According to the Merriam and Webster dictionary, the definition of time is “a measurable period during which an action continues.” With minutes always ticking away, we as humans have to be cautious of how to spend it so we can accomplish all of the necessary things while still having time to have fun. Maritza DeJesus, coordinator for academic counseling, and Matt Slutz, writing specialist, of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) teamed up to form a time management workshop that assists students and members of the Cabrini community to distribute their time more wisely.
“Time management is key no matter where you go,” DeJesus said.
Whether you are a student or a teacher, stay-at-home parent or work a nine to five job, chances are you are always working to get something done. Is that something staying up to write a paper? Is it making sure the dog is fed? Is it even just making sure the television is on at 8 p.m. tuned to a certain channel? Regardless of what that something actually is, it requires time out of your day to complete it.
DeJesus and Slutz started off the workshop with a demonstration. There was a large jar, a bag of sand and 10 rocks laying next to each other on the table and the room’s first reaction was pure confusion. DeJesus explained that the jar represented one day of your life, the sand was the fun things and the rocks were the important objectives of the day. First all of the sand was placed in the jar and then all of the rocks. The issue was that the sand took up so much space which forced the rocks to overflow out of the jar. This represents a person spending majority of their free time doing any unimportant notions and then running out of time in the day to work on the important stuff. The demonstration was then reversed and the rocks were put in first followed by the sand. This time everything was capable of fitting into the jar because the sand fell between the cracks.
The purpose of the demonstration was to showcase the significance of what to prioritize and it introduced the first main topic of the workshop. Completing important stuff vs. unimportant stuff is a struggle many people face and it is critical to recognize the difference when deciding what you are going to take time out of your day to do. They are not the only two factors however that should affect your decision. Determining whether something is urgent or non-urgent is also key because that could persuade you to do one task over another.
According to DeJesus, important means something you need now but it will not affect your life in a week, month or even year. Urgent on the other hand is something that presents itself last minute and has to be done, but will not necessarily have a long last effect on you. A good technique DeJesus shares is drawing four quadrants on a piece of paper and labeling one “important/urgency,” the next “just important”, the third “just urgent” and the last “not important/not urgent.” After everyone set up their papers, they began listing the events they have done in the last week and assigned them to a certain quadrant.
“If something is important but an urgent event pops up, that first event is still important,” DeJesus said as she walked around the room looking at everyone’s papers.
She and Slutz guided the room through the process, offering their assistance to anyone who requested it.
After everyone was comfortable with the idea of important vs. urgent and their reciprocals, Slutz took charge of the room to explain tools and techniques to help organize the lists that were just created.
Slutz described cell phone calenders, agendas and whiteboards to all be common tools that can assist one with organizing their thoughts of when to do a specific task. Once it is determined when each thing should be done, it is vital to approximate how much time should be allotted to each task. Having a plan is one of the major steps in achieving successful time management skills, but beware that obstacles will come your way and you will have to work with what what you have.
Everyone was then prompted to anonymously write down their best time management strategy and the ideas were dispersed among the room. Participants were asked to grade the ideas on a scale of one to seven and the first to hit 21 points, or come closest to that number in three rounds would be deemed the winner. This got everyone participating with each other and sharing their ideas with the rest of the group.
With three papers each having a total of 14 points, there was a three-way tie. As they were read in front of the room, they all included writing things down as soon as due dates are announced and to keep reminding yourself of what should take priority.
As the workshop comes to an end, students became more comfortable with approaching time mangement.
Kiera Williams, junior social work major, said “This workshop made it clear what is considered important and not important. It also gave me really good examples of ways to better manage my time.”
Even though the workshop has been completed, DeJesus and Slutz encourage students to contact them for additional help and are welcome to stop by the CTL anytime for assistance.