Think of an example of a time you experienced stress due to poor time management. What could you have done differently?
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Oh, let me give you a tiny, every-day example (literally). On school days, it doesn't matter whether I wake up at 6:00 or at 7:15, I will end up leaving at the same time: the very last minute. The reason? Poor time management. If I wake up at 7:15, I rush around like a maniac, yelling and throwing clothes on the kids before putting makeup on in the car. If I wake up at 6:00, I lounge around sipping coffee and sighing while I say, "Ah, I'm so glad I got up early! Now I don't have to rush." I do everything so very slow, that I end up leaving at the last minute anyway.
Compounding the issue is the fact that I have to drive 25 minutes on a two-lane road with a double yellow line to get the kids to school. Slow drivers truly bring out the very worst in me. ; )
I think your question somewhat answers itself. Everyone who has used their time poorly in planning for an objective suffered (well, most of the time) precisely because of poor time management. I my youth, I was a habitual procrastinator. Almost always, the results for me were that I didn't do nearly as well, or learn as much, as I should have and could have given my potential. I was my own worst enemy and got in my own way more often than not. I think this is a similar experience to most others who plan poorly.
The last time I truly remember overwhelming stress due to poor time management was in college. Not every semester, but many semesters, final exams was a time of serious stress. I usually took a full course schedule of 16 or 17 hours, and even though I actually budgeted my study time better than most, final exams always felt like there was too much to read, organize, and study in the amount of time I had left. Exam time is also often the time when large papers and projects are due.
For me, each exam was like a finish line and completion relieved a little bit of the stress. I ususally tried to study in the order of my exams. I had to remember to eat and sleep, but inevitably, after all exams were over I'd start summer or Christmas vacation sick. I think it was just the physical reaction to putting my body and mind under so much stress.
I'm not sure there is a way to prevent this kind of stress, to be honest. Nearly every college student experiences it, even the best planners who take a doable course load. It is simply the nature and difficulty of college. I think the best thing to do is accept the fact that you can only do so much, and to do your best with what you time you have.
#2 gives us a classic teaching example of stress due to poor time management. Of course, in any profession, there are things that you cannot plan for in the way that you can plan for the beginning of a new academic year. I am reminded of when one of my colleagues left work due to stress and I was saddled with her classes and marking in the last four weeks of the academic year. Although I couldn't have planned for this, I reacted by being completely stressed about it for two weeks before I got down to thinking through how I was going to survive. A much better approach would have been to face the situation much sooner and work out how to survive it at the beginning, rather than getting all stressed out first!
I found myself in a stressful situation in my last job because I did not acknowledge or allocate the time needed to communicate with my staff. I had 23 staff in 3 departments, whilst teaching English and managing Special Needs. Had I had regular scheduled meetings with each of the three areas, it would have saved a lot of decisions made on the hop and plate-spinning of issues in between my other tasks. On reflection, I also took on too much (the job is done by three people now).
I tend to believe that stress is self-induced. Although many people blame outside interests or other people for the stress they feel, most of my own stress was brought on by my own failure to complete tasks in a timely manner. One example that I have repeated more than once comes from my days as a yearbook sponsor for several schools. I spent many all-nighters completing work in order to meet deadlines, and on most occasions, it was because I did not allow enough time beforehand to complete the work. Deadlines were usually met, but not without the constant worry of financial penalties, late shipment, lack of sleep, etc.
I too would say that poor time management comes from underestimating the time needed to complete a task. One should always assume that there will be distractions or complications in a project and build in some additional time for completion. There are so many projects where, to be honest, we really have NO IDEA how long it is going to take. Making a conscious decision to start earlier and to expect the unexpected, usually helps in meeting deadlines on time and with less stress.
I concur with the above response. For me, I think that poor time management has also coincided with taking on too much. Sometimes, a part of poor time management is when so much is being taken on that it becomes overwhelming. I recall a time when I assigned too many papers for students to write (meaning, I have to grade), while I signed up my basketball team for a weekend tournament far away from our school, volunteered to act as Lord Montague in our school's production of Romeo and Juliet, and had to deliver an inservice presentation at Institute Day. By themselves, these events can be handled, time can be allocated properly and a schedule can be derived to see their effective completion. Yet, when converging upon one another, the stress level rises and one schedule of completion does not take the place of another. In the end, the stress level in all of the activities was rising, and in a predictable manner, all of the items sort of merged into one another, making for some humorous moments, but reflecting the poor time management issue. While yelling out a basketball play, I actually yelled "Thomas Paine," for that was the topic of my students' writings in class. During the staff inservice, I inadvertently said, "Montague" instead of what I was supposed to be talking about. Finally, in my opening scene in the play, I screwed up my first line, with "Thou Villain," and instead of "Capulet," I said the name of our crosstown rival school in basketball. I learned a valuable lesson (outside of do not screw up your first line on stage) in that taking on too much is just as much of a problem in time allocation.
Every time that I have experienced stress due to poor time management, it has been because I have not planned ahead. This means that planning ahead is what I could have done differently.
For example, there have been times when I have not gotten myself ready for a new school year as soon as I should have. This has led to stress as I had to rush frantically to get lesson plans ready for new courses I had to teach. What I could have done differently would have been to start much earlier and have a schedule in which I would do one unit worth of lesson plans every week for the last month of summer. When I have done that, I have started the school year in a much more relaxed frame of mind since I have not had to worry about what I would do in my new courses.
I teach my students to always be present. It's how I handle my classroom (and life!). If you're present - attentive and aware - you have a lot less stress. I highlight that students (and staff - as I do this for workshops as well) need only think (or worry) about what they are doing in THIS very moment, not the next. It's not as easy as it seems, but once you learn it - it's an amazing tool.
During the course of a school year I do reminders for classes about being "present" - some pick up on it and others don't. It's not a concept that will be understood immediatley, or by everyone. You have to be open to it, and some students (and staff) , just aren't there yet.
Being present means not worrying about time. It doesn't mean you're not prepared, it means you're making use of your current time - here and now. As a teacher we are always prepared. We always have a "back up" lesson - whether we know it or not. We have LOTS of creative knowledge that we can make use of if we just allow ourselves to be present.
Example> power point isn't working since the computer is having some problems. Instead of stressing and blaming...use what you know. The same knowledge on those slides is in your minds, share it on a white board or with some questions. Sum it up in a story , have kids take notes or make a diagram with the information.
Being present is a practice, and wonderful tool to share too.
Procrastination has been my problem for many years and on many occasions has led to all-nighters and rushed papers, assignments, etc. I don’t really think you can plan all the time but I do try to stick to a schedule and calendar with a to-do list. I find that when I preplan entire semester’s lessons I am more apt to enjoy teaching the assignments than those last minute items. Many times my stressors lie in my inability to say no. I am on every committee, event planning, fund-raising, sponsorship and this has brought much last minute shuffling of my schedule and undue stress on myself.
Often when I experience problems with time management it is because I underestimate the time I need to complete a certain task. This is because it is something new to me which I have not done before so I have no reference on how long the task might take. What exacerbates the problem even further is not starting the project ahead of time. This makes for an anxiety producing situation because an impossible deadline then looms over my head like a guiotine blade. I must then do late night callisthentics to try to complete the assignment. The wiser choice would be to do some research to check with other colleagues to discover a reasonable time frame for the project. Then even smarter would be to calculate an additional amount of time as a buffer due to the fact that it is new to me and I may need to rework or redo parts of it. This would allow a stressfree and enjoyable project along with possible time to edit or check over the work for accuracy. Next time, I will consider the wisdom in this.
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