10 Sep What strategies do you currently use, or have used in the past, to try to practice good time management? Are there any strategies mentioned in the articles listed above that you use or h
Read the Topic 3 Resources indicated below before responding to this DQ.
- "Time Management" section of Chapter 4 in University Success Guide: Finding Your Purpose
- Student Preparation for Distance Education
What strategies do you currently use, or have used in the past, to try to practice good time management? Are there any strategies mentioned in the articles listed above that you use or have used? Are there any strategies from the articles that you will try to use going forward to improve your time management? What time management strategies do you think work best to ensure you have adequate time for studying and school work?
Like many things in life, time is a limited resource, and using it wisely is the key to becoming a successful student. There is no denying it—time is precious. Between school, work, social activities, family responsibilities, and everything in-between, your time is valuable. Finding the time to fit these responsibilities into a 24-hour period seems nearly impossible, but it does not have to be. With the right schedule and set of tools, you can effectively manage your time and balance life priorities.
With the demanding pressure of today’s world, finding a reasonable life-balance is often consumed by a drift in our responsibilities that can create unwanted stress and exhaustion, leading to an overwhelmingly cluttered and disorganized schedule.
Let’s review some ways to help stay on task and eliminate unwanted pressure often felt with a full list of items to accomplish in one day. The steps below will help you manage your day while accomplishing required responsibilities. These tools may seem simple, but applying them into your daily routine are often difficult for college students.
· Review your current schedule and identify unnecessary items that can be removed (time wasters). This will open and create empty time slots for school priorities.
· Identify items that cannot be removed.
· Priorities that are nonnegotiable such as sleep, class time, study time, meals, and work should always be accounted for in your daily schedule first.
· Fill in the empty slots with your school priorities.
· Be realistic. Do not try do everything at once but, rather, establish ways you may be able to combine activities or find practical ways to multitask. For example, review your notes while eating lunch or study your flashcards between classes.
· Stick to your new schedule and execute each task.
· Evaluate your progress. Is your new schedule working? If not, make more adjustments.
· Learn to say “no.” Staying on task by telling friends or family no will create less interference with schoolwork and set an early pace in class to stay on track.
· Reward yourself. Being a college student is a lot of work. When you find your stride and complete your tasks, it is a huge accomplishment; reward yourself with your favorite activity. You deserve it!
Don’t get sucked into the black hole of these common time wasters, such as binge-watching streaming video services, sleeping late, hanging out with friends, playing video games, browsing social media, texting friends, etc.
Did You Know?
Stat about how much time per day people spend on social media or streaming services.
Something to Think About
Five years from now, will you look back on the amount of time you spent on media consumption versus studying and wish you would have practiced better time management?
Like balancing life priorities, it is important to have a well-organized schedule as a college student. There are many factors and distractions in daily life that can interfere with a schedule and create a sort of chaos, lack of organization, and goal interruption. For example, jobs, school, family, friends, church, and social events. Maintaining an organized routine is an essential part of successful independent living. Organization during your college life helps produce high academic achievement in the classroom. Organization in your professional life will help you to maintain work–life balance and achieve your career goals.
· Schedule it! Earlier in this chapter, we reviewed your schedule and condensed it by removing time wasters, allowing your new priorities to be added. By this time, you should have a good idea of the tasks you need to complete and when they are due. Breaking down different elements of class and their due dates are important and should be added to your schedule. Some items to include in your schedule could be day/time/location of your classes, due dates for discussion questions and assignments, as well as dedicated study time to complete readings or study for a quiz, test, midterm, or final. Keeping an organized schedule decreases the chance of overlooking any important part of a class.
· Look ahead! Each class has a syllabus and weekly objectives available for you to look ahead in class and begin preparing for what’s to come. If you have a larger assignment due, looking ahead is a great way to break up your week and accomplish the assignment in smaller chunks.
· Stay on track! With your newly built schedule, it is important to make it easily visible to keep yourself on track. You can print out your schedule and hang it on the refrigerator, pin it on a bulletin board near your computer, or even make it the background picture of your computer; as long as you can see it, you can achieve it.
· One day at a time! Now that you have an organized schedule, and, as you progress in class, you will find each day is a little easier than the last. You are becoming comfortable with your schedule and the way you have organized your day/week. You are beginning to find your groove and hit your stride in class. You are becoming familiar with the learning management system (LMS), locating resources, and following your schedule with ease. You are on your way to becoming a successful, organized, balanced student.
MOTIVATION, PERSEVERANCE, MINDSET
Even with the best time management plans and organizational set up, one thing is certain: Life’s obstacles do not stop during the academic journey. It is important to keep things in perspective and approach challenges with a can-do mindset.
Motivation: Why Are You Going to College and Earning a Degree?
There must be a reason you signed up to do this. Why are you willing to sacrifice your time and make learning a priority? It is important to define the motivational reasons that led you to pursue a college degree. Please consider the following questions to help you to reflect on your motivation to come to college.
· Who motivates you to earn your degree?
· Are there people you want to inspire or set an example?
· What are the skills you want to master?
· What professional opportunities will a degree create for you?
· What life goals will a degree help you accomplish?
You may find it helpful to take a moment and write out the answers to the above questions. You can even create a vision board for yourself and hang it somewhere as a frequent reminder of why you are on this journey.
You are not alone in this journey. Remember, there are many cheerleaders who will provide encouragement during the challenging times, such as family members, friends, coworkers, mentors, church members, classmates, and professors. A positive approach to navigating the academic journey will inspire and motivate others.
A college degree will open many doors. Skills acquired during a degree program provide a competitive edge in the professional world. In addition, a college degree can provide opportunities for career growth and promotion. Higher salary and the ability to better provide for family is a motivating factor for many college students. Some students view earning a bachelor’s degree as a stepping-stone for graduate school admission opportunities. However, the academic journey is not without obstacles.
Something to Think About
· Why are you earning your degree?
· Who is your support team, your cheerleaders?
· What outside factors and rewards motivate you?
Obstacles are often unplanned as students juggle social, family, professional, and academic commitments. These unforeseen circumstances are sometimes discouraging and overwhelming. Here are some common examples of obstacles that cause students to give up or fall behind on their studies.
· Personal health challenges: Illness strikes everyone from time to time. It is unlikely that anyone will be completely well and have no sick days during the entire span of the 4-year bachelor’s degree program.
· Health of others: Many students care for parents, children, and other loved ones during times of illness and poor health.
· Death of a loved one: Preparing funeral arrangements and grieving are difficult enough emotionally without trying to complete academic work. Studying while grieving is a heavy task to undertake and full of distractions.
· Home sickness: Many college students are far away from home and living on their own for the first time, and they often struggle with home sickness. Missing family members and loved ones is a major obstacle to the academic progress of some students.
· Work commitments: Long work hours or unexpected events at work can disrupt routines. The added fatigue and stress may be overwhelming enough to consider quitting school.
· Unexpected job loss: This is a major mental and financial stressor. The focus on finding new work and the pressure to pay bills can overwhelm students.
· Relationship problems and family trouble: This stress can be burdensome and make it hard to focus on academics.
· Time zone issues: Online classes may present issues with differences in time from one place to another and add planning and logistical obstacles for some students.
· Military students: Unexpected last-minute missions, assignments, and duties as well as limited access to technology and internet access for periods of time are issues that military students may also face.
· Academic content: Sometimes, classes will be difficult. Course material or instructions may be confusing, the amount of reading overwhelming, or the academic language might be unfamiliar.
· Extracurricular commitments: Demands on your time for practices, clubs, and social gatherings with friends and family can present obstacles to learning and academic progress.
Why did we present such a rain cloud of a list? History has shown that there will be some bumps in the road. The academic journey is not completely smooth. This is normal and expected. We want you to know that you will not be the first to encounter an obstacle. You can push through and persevere. It can be a balancing act to complete a college degree.
How Can I Overcome Obstacles?
· Ask for help: Your professors and instructors know that life is challenging. Send an email, make a call, or visit during office hours. Your professors can work with you and support you through these obstacles. Learning to juggle tasks and overcome obstacles is one of the unlisted benefits of earning a college degree and a skill sought by many employers. Your professors expect you to work hard and do your best; however, when you encounter obstacles, your professors can help you chart a path forward.
· Keep a long-term perspective: Earning your college degree is like having a full-time job and will require great effort and sacrifice to do well. The opportunities and long-term life benefits that grace individuals with college degrees outweigh the short-term sacrifices made week by week and course by course. Take time to reflect on your academic journey when you reach another obstacle. You have overcome obstacles before, and you can overcome them again to reach your goals.
· Pray for help: Prayer can be a great source of strength and comfort. Ask God for help when you lack wisdom, and he will give it to you (James 1:5). And ask God for help when you are in trouble (James 5:13). You can pray when you are tired, and the Lord will renew your strength and help you not be weary (Isaiah 40:31). Remember to connect with the great Creator of the world who has all wisdom and power.
· Remember your motivation: If the obstacles you face are so overwhelming that you want to quit, remember why you chose to attend college. Why are you earning a college degree? Who are you earning a college degree for? What will you lose out on if you quit college? Remembering why you chose to begin this journey and reflecting on your motivation can give you the strength to struggle through temporary obstacles.
· Persevere: Keep moving forward and don’t give up. You are 100% responsible for your academic success. No one else can do it for you. You are worth the effort. You have the power to choose and the power to change. Keep making sound, responsible choices.
Successful people set and achieve goals. Successful people do not become successful overnight; they set short-term goals and standards to reach those goals one step at a time. It is the same thing when it comes to your college career. Think about your current academic career and break down the long-term goal of earning your degree into a short-term goal.
Did You Know?
Steve Jobs started Apple in his garage.
Setting personal goals is the act of expressing ourselves through life’s achievements. Goals typically originate by creating short-term or long-term goals, and they vary from one person to the next. Setting and achieving goals will take time, effort, determination, and grit, and when you complete the goal, you will feel incredibly accomplished. When it comes to long-term academic goals, wouldn’t it be nice to say, "I want an A in class," or, “I want to earn my bachelor’s degree,” and then actually achieve that goal? This sounds amazing, but for long-term goals to be achieved, short-term goals and a strategic plan need to be established.
Examples of Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
· Answer each discussion question on or before the due date.
· Participate weekly following your instructor’s policies.
· Look ahead at the weekly assignment.
· Send any questions to the instructor early.
· Start your assignment early.
· Submit your assignment early, if possible, to alleviate any technical setback.
· Apply for an internship.
· Finish your degree.
· Apply for graduate school.
· Get married.
· Start a family.
· Apply for a job in your field of study.
· Apply for a promotion.
· Make a major purchase (e.g., home, vehicle).
While the obvious long-term goals for college students are graduating and starting a satisfying career, it is important to set short-term goals along the way and then celebrate those smaller victories. A widely accepted goal-setting strategy uses the SMART goals system, which was developed by the Kansas State Department of Education. The SMART goals system allows you to break down your goals so that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
S – Specific: Your goals should be simply stated and answer questions such as who, what, where, when, why, and how.
M – Measureable: The goal needs a tool that can measure the outcome.
A – Attainable: The goal needs to be realistic given your resources, time, abilities, and capacity.
R – Relevant: The goal should be linked to your larger goal or the “bigger picture.”
T – Timely: The goal needs to be accomplished in the time that you have available.
Below is an example of a typical goal you might set as a college student in your first class.
I will develop a time management plan that allows me to be successful in my first class.
The plan will allow me to submit quality assignments by the due date.
This is a realistic goal; the plan can be implemented and measured during the course of the class.
Creating a time management plan for this class will allow me to easily create time management plans for future classes.
This plan will be in place by the end of the first week of class.
Final Thoughts on Goals
Short-term and long-term goals apply to any aspect of your life. Setting short-term goals to complete daily and weekly tasks is essential to success. With the success of short-term goals, you begin to build the confidence and ability to move forward and strive toward your long-term goals. By formulating your goals and applying tactical steps into your daily activity, you will see progress. Seeing progress toward your end goal will create a sense of passion and commitment to continue pushing yourself to reach your ultimate goal. Don’t forget that small goals are essential to reaching large goals.
SUCCESSFUL STUDY TOOLS
We live in a tech savvy world, and it is important to be up to date with the latest tools to ensure academic success. There are many different resources available to you as a student, and fortunately, GCU puts them right at your fingertips. Whether you are taking classes online or as a traditional ground student, educating yourself with the learning management system (LMS) and available resources will benefit you not only as a student, but also brings knowledge and skills that you can apply in other areas of your life. Let’s review some of the must-have tools and resources to be successful in class.
· Technical Support: You can email, call, or chat with an IT representative about questions relating to general login issues, accessing classes, downloading Microsoft Office 365, basic troubleshooting, and much more.
· Microsoft Office 365: GCU requires all students to download Microsoft Office, which houses many different applications, most notably Word (required to format APA papers), Excel, and PowerPoint (used for presentations).
· Learning Management System (LMS) Tutorials: An LMS is also known as the online classroom. There are countless “how to” videos located directly in class that will walk you through many frequently asked questions regarding the online classroom. These guides include how to post responses to Discussion Questions (DQs), submit an assignment, communicate in forums in the online classroom, and much more.
· Student Success Center: Here you will find tutorials, writing templates, style guides, college-specific documents, plagiarism prevention methods, and University policies and handbooks in one central location that can be personalized to fit your needs.
Microsoft Office Skills
· Consider taking a workshop or class to hone your Microsoft Office skills because they will help you in your courses as well as in your career.
· Certain degree programs require basic knowledge for some Microsoft Office products. Review your program of study and contact your Student Services Counselor for additional information.
Reading and Research Skills
Another important academic skill is reading. It is no surprise that you need to read your textbook and other study material. It is important to read course material and instructions because much of coursework is research-based. Reading is also vital to research. Many of your assignments will require some level of research and reading many journal articles, which will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 5.
Reading will expose you to different viewpoints and new ideas. This will enhance your critical-thinking skills. Reading can help you master new skills. This will help you personally and professionally. In addition, reading develops an enhanced vocabulary, which offers a greater ability to express ideas. Recreational reading is a good break from studying while expanding vocabulary and writing skills. Good writing skills are discussed in Chapter 5.
A Personal Study Space
Successful students recognize that a dedicated study area is helpful. Set up a quiet area without visual distractions. This will allow you to focus on your study material and assignments. Some good places to study could be:
· A quiet room at home,
· The library, or
· A quiet study room at school.
The fewer distractions you have, the better you will be able to focus and make the best use of your time. Avoid areas with loud noises, high foot traffic, and other distractions. Identify and be realistic about personal distractors.
It might be helpful to evaluate the effectiveness of the study area at times and change locations, if necessary. It is okay to adjust if your dedicated area is not working well. A dedicated study area will help develop a habit of quality study time.
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