you already know how much time you have in your “bank account,” an important step in time management is determining where your time is being “spent.” A Time Audit, available on the next slide, provides valuable information about your time expenditures. You can then evaluate if your time is going toward the things that matter.
  • Click on the summary. It will open in a Word document, and you can print and fill it out to evaluate your time usage.
  • Now that you have an idea where your time is being used, what does it tell you about how you’re managing your time?
  • Use what you’ve learned about your time usage to identify changes that should be made. Are there any trends you discovered? Have you uncovered time wasters? Are you often doing things last minute? Are you getting the most important things done first? It is preferable to have the majority of time spent on important/non-urgent things. When important things become urgent, you no longer have the ability to do your best work in the shorter time frame, nor do you have a choice about when to do the work.
  • At this stage, it can be helpful to list several changes you might make for better time management. With any change, a complete turn around is not likely to occur over night; therefore, pick one to three changes with which you can begin. You can incorporate additional items from your list as you get more comfortable with your new behaviors.

    Possible modifications might include limiting the amount of time you spend on unimportant activities, using weekly planners, beginning to intentionally work on assignments earlier, studying a bit each day rather than in “cram” sessions, and /or prioritizing time usage with to-do lists.
  • There are a variety of tools that can be used for better time management. Weekly planners are one option shared here, and others will be introduced in future slides. Please feel free to adapt any to better fit your needs and personality.

    As you may have discovered by completing the Time Audit, it can be useful to have a visual of where you are spending your time. The first planner shown here also provides boxes for the incorporation of to-do lists.
  • First, record fixed commitments, those activities which happen at a designated time. Classes, work, practices, or other regular responsibilities would be examples.

    Next, record time for studying. The general guideline is two hours for every hour in class; this can vary from class to class, but including at least some time to review each class, each day is ideal and assists memory. Studying in 20 minute increments frequently can result in the best retention.

    Furthermore, it’s important to have a balance to your schedule. All work and no play is not a healthy schedule. You need to allow time for rest, socializing, exercise, meals, etc. Good self care is part of good time management.

    Also, it can be helpful to focus the daytime hours on school, as though it was your fulltime job. We tend to be creatures of habit, and this can help you get used to doing certain tasks at certain times of the day, thus developing a routine. Completing work during the day also can allow for extended social or down time in the evening – guilt free.

  • For an upcoming project, begin by brainstorming what steps will be involved. Write down the steps and estimate how much time you should need for each. Determine deadlines for the steps, planning to complete the entire project before the assignment deadline.
  • Being able to prioritize tasks is an essential element of time management. Having goals (general or specific) will help you to determine priorities. Not every activity or task will necessarily fit in the limited time you have; therefore, it’s necessary to do the most important thing(s) first – the task(s) that will have the greatest consequence(s) if not completed.

    You might think of it like packing a suitcase. There are only so many items that will fit into one suitcase, so you want to make sure you pack the most important things first.

    Using to-do lists can help you to prioritize tasks. As the name suggests, a Do-It-Today List has you focus on the tasks you must accomplish today. An A-B-C To-Do List allows you to prioritize, with three separate lists based on importance and/or deadline. It is recommended to have three separate pieces of paper for each list. “A” list items are the most important or have the highest priority. “B” list tasks are the next important, followed by “C.” The goal is to accomplish “A” list items before moving to “B” or “C” lists.

    Another advantage of to-do lists is they allow you to see progress by crossing off tasks as you complete them; this usually gives a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which may serve to motivate you to keep going.
  • Some general guidelines to consider as you develop a time management plan:

    Set goals of what you’d like to be accomplishing. These can help guide the use of your time by helping you prioritize.

    Know your best time of day, the period of time when you tend to be the most alert. Utilize your peak hours for high priority or difficult items. You may find you will accomplish more in less time.

    Learn to control interruptions. There are often many things vying for your attention, so it is often best to remove yourself from temptation. Turn off phones, computers, TVs and go to an area where people aren’t likely to find you.

    Tackle hard or unpleasant subjects first, when you’re likely to be more alert. Also, if you put those more difficult things off, you may tend to drag out other activities in an attempt to avoid dealing with something you find challenging.

    Make time for yourself in your schedule. You will not perform as well if you’re fatigued or burnt out.

    Don’t over commit by agreeing to do more than is realistic. Learn to say “no” to those things that aren’t moving you closer to your goals.

    Frequent yet short study periods can be a very effective use of time. You can usually find 20 minutes in your day for a review of class material, which helps curb the natural forgetting that occurs. Plus, it’s generally easier to have good concentration for 20 minutes rather than an hour or more, thus giving you greater benefit for the time used.
  • It can be helpful to recognize when you are procrastinating and ask yourself if delaying the work is a good choice.

    If you are too vague in what you want to accomplish, it is more difficult to know where or how to begin. Instead of saying I’m going to study history, plan to read over 20 pages of chapter 5.

    If a project feels overwhelming, you are more likely to want to avoid dealing with it. Instead of looking at the whole, try determining the smaller steps that will produce a completed work. As you complete parts, you will be able to see that you are making progress, even if you don’t have a finished product. After all, “a journey is made up of a thousand small steps.”

    Taking the first step is often the most challenging. Once you’ve determined the steps involved, commit to at least completing the first one. You may find you gain momentum and won’t even mind continuing to the next step.

    Determine a reward for progress that you make. Don’t wait until you are done either; congratulate yourself for progress made.
  • Time management

    1. 1. TIME MANAGEMENT Welcome to the Viterbo University Time Management workshop. If you have additional questions after viewing the workshop, please contact the Academic Resource Center, 332 Murphy Center, or mjgrowt@viterbo.edu for more information.
    2. 2. TIME MANAGEMENT IN COLLEGE • Sole responsibility for managing time • Less structured time • Multiple roles to balance
    3. 3. TIME VS. MONEY • Time is more valuable than money • Time not used is time lost • Manage your time usage Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. Carl Sandburg
    4. 4. HOW DO YOU GET STARTED? • A “Time Audit” can offer valuable information
    5. 5. TIME AUDIT To review your time usage, fill in your activities for a week. To further evaluate your time distribution, complete the summary available on the next slide.
    7. 7. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? • How would you describe your usage of time? • Did you observe any trends in the audit? • Evaluate the distribution of your time. Are you satisfied with how your time is being spent? Were you surprised by anything the summary revealed?
    8. 8. HOW DO YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR APPROACH TO TIME? • What change(s), if any, might you make after looking at your time distribution? • Are you getting the most important things done first?
    9. 9. WHAT’S NEXT? • What plan do you have for making tangible changes to your use of time? • What different choices can you commit to making?
    10. 10. TOOLS There are a variety of tools that can be used for better time management: • Weekly Planners FOR THE WEEK OF ___________________________________________ TIME MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY Priorities of the Week Long-Term Assignments MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY 8:00 a.m. 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 1:00 p.m. 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00
    11. 11. WEEKLY PLANNERS • Some things to keep in mind when filling out a weekly planner: – Record fixed commitments first – Schedule study time – Have a balance to your schedule – View your schooling as your job
    12. 12. TERM PLANNER Term Planner Get out your course syllabi and enter all of the important dates for tests, homework, and assignments. After you have entered your exam and other task dates on the calendar, look at the dates. Think about how many days or weeks you’ll need to study for major exams or write papers. Mark the days or the weeks in which these tasks will be priorities. Before you make out your weekly plan each week, examine your term plan to identify the week’s main priority. Insert rows as needed. Week Of Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday • A Term Planner provides the opportunity for an overview of the entire semester. • Writing in all upcoming tests and assignments early in the semester allows you to anticipate when busy times will occur, so you can plan accordingly.
    13. 13. PROJECT BREAKDOWN Name ______________________________________ PROJECT BREAKDOWN Class: ________________________ Project: ________________________ Due Date: ______________________ Steps to take: Time Allotted Planned Date Date Completed One cause of procrastination is the desire to avoid what seems unpleasant or overwhelming. A Project Breakdown can provide a more realistic view of what steps are involved in completing a bigger task.
    14. 14. Prioritize Tasks – Goals – Do-It-Today – A-B-C A List = Most important tasks B List = Next important C List = Least important (long-term)
    15. 15. GENERAL GUIDELINES • Set goals • Know your best time of day • Control interruptions • Tackle hard subjects first • Make time for yourself • Don’t over commit • Study short and often
    16. 16. FIGHT THE URGE TO PROCRASTINATE • Notice when you are procrastinating • Determine specific goals • Divide projects into small manageable pieces (see Project Breakdown) • Get started • Reward yourself