SSS Time Management Workshop
Good afternoon. It's the noon period. We're going to take a look at time management. There are lots and lots and lots and lots of things that can help you be a more successful student and help you to excel at this new life of learning. We try to get done as quickly as we can in these workshops and one-on-one. One of the things that you really, really need to master quickly is your time management. It can make you or it can break you to how you use your time. So today we're going to look at the topic of time management and thank you for taking your time just to come and visit with me because we know it's very, very valuable. Most people say they don't have enough time to manage their time. They just don't have enough time in the day to get everything done that they need to accomplish. Well, we know that, one of the first things that we want to do is spend some time in learning how to plan our time. If you're not managing your time, your time is managing you and you will be in trouble. If you manage your time effectively, it will help you to accomplish all that you have to do in your private life, your personal life, your home life, your school life and get all those things that you have on the table accomplished in a timely fashion, but I don't have enough time to manage my time. You may find that time is managing your life and taking control of you. If things are chaotic, welcome to my world. Guess what? You can keep those things in some semblance of order and accomplish everything that you got to accomplish. You ever notice that if you're part of an organization and there's something that needs to be done and needs to be done quickly and effectively they don't take it to the person who has nothing to do, they take it to probably the most busy person on the staff because that person has mastered time management and they know they'll trust them to get it done so if you master time management you bring some order to your life and hopefully things will happen in an orderly fashion and a very well-mannered fashion. Managing your time can help you to reduce your stress and anxiety. Come on in. And we all know that being a student has its stressful moments, right? That's because of all the deadlines. That's because so many new things you're getting involved in and so many new demands that are being placed on your life and so if you can manage your time, it helps to reduce that stress and that anxiety. Some basic things that you want to remember when it comes to time management. First off we'll assume that all of you are the average person and that you need basically 7 hours of sleep a night. The new studies are telling us that we should be getting 8 hours, but we'll assume that we all sleep to 7 hours a night. So if we're getting 7 hours of sleep a night, then we can assume that we have 17 hours left in each day to accomplish all of the things that are on our plate. We all have the same amount of time. One hundred and nineteen hours a week. That's all there is and the plan we use, and if we plan and use those effectively, it'll bring a lot of order to our lives. A thing to remember is you cannot put more than five pounds of stuff in a five-pound box. That means you can't cram more things into your week than you have time available to accomplish. As we go through this idea of time management and getting a handle on time, there are some things we want to plan when we do this symbolically today but you want to remember to keep building these things together when you begin to effectively use the calendar. You want to first think in terms of all the things that you have to accomplish. All the things you have to do. So, you want to gather a list of things that are out there that you know are things you have to do so you'll get your syllabuses from your classes and look through your syllabuses and begin to look for things that are coming due on the syllabus; papers, when tests and quizzes are coming up. You want to look at homework that will be due on your syllabuses. You want to look at your work schedules. Some of you are working jobs as well as starting to school so you want to know when you're going to work. If your work schedule is constant, that's great, but if it shifts from week to week, you want to look at it every week to see what your work schedule is going to be so you can get it on your calendars. You want to list a plan, all your planned activities; trips you may want to take with your family or on your own, conventions, plays, concerts that you may be wanting to attend. Anything that you've got on the horizon that's coming up you want to put on a list and put the date down with it. You want to gather those things that you have to do for family. You may have family reunions this year. Last weekend was a great weekend for family reunions. You may have some more of those coming up. You may have family birthday celebrations, anniversaries. Anything like that that you've got coming up that you're going to be celebrating, things that you need to do for your family, soccer games, basketball games, football games, you'll want to make a list of those as well. Then you want to take all of these things and create a master calendar. At one time in my life I was working three different calendars. I'm now technically down to one although I keep it in two places. So, you buy a master calendar and for your purposes you might find that your master calendar ought to be a semester calendar so that you look at everything a semester at a time so it's in sync with your student life. So, your calendar right now would start at August 1st and will run through December 30th. And then your next semester calendar will begin on January 1st and run through the end of May. When you've got that, what you want to begin to do is to begin to plug all those things that you gathered into that calendar and just begin to write them in on the dates that they're due. When you do that, you'll begin to see how busy your semester really is. They'll be a lot of open spaces because we've not gathered everything yet. We've gathered all the big events, but we haven't gathered everything yet. You want to begin to think about the amount of time that each of those events will take. I say I have one calendar, but I have it two places. I have one calendar. I have an Outlook calendar. I have it on my phone and I have it on my computer and I have to synchronize them. So, if I make an entry on the phone, I'll know that it'll wind up on my computer because I'll synchronize it later in the week so that I can carry my calendar around with me anywhere I go. I've done that for years. I used to use, I started out with a Franklin planner and then went to a day planner and then I went to the big planner then the monthly calendars and what I found was sometimes I was in places where I really didn't want to carry a big, bulky calendar. For your purposes, the student planner works well. If you don't already use a calendar or a planner, you should have picked one of these up from master advising. If you did not, please stop at master advising and see if they still have them. I think I have two left over in the office. If they don't have one there and you're the first to get to me, I've got two I think, but you can use these. These are sent out every semester and they also have some other information that you ought to have, add/drop dates and things of that nature and rules and regulations that you might want to have available as well, but you want to begin to write all that stuff down. You want to estimate the amount of time that it takes to do it and begin entering that in on the calendar as well. The hard work is already done. Gathering this information is the hard part. Okay, once you've got that master calendar created now, this one works well for you because it also could be used as a weekly calendar. This has a week at a time in it as well, your student calendar. So, you might begin to look at a week at a time. When I bring my calendar up at my desktop what I look at is a seven-day period at a time beginning with Sunday. You can set them up differently, but mine works well for me beginning with Sunday. So, then you begin to take all of that to take at information that you put in on your master calendar and you begin to lay it out on a weekly schedule. And as you begin to do that, you want to begin to enter in other things that have, that you'll be doing that you need to do that have not appeared on that master calendar. You begin to look at the things that are secondary and important. You've already listed the things that are most important, they have to do's and all of that and then you begin to plug in things like your laundry and some even go to the point of [inaudible] out their meal times. If you eat, I have a friend who eats dinner every day at 6:00. Well, I'm not quite that regulated, but this person is so they could actually go to their calendar and block out their meal time. If you're that regulated, congratulations. I'm not, but you need to remember that you need to allow time to eat even during the middle of the day. Like today you may have booked your lunchtime while you're in here. You could have brought it with you and eaten while you were here, but you need to have that time allowed on the calendar for it. So you want to begin to list those kinds of things; laundry, trips to the mall or to Lexington or Cincinnati or wherever you may be going. Next you want to begin to estimate the amount of time that it takes to accomplish those goals and begin to block that off on your calendar. It's one thing to list all of these things, study time, sleep time, whatever, television time, but then you need to be able to bracket the amount of time that those take and actually block it out. I work in 30-minute increments usually. So, if I'm thinking something is going to take me 45 minutes, I usually will block out an hour for it, but you want to estimate the amount of time that you need to allot for each of those tasks and block that out on your calendar. This skill becomes more and more useful the more and more you use it and the more and more you own it. I don't know how it is with you guys. Every now and then my wife gives me a project to do at home, and I always tell her it's going to take more time than you think it will because there are always little things that pop up. If you're going to change a washer in your sink, you need to allow not only time to replace that washer, but probably to replace half the pipe and go get the new pipe and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah because sure enough something is going to break and you're going to have to replace more than you thought you would or it'll take longer. So, you'll get better estimating time the more you do it and the better you are at it the better you have control of your calendar and your time. So you want to begin filling in that blank and do that on a weekly basis. You want to put in your class time. As I mentioned, you want to block out study time. If you block out the same time every day for study, that's great. Many of you won't be able to do that, but if you block it out anyway even different times of the day and then you adhere to that, you'll find that your study time goes much, much better and you'll be accomplishing more as you study than designated times, but you put everything on there. Put your classes, your lunch, and your drive time. We forget about the time that we spend, you know, in vehicles or on the bus trying to get to and from school or to and from the grocery store or to and from our work places. That's time that we need to allot. Now, once you've done all of those things and got all these necessary and central items on your calendar, if you have more blank spaces that you have, you have blank spaces left over, then you can begin to celebrate. That means you have unused time on your calendar and you've still got less than five pounds in that five-pound box, but as we even work with our calendars, even with the things that we've already got on them, we need to begin to prioritize and look at the absolute things and know what we need to do first and when we need to do it. If we have more things on the calendar than we have blank spaces, prioritizing becomes even more important and we need to get better and better and better and better at it. Once you've done that and got all the essential things on a calendar and the classes, the eating, the sleeping, the laundry and the kids and whatnot, we find that there are other things that need to go on there that we haven't put on it yet that are secondary. So we begin to create a secondary list and begin to plug those things in and we make sure that we get all of those in and then we begin to look at the following week. One of the things that you also are willing to do as you work with your calendar is a to-do list. I don't have a slide on it, but a to-do list can be a very, very, very helpful item because what you do with a to-do list is every morning you look at your calendar and you see the things that you have to do and you prioritize it and those things that are number one priority or a priority or however you do it are the things that you concentrate on first and those are the things that you put the most time to, got the most time for, and you take care of those things and then you move on to the secondary or the B and right on down the list until you get them all done. The things that you don't get done you forward to the next day's to-do list and then prioritize those the next morning you go on with the new items and you keep doing that every day and eventually everything gets done or the things that didn't need to get done in the first place will eventually fall off your list because the timeframe won't correspond. The to-do lists are also very helpful as you begin to control your time. As you work with your to-do list, one of the things that you may find is that as you add things from your syllabus or you know that you have due dates way out in the semester, you may want to tickle your file and put them a start date on your calendar so that you can remember not to wait until the last minute as someone said they did earlier so that you begin to research in a timely fashion or maybe two weeks before the paper is due then you do your rewrite and your draft, rewrite and then you write the paper and then you hand it in on time. You break those things down into steps and into segments so that you can control and get everything accomplished in the proper amount of time. We talked about estimating your time. The more you do that the better off you'll get. We talked about prioritizing lists from most important to least important. That's on your to-do list and then you, again, place it on your schedule and you aim to fill up those blank spaces that we had. You still have more spaces open, more time available then you are blessed. It means that you found that you can do lots and lots of things and you have allotted the amount of time that you have and still have down time. The last list that you want to make is the list of things that are neither critical or all that important, but the things that you just want to do. Things like perhaps watching TV, things like going to the movie, things like hanging with your friends on the banks of the Ohio to fish or something another, picnicking in the park. Things that if you didn't do life would still go on and still be of some high quality but things that you just like to do and want to do. You want to begin to put those on your calendar, too. You actually want to put in your recreation time on your calendar. It's important that we do that because it's important that we get our down time. When we interview you guys for Student Support Services, one of the things we ask you is do you have any hobbies, what do you do for yourself? It's important that you do something for yourself otherwise your stress levels will get out of hand and wreak havoc in your study life and your time with your family and everything else. So, if you're doing things for yourself even if it's only 15 minutes a day or 30 minutes a day you'll find that you're going to have a happier career as a student and people will be able to deal with you better. So you want to put that on your calendar my time or time to crochet or time to fish or golf or whatever it is that you do, walk or run or, you know, dream about whatever and put that on your calendar and when time comes to do it you do it. Now you also want to build in some down time or free time, unscheduled time, because nothing goes smoothly. Things are always happening, popping up unexpectedly and you need to be flexible with your time management to handle those kinds of situations. Tires will go flat, cars will quit running, pop quizzes will be announced, study groups will have to be reconvened at a different time, things will happen that you just need to be able to adjust to and if your schedule is jam packed, you know, your sleep plus that 117 hours from start to finish then you don't have any wiggle room and you need some wiggle room or your stress levels will go right out the window. So, build that into your calendars. As you begin to work the process, you'll want to be able to adjust your thinking. You want to be able to look and see where those places were where you either over or under estimated the amount of time that was necessary and you want to make those adjustments in your calendar as you go forward. You want to track what works best for you and you want to begin to integrate that into your plan. Some of you are morning people; some of you are not. Some of you are night people; some of you are not. So, if you work better at night, then that's maybe when you want to schedule the heavy-duty items, the deep thinking items, the deep reading items. If you work better in the morning, that's when you want to schedule your time. So you want to know what kind of person you are and what works best for you, remembering always to do little things like the 10, 15 minute breaks every hour while you're studying or reading. Build that into your calendar, make that a part of your calendar and you'll find that you're beginning to control your time and time is not controlling you. Once you've done a full week go on to the next week and continue that process working off that master calendar. There's some tricks to know that will help you in this whole process and one is if you can leave a few hours open each week we talked about that, you want to be able to do that because you just can't predict everything. There will be all kinds of things that will pop up in your life and you want to be able to adjust to those and if you get time built in your calendar, you can take care of that sick child without breaking your calendar that also helps your stress level. Learn what works most for you, best for you, days or nights. I mentioned that. You'll find that you're wasting less time when you do that and you'll be more effective in your output. Schedule tasks at times you will be most effective in that particular kind of task even down to scheduling classes. When I, I only teach one class a year now in the summer and it starts at 8:30. It starts at 8:30 because I'm not an 8:00 person. So, it would be senseless for me to start that class at 8:00 because I probably wouldn't be here. So, I start it at 8:30, it's published at 8:30 I think it goes to 11:00 or 11:30 or something like that so it's a great class, but if I started at 8:00, it would be terrible because I would be terrible. So you schedule your class work the same way. If you're an 8:00 class person and you can be here at 8:00 or up at 6:00 every day and charging out the door at 6:15 then go ahead and get that 8:00 class, but if you are dragging and running across the parking lot at 8:00 or 7:59, you probably ought to look at a 9:00 class or be in that class later in the day. Adjust your schedule accordingly. Some people think that if their schedules get jammed that they can gain more time by sleeping less and that's true, but you probably are giving up effectiveness so that in the long run in the balance you're actually losing. Try to get seven hours of sleep every night. Try to get seven hours of sleep every night. Try to get seven hours of sleep every night. Some of us will need eight hours. In the long run, you'll be better off if you do that and you'll study faster, you'll read faster, you'll comprehend faster because your mind and body will be more rested and you've got one student in the program that tells me that they've been working with four hours of sleep a night for years. God Bless them. [laughter] I couldn't do that. I'm getting to the point where seven hours of sleep is just barely making it for me, but I'm telling you if you don't cut in on your sleep time, in the long run you'll be much, much better off. Find other ways, other places to pick up that time. Cut other things if you need to, but not your sleep. If you have big projects coming up, it's wise to be able to break those down into small bites and work from there. The process that we talk about we talk about mass time where you put everything off into one time you try to do that only project all at one time and one big mass of time to set aside they call that the stick method and then the other method is by spacing the time out, breaking a project into smaller parts and bits and bits and spreading it over a period of time and they call that the carrot method. They call it the carrot method because you can reward yourself for achieving different tasks of that big task along the way. There are advantages for spaced time. One is that the task is broken into smaller bites, more manageable, less stressful. It leaves time for you to review the work and to make corrections. There's an advantage to spaced time. Some tasks do require a large block of time sit aside; a big period of time set aside to work on it and concentrate on it all at one time and most is not that way. Most can be broken up into smaller parts and spaced out. When you wait until the last minute to be motivated, you are motivating yourself with fear. That's why they call it the stick method. This will not be effective in the long run. You'll find people who will wait to do their English papers the night before the paper is due and they say they work well under pressure. My theory is they get it done, but they could have done much better if they would have taken time to research it and do a pre-write and a rewrite over a period of time. So, if you got a B on it, you probably would have gotten an A; you got a C on it, you probably would have gotten an A or a B. So, waiting until that last moment, procrastinating, putting things off that we don't like to do and until we absolutely have to do them, doesn't work. It's much better, much healthier, and much wiser to let yourself break these things into smaller pieces and use that carrot method and reward yourself as you accomplish these manageable parts. Okay. We're almost through. This presentation was provided to you to give you a number of ideals to help you manage your time. Hopefully you'll take the ones that will help you and you'll discard the rest. A to-do list works well for you, use that to-do list. If one weekly calendar works better than having a master calendar or a weekly calendar, use just the weekly calendar, but use something to help you see what you've got to do and when you've got to do it and help you stay on track I think you'll find that your life as a student will be much more rewarding, much more relaxed. Parts of this presentation come from a presentation that was created by Dr. Donald Rosan [PhD], Director of the Texas Women's University Counseling Center and is meant for educational purposes only for your success. Thank you for your time and we hope that you find something here that will help you achieve your goals as a student at Maysville Community and Technical College. Thank you for your time.