On Tuesday, February 28 from 12-1PM in the FPH Faculty Lounge, Joel Dansky, disabilities services coordinator, presented a special organization and time management workshop for an eager audience of new students. Did you miss it? Need more information? You’ve come to the right place! Read on for details on what happened, how to find support, and further time management resources.
While participants enjoyed a catered lunch, Joel asked each of them to introduce themselves and share what challenges they face with regard to time management and getting organized. Common themes included starting work earlier, structuring time more effectively, balancing multiple priorities, procrastination, and breaking large tasks down into smaller pieces. With these concerns in mind, Joel presented a brief powerpoint which addressed many of these challenges, and offered strategies to help students to plan ahead, make the most of the unstructured time between classes, and work more efficiently. Joel then introduced a three part system for organization, “The Big Picture,” “The Weekly Grind,” and “The Daily Plan,” which led to an interactive portion of the presentation. Through the use of a variety of different handouts related to these models, participants had the opportunity to create a color-coded, visual representation of their weekly and monthly schedules, and identify pockets of valuable time that they didn’t realize they had!
What We Learned:
- Procrastination, distraction, and perfectionism are the three enemies of effective time management. Think you do best under pressure? The work you produce isn’t likely your best work, just the best you can do with the limited time you’ve allotted. Planning ahead can help to alleviate stress, no matter your reasons for waiting until the last minute. By creating small, manageable goals and structuring your time more effectively, you’ll accomplish more and yield better results!
- “Big Picture” is a useful tool for mapping an entire semester. Participants received an 11″x17″ academic calendar for this activity, but you can do it yourself with a planner or a regular calendar. At the start of the semester, gather your syllabi and mark down all of the important dates and deadlines for each course on your calendar. Once you have a full picture of what you’ll need to complete and when, you can identify key steps and work backwards to create small goals for yourself. This will help you to start things ahead of time, and avoid the confluence of too many deadlines all at once.
- “The Weekly Grind” allows you to create a visual representation of what a typical week looks like for you. Using colored pencils, participants mapped out their regular schedule on a weekly calendar in an effort to identify blocks of time between fixed appointments, classes, and other obligations. What did they notice? They have more time than they think they do, and you might too! Take these chunks of time and specify what you’d like to accomplish in each, and give some structure to the larger periods of free time (long weekends, etc.), making sure to vary the types of work you do each day. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish!
- Find a daily planning system that works for you. One calendar that you look at every day is better than several that you don’t, so find something that is portable, visual, and spacious enough for a to-do list, and keep it with you throughout the day. Don’t overload yourself, but do keep your planner as up to date as possible with class, work, and meeting times, as well as appointments, deadlines, and fun things.
- It’s okay to start small — if you try to change everything about your time management all at once, you might end up feeling overplanned and discouraged. Pick one assignment that you’d like to get started on early, and create a plan to accomplish that goal. Once you see how successful you can be when you plan ahead, you’ll be more likely to incorporate good time management into more aspects of your life.
- The best system is the system that works for you, so feel free to try a few things as you work to get yourself organized. No system works 100% of the time — keep yourself open to new ideas and ways of planning. Don’t hesitate to reward yourself for accomplishing particular tasks. There are lots of different ways to get motivated!
Use These Resources:
- Want hard copies of the workshop handouts? Interested in some personalized time management support? Get in touch with the workshop facilitator, Joel Dansky, at email@example.com. He’s happy to help!
- Can’t get enough of these great academic skills? Join us for another workshop! This presentation was the second in series of skills-based lunch workshops for new students, led by tutorial faculty and other staff members. Our next lunch workshop, Finding the Right Sources, will be held on Wednesday, April 4 (Advising Day) from 12-1PM in the FPH Faculty Lounge. Meet the research librarians and learn how to find the sources you need for your final projects and papers. See you there!
Questions? We’re happy to help! E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!