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Finding the Time to Teach Part 2 – Time Management

Posted by on Thursday, February 24, 2011 in News.

Finding the Time to Teach Part 2 – Time Management is the second of a series of posts written by CFT Graduate Teaching Fellow, Lily Claiborne. These blog posts are intended to share ideas for prioritizing, planning, working efficiently, and avoiding procrastination – resulting in a more balanced, successful life in academia.

In my GradSTEP workshop on Finding the Time to Teach, we focused on the four main steps in managing your time well as an overcommitted graduate student and TA in order to be a successful teacher:

  1. Prioritize
  2. Plan
  3. Work Efficiently
  4. Avoid Procrastination

The following strategies will help you better manage your time and get more done.

Between a Rock, a Hard Place, and an Ivory Tower*

Tips for Time Management

  1. Realize that there are two related issues here: balance and procrastination.  That is, not just allocating time but creating more of it.
  2. Plan your time.  Schedule time for relaxation and give yourself permission to enjoy it.
  3. Protect your prime time.  Determine your best time of day, and schedule tasks at that time.
  4. Learn to say “no.”
  5. Build time into your schedule for delays, interruptions, etc.  Nearly every task takes longer than we anticipate it will.
  6. Make a “To Do” list every morning, arranged in priority order.  Include even the smallest tasks.  Crossing off any item is a source of satisfaction.
  7. Choose social occasions carefully.  Know with whom you really want to spend time; will you come away feeling energized, or feeling drained?
  8. To help avoid procrastination, divide each job into small, manageable tasks and reward yourself for completing each one.
  9. Start writing.  Organizing techniques are often simply ways to delay the work of writing.  Just begin, and worry about the quality later.
  10. Don’t waste time regretting your failures.  The time spent feeling guilty about what you haven’t done could be used more productively to actually do something.
  11. Carry blank index cards or a mini tape recorded to jot down ideas when they occur.
  12. Concentrate on one thing at a time – close your email, facebook, etc. and focus on the task at hand.
  13. Try to have a place for everything, so time is not wasted in searching for the items you need.
  14. Realize that inevitably, some of your time will be spent on activities outside your control.

*Created by Rosanne Awbrey and revised by Lily Claiborne

Coming next: Finding the Time to Teach Part 3 – Preparing to Teach

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