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Posts Tagged ‘Time Management’

Since my days in graduate school I have sought opportunities to learn some new information. Whether this is attending a presentation, joining a reading group, or signing up for a workshop, I’ve done a lot of things not because they were particularly important to my success but because they sounded interesting or fun. (The fact that I have a high tolerance for boredom also works in my favor, since the snippets of useful information are often surrounded by useless information.) This semester, though, I think I have found the limits of demands on my time. Between preparing for class, meeting with students, grading, writing, and trying to get a new research project started, I have finally reached the point where I literally do not have time for a lunchtime discussion of teaching or a book discussion about gender.

Luckily, student meetings are winding down just as midterms are ramping up. I would look forward to spring break if I didn’t have so much work to do during it! In the future I may have to reduce some of my teaching efforts in order to increase my sanity (and, you know, the chance of getting tenure).


 

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When students ask what they can do to improve their grades at the end of the semester, I often think, “Invent a time machine, go back to the beginning of the semester, and start [coming to class, proofreading your work, studying for exams, etc.].” Now, in my second year of a new job, a year away from pre-tenure review, it feels like this is the semester that I would choose to return to if things do not go the way I want in the tenure process. With a paper under review, several papers I need to lightly revise and send out, and new projects in the early stages, this is a pivotal moment for my success in the coming years, even as the semester quickly melts away and, as usual, I haven’t completed nearly as much on these endeavors as I had hoped.

I have, however, made one change that I hope will pay off in the future. I installed LeechBlock on my web browser to ward off my Major Procrastination Disorder and keep time from getting away from me. In a few years, I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Related to my recent post on students in the real world, I’ve had a lot of students over the years who were busy, whether with sports, work, or Greek activities (some of them even spend time on school!).  I also have also, however, had a few students who are so busy that I get tired just thinking of their schedules.  These students sometimes have multiple jobs, children, or both, yet manage to maintain a high level of academic success.  In many ways, they remind me of a friend that I had in high school who studied more than anybody I knew and also worked around 40 hours a week on a farm doing fun things like castrating baby pigs (yes, I grew up in a rural area).

Beyond both of these groups I’ve also had a lot of students who believe they are busy but whose schedules are filled with video games like Call of Duty and Madden and important social events like trips to the bar.  I’m not trying to say that these things are not important, but not having time to work on a paper because you have two jobs is qualitatively different than not having time to work on a paper because you were busy playing Call of Duty.

What I wonder is whether sharing the work schedules of my super-busy students with my pseudo-busy students would have any effect on their thoughts about time management.  Would seeing what a single parent has to deal with in order to get a paper done on time, for example, give others an appreciation for the amount of time that they actually have to do as they see fit?  Or would it have the effect that thinking about these schedules has on me and simply make them tired (and in need of a nap before their next round of Call of Duty?

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