[Solution]Thriving at Trident

Setting goals is an important first step toward achieving success, but managing time and completing the tasks needed to reach those goals is a critical…

Setting goals is an important first step toward achieving success, but managing time and completing the tasks needed to reach those goals is a critical second step. Time is a valuable personal resource—when we gain greater control of it, we gain greater control of our lives.
Chapter 4 of Thriving at Trident supplies a comprehensive set of strategies for managing time, establishing priorities, combating procrastination, and completing tasks.
3-page reflection paper on time Management skills and how you can go about improving them. Review the strategies recommended for preventing and overcoming procrastination on pp. 78-80 from Chapter 4 of Thriving at Trident. Use at least two strategies from the chapter and at least one strategy from an additional source of your choice.

An Introductory paragraph (what the paper will be about and provide the three time management strategies that will be covered)
A Supporting Body (a paragraph with personal examples for each time management strategy; 2 strategies from Thriving at Trident and 1 external web source) There should be in-text citations for the three strategies and the sources listed on the Reference List page.
A Conclusion paragraph that recaps.
There will be a TOTAL of at least 5 paragraphs.

Each of the paragraphs should be 4 or 5 sentences in length.
Create a Reference List (i.e., Thriving at Trident and at least one additional source of your choice.

Youtube video SImple time management https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBfhefEWd-c]
 
 

CHAPTER 4
Time Management PRIORITIZING TASKS, PREVENTING PROCRASTINATION, AND PROMOTING PRODUCTIVITY
Chapter Purpose & PreviewSetting goals is an important first step toward achieving success, but managing time and completing the tasks needed to reach those goals is a critical second step. Time is a valuable personal resource—when we gain greater control of it, we gain greater control of our lives. This chapter supplies a comprehensive set of strategies for managing time, establishing priorities, combating procrastination, and completing tasks.
Learning GoalDevelop an effective set of strategies for setting priorities, planning time, combating procrastination, and completing tasks in a timely and effective manner.
Ignite Your Thinking Reflection 4.1
Complete the following sentence with the first thought that comes to your mind:
For me, time is . . .
The Relationship between Goal Setting, Managing Time, and Managing Tasks To have a realistic chance of achieving our goals, we need a plan for spending our time in a way that aligns with our goals and enables us to progress toward them. Thus, setting goals, managing time and completing tasks are interrelated skills. They involve asking and answering the following questions: How should my big goals be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps? What specific tasks need to be completed at each of these steps? How do I ensure that I have enough time to complete all the tasks associated with each step? ”“Ultimately, a student (and all of us) should craft a ‘dream’ but the dream must be broken down into bite-size pieces.—Brad Johnson & Charles Ridley, The
Elements of Mentoring
Reaching goals involves step-by-step accomplishments made on a day-by-day basis. Each day, whether we plan to or not, we make decisions about how our time will be spent. To reach our goals, we need to remain mindful of whether the things we’re spending time on are moving us in the direction of our goals. This practice of ongoing (daily) assessment of how our time is being spent is a simple yet important form of self-reflection. Research on highly effective people reveals that they plan
 

 
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their time and tasks and reflect regularly on their daily progress to be sure they’re on track and making steady progress toward their goals. For instance, in a study of 150 highly creative and productive people in the arts and sciences, it was found that one thing these innovative artists and scientists had in common was daily rituals— they developed day-by-day work routines and habits.
AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE I started the process of earning my doctorate a little later in life than other graduate stu- dents. I was a married father with a preschool daughter (Sara). Since my wife left for work early in the morning, it was always my duty to get up and get Sara’s day going in the right direction. In addition, I had to do the same for myself. Three days of my week were spent on campus, either in class or in the library. (We didn’t have quick access to research on home computers back then as you do now.) The other two days of the workweek and the weekend were spent on household chores, family time, and studying.
I knew that to have any chance of finishing my Ph.D. in a reasonable amount of time, I had to adopt an effective schedule for managing my time. Each day of the week, I held to a strict routine. I got up in the morning, ate breakfast while reading the paper, got Sara ready for school and got her to school. Once I returned home, I put a load of laundry in the washer, studied, wrote, and spent time concentrating on what I needed to do to be successful from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. every day. At lunch, I had a pastrami and cheese sandwich and a soft drink while rewarding myself by watching Perry Mason reruns until 1:00 p.m. I then continued to study until it was time to pick up Sara from school. Each night I spent some time with my wife and daughter and then prepared for the next day. I lived a life that had a preset schedule. By following that schedule, I was able to success- fully complete my doctorate in a reasonable amount of time while giving my family the time they needed. (By the way, I still watch Perry Mason reruns.)
—Aaron Thompson
The Importance of Time Management for College Students Research indicates that managing time is a significant challenge for college stu- dents. National surveys reveal that almost 50% of first-year college students report difficulty managing their time effectively. Time management is particularly chal- lenging for students transitioning directly from the lockstep schedule of high school to the less tightly controlled schedule of college—where they spend less “seat time” in class per week, leaving them with much more “free time” to manage outside of class.
“The major difference [between high school and college] is time. You have so much free time on your hands that you don’t know what to do with most of your time.” —First-year college student, quoted in Erickson & Strommer, Teaching College Freshmen
Simply stated, students who have difficulty managing their time in college have difficulty succeeding in college. Studies show that first-year students who manage their time well earn higher grades. In a national study of college sophomores who were interviewed about their first-year experience, one key difference was found between students who had an outstanding first year (both academically and person- ally) and those who struggled during their first year: The successful students fre- quently brought up the topic of time management during the interviews. They said they had to think carefully about how to spend time and intentionally budgeted their time. In contrast, sophomores who had had trouble during their first year of college hardly talked about the topic of time at all during their interviews, even when they were specifically asked about it.
People of all stages of life report that managing time is a critical aspect of their life and setting priorities and balancing work with other responsibilities (e.g., work and family) is often a stressful juggling act. In fact, national surveys of employers re-
 

 
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veal that the ability to manage time and work productively is one of the top-ranked professional skills they seek in college graduates. These findings suggest that time management is more than just a college-success skill; it’s also a life-management and career-success skill. When people improve their ability to manage time, other aspects of their life also improve, including their level of stress. Studies show that people who have good time-management skills report higher levels of life satisfac- tion and personal happiness.
 
”“Time = Life. Therefore waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.—Alan Lakein, international expert on time management and author of the best-selling book How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life
Reflection 4.2
What do you think will be the biggest time-management challenge you will face in college?
You can be more successful in college (and life) by remaining mindful of the im- portance of how you’re spending your time and by consistently employing effective time- and task-management strategies, such as those discussed in this chapter. These strategies may seem obvious and simple, but it’s probably because they look so simple, they’re often simply overlooked.
Strategies for Managing Time and Tasks Effective time- and task-management involves three key steps:
1. Analysis—breaking down time to see where it’s going 2. Itemization—listing what tasks need to be done and when they need to
get done 3. Prioritization—ordering tasks in terms of their importance or urgency and
tackling them in that order.
The following strategies can be used to execute these three steps.
Analysis: breaking down time into smaller units to gain greater awareness of how it’s being spent. How often have you heard someone say, “Where did all the time go?” or “I just can’t seem to find the time!” One way to determine where time goes and discover more time for getting things done is by doing a time analysis— a detailed examination of how much total time we have and what we’re spending it on, including patches of wasted time when little gets done or nothing gets accom- plished. A time analysis only needs to be done for a week or two to give us a pretty good idea of where our time is going and help us find ways to use our time more productively.
”“Doesn’t thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.—Benjamin Franklin, 18th-century inventor, newspaper writer, and cosigner of the Declaration of Independence
What we spend our time on is often a true test of who we are and what we value. Taking time to reflect on how we’re spending our time is more than a clerical activity; it’s a tool for promoting self-awareness and gaining deeper insight into our priorities and values.
Itemization: listing what tasks are to be done and when they are to get done. Just as we make lists to remember items to buy at a grocery store or people to invite to a party, we can make lists of tasks to complete. One characteristic of highly
 

 
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successful people is that they are list makers; they create daily lists for things they want to accomplish each day.
Whenever you find yourself saying, “I gotta do this” or “I need to do this,” get it on a to-do list and just do it!
Reflection 4.3
Do you make daily to-do lists of things you need to get done? If not, why?
The following time-planning and task-management tools can be used to help man- age your time and tasks. • Small, portable planner. This can be used to list all course assignments and
exams, along with their due dates. (It can also be used in sync with the same cal- endar programs available on your desktop or laptop.) Pulling together all work tasks required in each of your courses and getting them in the same place makes it much easier to keep track of what needs to be done and when it needs to get done.
• Large, stable calendar. In the calendar’s date boxes, record major assignments that need to be completed throughout the term. Post the calendar in a place where you can’t help but see it every day (e.g., bedroom or refrigerator door). By repeatedly seeing the things you must do, you’re less likely to overlook them, forget about them, or subconsciously repress them because you’d rather not do them.
• Smartphone. This device can be used for purposes other than checking social networking sites and sending or receiving text messages. It can be used as a cal- endar tool to record due dates and set up alert functions to remind you of dead- lines. Many smartphones also allow you to set up task or “to-do” lists and set priorities for each item entered. A variety of apps are also available for planning tasks and tracking the amount of time you spend on them (for example, see: http://www.rememberthemilk.com).
Take advantage of these cutting-edge, high-tech tools, but at the same time, re- member that planners don’t plan time, people do. Ultimately, the effectiveness of any time-management strategy depends on making a strong personal commit- ment to our goals and to completing the tasks required to reach our goals.
AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE When I entered college in the mid-1970s, I was a first-generation student from an ex- tremely impoverished background. Not only did I have to work to support my education, I also needed to assist my family financially. I stocked grocery store shelves at night dur- ing the week and waited tables at a local country club on the weekends. Managing my time, school, work, and life required a lot of self-discipline. However, I always under- stood that my goal was to graduate from college and all of my other commitments sup- ported that goal. One of my greatest achievements in life was to keep my mind focused on the ultimate goal of earning a college degree. That achievement has paid off for me many times over the course of my life.
—Aaron Thompson
 

 
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Time management is rooted in goal commitment. When the roots of goal commitment are strong, they provide fertile soil for time-management skills to grow into productive lifelong habits.
Reflection 4.4
a) Do you use a paper calendar or an electronic calendar tool on your cell phone?
b) If you don’t use either of these tools, why not?
c) How do you think most students would answer the above two questions?
Prioritization: ordering tasks in terms of their importance and tackling them in that order. After itemizing tasks we need to get done, the next step is prioritizing them—determining the order or sequence in which they will get done. Prioritizing is basically a process of ranking tasks in terms of their importance and tackling high-priority tasks first. Here are two key criteria (standards of judgment) you can use to determine high-priority tasks:
“First things first. ”—An old proverb • Urgency. Unfinished tasks that are close to their deadline or due date should
receive high priority. Starting an assignment that’s due next week takes prece- dence over starting an assignment that’s due next month (even if the latter as- signment may be more interesting or stimulating).
• Gravity. Tasks that carry greater weight (count more) should receive higher priority. If an assignment worth 100 points and an assignment worth 10 points are due at the same time, the 100-point task should receive higher priority. Simply stated, tasks that matter more should receive higher priority. Similar to investing money, time should be invested on tasks that yield the greatest dividends.
”“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, dramatist, and author of the epic Faust
A simple and effective strategy for prioritizing tasks is to divide them into “A,” “B,” and “C” lists. The “A” list is for essential (non-negotiable) tasks that must be done now. List “B” is for important tasks that should be done soon. List “C” is for op- tional tasks that could be done if there’s time remaining after the more important tasks on lists A and B have been completed. Organizing tasks into these three lists can help us make rational decisions about how to divide our labor and tackle our tasks. We shouldn’t be wasting time on less important things and convince our- selves that we’re “getting stuff done”—when, in reality, all we’re doing is “keeping busy” and distracting ourselves (and subtracting time) from the more important things we should be doing.
”“When I have lots of home-work to do, I suddenly go through this urge to clean up and organize the house. I’m thinking, ‘I’m not wasting my time. I’m cleaning up the house and that’s something I have to do.’ But all I’m really doing is avoiding schoolwork. —College sophomore
Developing a Time-Management Plan Don’t buy into the myth that planning time is wasting time that could be spent get- ting started and getting things done. Like successful chess players, successful time managers plan and anticipate their next moves.
You’ve probably heard of the old proverb: “A stitch in time saves nine.” Plan- ning time represents a “stitch” (one unit of time) that saves “nine” (additional units of time). Actually, time-management experts estimate that taking time to plan our work reduces our total work time by a factor of three; in other words, for every one unit of time we spend planning, we save ourselves three times as much work time. ”“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.—Benjamin Franklin
 

 
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Thus, 5 minutes of planning time saves us about 15 minutes of total work time, and 10 minutes of planning time saves us 30 minutes of work time.
Taking time to plan our work saves work time in the long run because it gives us a map of where we’re going, reducing the risk of our veering off track or getting sidetracked. Developing a plan of attack also reduces the likelihood of “false starts”—starting our work and discovering later that we didn’t start off on the right track, forcing us to backtrack and start all over again.
Key Elements of an Effective Time-Management Plan Once we let go of the belief that taking time to plan is a waste of time and realize that it will save us time in the long run, we can take some time to develop a time- management plan. Listed below are components of a well-designed plan for man- aging time and tasks.
An effective time-management plan transforms goal-setting into action- taking. The first step is to plan the work; second step is to work the plan. Studies show that setting goals and getting motivated are important, but completing the tasks needed to achieve those goals requires more than motivation; it requires an action plan.
You can transform a plan on paper (or on a computer screen) into an action plan by: (a) previewing what you intend to do, (b) reviewing whether you actually did what you intended to do, and (c) closing any gaps between your intentions and ac- tions. This process includes having a daily to-do list at the start of the day, carrying it with you throughout the day, and checking off (not putting off) items you intend to accomplish during the day. At the end of the day, review the list and determine what you did and didn’t get done. Things that didn’t get done become high-priority tasks for the next day’s to-do list.
If you frequently find lots of unchecked (uncompleted) items on your to-do list at the end of the day, this probably means you’re spreading yourself too thin and trying to accomplish too much too soon. You may need to be more conservative about what you can get done in a single day and reduce the number of items on your daily to-do list.
Having difficulty completing all tasks on our daily to-do lists may also mean that we need to adjust our overall time-management plan by substituting work time for time spent on other activities (e.g., Facebook, text messaging, or phone calls). If we consistently fail to complete our daily tasks, we may have to ask ourselves if we’re truly committed to investing the time and effort needed to reach our goals.
An effective time-management plan reserves time for the unexpected. We should plan for the best, but also prepare for the worst. A good plan includes a buf- fer zone or safety net of extra (unscheduled) time to accommodate unforeseen de- velopments and unexpected emergencies. Just as we should have extra funds in our savings account to accommodate unexpected expenses (e.g., car repairs or medical care), we should reserve extra time in our schedule to accommodate tasks that end up taking more time than we budgeted for, and for tasks that may unexpectedly crop up (e.g., a family emergency).
“Murphy’s Laws:1. Nothing is as simple as it looks. 2. Everything takes longer than it should.
3. If anything can go wrong, it will.
—Murphy’s Laws (named after Captain Edward Murphy, a naval engineer) An effective time-management plan should include scheduling time for both
work and play. A time-management plan should not turn us into robotic worka- holics. It shouldn’t be just a dry and daunting list of work tasks we must do; it should also include things that we want to do, creating a balanced blend of work
 

 
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tasks and fun activities that allow us to relax, recreate, refuel, and recharge. This balance may be created by following a daily “8- 8-8 rule”: 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for school work, and 8 hours for other activities. We are more likely to faithfully ex- ecute a time-management plan that includes play time along with work time, and if we schedule play time as a reward for putting in our work time.
If a time-management plan includes things we like to do, we’re more likely to do the things we have to do.
Reflection 4.5
What relaxing and recreational activities do you engage in to maintain work-play balance in your life? Do you develop an intentional plan for engaging in these activi- ties on a regular basis? (If not, why?)
An effective time-management plan should have some flexibility. The plan shouldn’t be so rigid that it enslaves you; it should be flexible enough to allow you the freedom to modify it if necessary. Just as work commitments and family responsibilities can pop up unexpectedly, so, too, can fun activities. A good time- management plan should allow you some freedom and spontaneity to take advan- tage of enjoyable opportunities that may emerge unexpectedly. You should be able to bend your plan, as long as you don’t break it. If you substitute play time for work time, the work time needs to be rescheduled for another time. In other words, you shouldn’t steal work time from your plan, but you can borrow it and pay it back later.
Making Productive Use of “Free Time” Outside the Classroom Compared with high school, college students are expected to put in much more in- dependent work outside of class. Thus, using out-of-class time strategically and productively is critical to college success. Listed below are strategies for working on your own outside the classroom to prepare (in advance) for exams and assignments. Building time for each of these activities into your time-management plan will en- able you to make more productive use of your time outside the classroom, reduce your level of stress, and strengthen your overall academic performance.
• Review lecture notes from the last class before the next class. After taking notes in class students often don’t look at those notes again until they study them just before test time. Don’t fall into this habit; instead, review your notes regularly between class sessions, rewrite any notes that may have been sloppily written the first time, and reorganize your notes to get different pieces of infor- mation relating to the same point in the same place. If you find any information gaps or confusing points in your notes, seek out the course instructor or a trusted classmate to clear them up before the next class session. If you take some time to review and refine your course notes between class sessions, you can build mental bridges between successive lectures and connect information to be learned in the upcoming class with information you learned in the previ- ous class.
 

 
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• Complete reading assignments pertaining to an upcoming lecture topic before that topic is discussed in class. This will make lectures easier to under- stand and enable you to participate more effectively in class by asking meaning- ful questions and making well-informed contributions to class discussions.
• Review and take notes on information highlighted in assigned readings. Students often do not review reading material they have highlighted until they’re about to be tested on it. Avoid this habit by reviewing and taking notes on your reading highlights in advance of exams. This will reduce the need to engage in last-minute cramming and give you ample time before exams to clear up confus- ing information found in the reading with a fellow classmate or the course instructor.
• Integrate class notes and reading notes relating to the same point or con- cept. Connect information in your lecture notes with information in your read- ing notes that pertain to the same idea and get them in the same place (e.g., on the same index card).
• Use a “part-to-whole” study method. Study in advance of (not just the night before) exams by breaking the material you need to know into small parts (pieces) and study these parts in short, separate study sessions. This strategy will enable you to avoid last-minute cramming and enable them to use your last study session right before the exam to review the “whole”—all the parts you previously studied. (For more details about the part-to-whole study method, see Chapter 5, pp. 107-108.)
• Work on large, long-term assignments due at the end of the term by breaking them into smaller short-term tasks and complete them in suc- cessive stages throughout the term. For instance, if you have a large term paper to turn in by the last week of class, divide your work on it into the follow- ing smaller tasks and complete each of these tasks in separate installments. 1. Search for and decide on a topic. 2. Locate sources of information on the topic. 3. Organize information obtained from your sources into categories. 4. Develop an outline of your paper’s major points, including the order or se-
quence in which they’ll be covered. 5. Construct a first draft of the paper. 6. Review and refine the first draft (and, if necessary, write additional drafts). 7. Complete a final draft. 8. Proofread the final draft for spelling and grammatical errors before turning
it in.
Reflection 4.6
Are you currently making productive use of your time between classes? If not, what could (or should) you do instead of what you’re currently doing?
 

 
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Take portable schoolwork with you during the day—work that can be carried with you and worked on anywhere at any time. This will enable you to take “dead time”—time spent being bored or doing nothing (such as waiting for appointments or transportation)—and transform it into “live” (productive) time. ”“Only boring people get bored.—Graffiti that once appeared in a bathroom stall at the University of Iowa, circa 1977
Combating Procrastination A major enemy of effective time management is procrastination. Research indicates that 80% to 95% of college students procrastinate and almost 50% report they pro- crastinate consistently. Procrastination is such a serious issue that some college campuses have opened “procrastination centers” especially for students struggling with this problem.
Instead of abiding by the proverb, “Why put off till tomorrow what can be done today?” the procrastinator’s philosophy is just the opposite: “Why do today what can be put off till tomorrow?” Adopting this philosophy leads to a perpetual pattern of postponing what needs to be done until the last possible moment, forcing the procrastinator to rush frantically to finish work just before the deadline, and then turning in work that is inferior or incomplete (or turning in nothing at all).
”“Many people take no care of their money ‘til they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, dramatist, and author of the epic Faust
A procrastinator’s intention to work in advance often ends up with this scenario.
List of Things To Do Today
List of Things Due Today
1. Write Paper 2. Study for Math Test 3. Prepare Speech
1. Turn in Paper 2. Take Math Test 3. Deliver Speech
Next time I’ll start sooner!
©Kendall Hunt Publishing Company
Myths That Promote Procrastination To have any hope of putting a stop to procrastination, students need to let go of two popular myths (misconceptions) about time and performance. If you believe in ei- ther of the following myths, challenge yourself to think otherwise.
Myth 1. “I work better under pressure” (on the day or night before some- thing is due). Procrastinators often confuse desperation with motivation. Their ra- tionale for thinking that they work better under pressure really isn’t a rationale at all; instead, it’s a rationalization to justify the fact that they only work under pressure— when they’re forced to, because they’ve run out of time and are under the gun of a looming deadline.
 

 
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It’s certainly true that when we’re under the pressure of an immediate deadline, we’re more likely to start working and work faster, but that doesn’t mean we’re working smarter, more effectively, or producing work of better quality. Because pro- crastinators repeatedly play “beat the clock,” they focus more on beating the buzzer than delivering their best shot. The typical result is delivering a work product of poorer quality than what could have been produced if they started sooner.
 
“Haste makes waste.”—Benjamin Franklin Myth 2. “Studying in advance is a waste of time because I’ll forget it all by test time.” Procrastinators use this belief to justify putting off all studying until the night before an exam. As will be discussed in chapter 5, studying that’s distributed (spread out) over time is more effective than massed (crammed) studying. Further- more, last-minute studying can lead to pulling “late-nighters” or “all-nighters,” depriving the brain of dream sleep (a.k.a. REM sleep) that’s needed to retain infor- mation and manage stress.
Working under time pressure also increases performance pressure because it leaves procrastinators with little time to seek help with their work and no time to accommodate last-minute emergencies or random catastrophes.
Strategies for Preventing and Overcoming Procrastination Listed below are strategies for reducing the tendency to procrastinate and prevent- ing it from happening in the first place.
 
Consistently use effective time-management strategies. It’s been found that procrastinators are less likely to procrastinate when they convert their intentions or vows (“I swear I’m going to start tomorrow”) into concrete action plans. Studies show that if people consistently use effective time-management plans and practices (such as those discussed in this chapter) and apply them to tasks that they procrasti- nate on, their procrastination habit begins to fade and is replaced by more produc- tive work habits.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”—Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher
Organization matters. Research indicates that disorganization contributes to pro- crastination. If our workspaces and work materials are well-organized and ready to go, we’re more likely to get going and start working. Having the right materials in the right place at the right time not only makes it easier for us to begin work, it also helps us maintain momentum by reducing the need to stop, find stuff that’s needed to continue working, and then have to restart the work process all over again. For procrastinators, anything that delays the start of their work, or interrupts their work once it’s begun, can supply them with just enough time (and the right excuse) to postpone doing the work.
The less time and effort it takes to start working and continue working, the more likely it is that the work will be started, continued, and completed.
A simple and effective way to organize college work materials is to develop a personal file system, in which materials from separate courses are filed (stored) in separate notebooks or folders—paper or electronic. This keeps all materials related to the same course in the same place and allows for immediate access to these mate- rials when they’re needed. A file system not only helps with organization, it also re- duces the risk of procrastination by reducing the time (and effort) it takes to get started. Also, by having everything “in place,” it reduces stress triggered by the un- settling feeling of having things “all over the place.”
 

 
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Location matters. Effective time and task management include effective manage- ment of one’s work environment. Where work takes place can influence whether work is begun and gets done. Working in an environment that minimizes distrac- tions and maximizes concentration reduces the risk of procrastination. Intentionally arrange your work environment to minimize social distractions (e.g., friends nearby who are not working) and social-media distractions (e.g., texting or tweeting). Bet- ter yet, remove everything from your work site that’s not related to the work you’re doing.
Procrastination can also be reduced by working in an environment that includes positive social-support networks; for example, working with a group of motivated students who make your work more attractive, less distractive, and more productive.
AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE Although my college friends and I had different majors, we found that if we all studied together we could help each other stay focused and avoid procrastination. Each night about five of us would meet up in one of our residence hall rooms with our coffee, snacks, and textbooks. We’d each find a spot somewhere in that room–either at a desk or on the floor–and hunker down to study for exams or to get our reading assignments done. These study sessions were both enjoyable and productive; we were able to keep up with the demands of our courses while also spending time together.
However, despite our best efforts, some of us would occasionally get distracted, start cracking jokes, or just lose steam. Since we were so committed to supporting each other, whenever this happened, we’d rein each other in and refocus. These evening sessions with my friends helped me stick to a regular study schedule, do well in my courses, and strengthened the friendships I made in college. —Michele Campagna
Make the start of work as inviting or appealing as possible. For many procras- tinators, initiating work—getting off the starting blocks—is their stumbling block. They experience what’s known as “start-up stress”—when they’re about to start working, they start having negative thoughts about the work they’re about to do— expecting it to be difficult, stressful, or boring. ”“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.—Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), acclaimed American humorist and author
Start-up stress can be reduced by sequencing work tasks in a way that allows you to work first on tasks you find more interesting or are more likely to do suc- cessfully. Beginning with these tasks can give you a “jump-start,” enabling you to overcome inertia and generate momentum. Once this initial momentum is created, you can ride it and use it as motivational energy to attack the less appealing work that comes later in your work sequence—which often turns out to be less onerous or anxiety-provoking than you thought it would be. Many times, the anticipation of a daunting task is worse than the task itself. In one major study of college students who didn’t start a project until just before its due date, it was found that that they experienced anxiety and guilt while they were procrastinating, but once they began working, these negative emotions subsided and were replaced by more positive feel- ings of progress and accomplishment. Another study found that the areas of the brain where pain is experienced are active before procrastinating students began doing their work but became deactivated once they started working.
”“Did you ever dread doing something, and then it turned out to take only about 20 minutes to do?—Conversation between two college students overheard in a coffee shop
If you have trouble beginning your work due to start-up stress, try starting your work in an environment that you find pleasant and relaxing while doing something you find pleasant and relaxing (e.g., working in your favorite coffee shop while sip- ping your favorite beverage).
 

 
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If you don’t have trouble starting your work but lose motivation before com- pleting it, schedule easier and more interesting work tasks in the middle or toward the end of your planned work time. Some procrastinators have difficulty starting work; others have trouble continuing and finishing the work they’ve started. As previously mentioned, if you have trouble beginning your work, it might be best for you to start with tasks that you find easier or more interesting. On the other hand, if your procrastination involves stopping your work before completing it, then it might be better to attack easier and more interesting tasks at a later point in your work sequence—at a time when your interest and energy tends to fade. Knowing that there are more stimulating and manageable tasks ahead of you can also provide you with an incentive for completing the less enjoyable or more diffi- cult tasks first.
“I’m very good at starting things but often have trouble keeping a sustained effort.”—First-year college student If you are close to completing a task, “go for the kill”—finish it then and there—rather than stopping and going back to it later. As the old saying goes: “There’s no time like the present.” By continuing to work on a task that you already started, you capitalize on the momentum you’ve already generated. In contrast, postponing work on a task that’s near completion and going back to it again later means that you have to overcome start-up inertia and regenerate momentum all over again.
There’s another advantage of finishing a task that’s already been started—it pro- vides a sense of closure—a feeling of personal accomplishment and self-satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve “closed the deal.” Seeing a task checked off as completed supplies you with a visible sign of achievement that can motivate you to keep going and tackle the next task.
(Complete the AchieveWORKS Learning and Productivity Self-Assessment. Take a close look at these results and the results of your AchieveWORKSPersonal- ity Self-Assessment. What do these two reports say about your inclination to finish tasks and activities? What suggestions offered by these two self-assessments could help you stay on task and increase productivity?)
Divide large work tasks into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Work becomes less overwhelming and less stressful when it’s handled in small chunks or segments. Procrastinating about large work tasks can be reduced by using a “divide and con- quer” strategy—divide the large task into smaller, more manageable subtasks, set deadlines for these smaller tasks just like you would the final product, and attack the small tasks one at a time. By breaking down the total task into smaller pieces, you can take quick jabs at the tall task, poke holes in it, and whittle down its size with each successive punch. This divide-and-conquer approach reduces the pressure of having to deliver one, big knockout punch right before the final bell (deadline or due date). Don’t underestimate the power of short work sessions; they can be more productive than marathon sessions because it’s easier to maintain motivation, con- centration, and energy for shorter periods of time.
 

 
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AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE The two biggest projects I’ve had to complete in my life were writing my doctoral thesis and this textbook. The strategy that enabled me to complete both of these large tasks was to set short-term deadlines for myself (e.g., complete 5-10 pages each week). I psyched myself into thinking that these little, self-imposed due dates were really drop-dead dead- lines that I had to meet. This strategy allowed me to divide a monstrous chore into a se- ries of smaller, more manageable mini-tasks. It was like taking a huge, hard-to-digest meal and breaking it into small, bite-sized pieces that I could easily ingest and gradually digest over time.
—Joe Cuseo
Reflection 4.7
Would you say you’re a procrastinator?
If yes, do you think you procrastinate to such a degree that it reduces the quality of your work or adds to your level of stress?
How do you think most students would answer the above two questions?
”“To eat an elephant, first cut it into small pieces.—Author unknown Psychological Causes of Procrastination In some cases, procrastination isn’t the result of poor time-management habits but has deeper psychological roots. Procrastination can be used as a psychological strat- egy to protect one’s self-image and self-esteem. Some procrastinators engage in a strategy called self-handicapping—they intentionally (or unconsciously) “handicap” themselves by limiting the amount of time they have to prepare for and complete tasks. So, if their performance turns out to be less than spectacular, they can always conclude (or rationalize) that it was because they were performing under a handi- cap—lack of time. For example, if self-handicapping procrastinators receive a low grade on a test, they can “save face” (self-esteem) by saying that they had the ability or intelligence to earn a high grade, but just didn’t put in much time studying for the exam. Better yet, if they happen to get a good grade—despite the last-minute, last- ditch effort—it proves just how smart they were because they were able to earn a high grade without putting in much time at all! Thus, self-handicapping creates a fail-safe or win-win scenario that always protects the procrastinator’s self-image.
”“Procrastinators would rather be seen as lacking in effort than lacking in ability.—Joseph Ferrari, professor of psychology and procrastination researcher
In addition to self-handicapping, there are other psychological factors that have been found to contribute to procrastination, such as the following:
• Perfectionism. The procrastinator has unrealistically high personal standards or expectations and believes that it’s better to postpone work, or not do the work at all, than to risk doing it less than perfectly.
• Fear of failure. The procrastinator feels that it’s worse to put in the time to do the work and fail or receive negative feedback, than to do the work at all.
• Fear of success. The procrastinator fears that doing well will show others that he can perform at a high level, which will create expectations from others that he maintain this high level of performance.
• Indecisiveness. The procrastinator has difficulty making decisions in general, including decisions about what to do first, when to do it, or whether to do it.
“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”—Harriet Braiker, psychologist and bestselling author
”“When you’re given a positive label, you’re afraid of losing it, and when you’re hit with a negative label, you’re afraid of deserving it. —Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
 

 
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• Thrill seeking. The procrastinator loves the adrenaline rush associated with rushing to get things done just before a deadline.
If these psychological issues are the root of procrastination, they need to be up- rooted and dealt with before the problem can be solved. This may require seeing a counseling psychologist (either on or off campus) who is professionally trained to deal with these issues.
Regardless of whether the cause is lack of time-management skills or deeper psy- chological factors, procrastination continues to be a problem for many students and one that can have significant impact on their ability to succeed in college. Be on the lookout for it, guard against it, and be willing to seek help if you’re experiencing it.
Internet-Based Resources For additional information on managing time and preventing procrastination, con- sult the following websites:
Time-Management Strategies: http://www.studygs.net/timman.htm https://pennstatelearning.psu.edu/time-management
Beating Procrastination: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_96.htm https://success.oregonstate.edu/learning/stop-procrastinating
 

 
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Chapter 4 Exercises 4.1 Quote Reflections Review the sidebar quotes contained in this chapter and select two that you found to be especially meaningful or inspirational.
For each quote you selected, provide an explanation why you chose it.
4.2 Strategy Reflections Review the strategies recommended for preventing and overcoming procrastination on pp. 78-80. Select three strategies that you think are most important and intend to put into practice.
4.3 Reality Bite Procrastination: The Vicious Cycle Delayla has a major paper due at the end of the term. It’s now past midterm and she still hasn’t started to work on it. She keeps telling herself, “I should have started sooner” and is now beginning to feel anxious and guilty. To relieve her anxiety and guilt, Delayla starts doing other tasks instead, such as cleaning her room and organizing files on her computer. These tasks keep her busy, take her mind off the term paper, and give her the feeling that she’s getting something accomplished. Time continues to pass and the deadline for the paper is growing dangerously close. Delayla now finds herself in the stressful position of having lots of work still to do and very little time to do it.
Adapted from Procrastination: Why You Do It, and What to Do About It (Burka & Yuen)
Reflections: 1. What do you expect Delayla will do at this point? Why?
2. What grade do you think she will end up receiving on her paper?
3. Can you relate to this student’s experience, or know students who have had this experience?
4. Other than simply starting sooner, what else could Delayla (and other procrastinators like her) have done to break this procrastination cycle?
4.4 Time Analysis Inventory 1. Go to the following website: http://tutorials.istudy.psu.edu/timemanagement/TimeEstimator.html 2. Complete the time management exercise at this site. The exercise asks you to estimate the hours per day or week that
you engage in various activities (e.g., sleeping, employment, and commuting). When you enter the amount of time you devote to each activity, the website automatically computes the total number of remaining hours you have available in the week for schoolwork.
3. After completing your entries, answer the following questions (or provide your best estimate). a) How many hours per week do you have available for schoolwork?
b) Do you have two hours available for schoolwork outside of class for each hour you spend in class? If you don’t, what activities could be eliminated or reduced to create this 2:1 ratio?
 

 
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4.5 Time Management Self-Awareness Look at the results of your AchieveWORKSPersonality assessment report
Did the results provide you with helpful insights on how you organize your time and your approach to completing tasks? If yes, why? If no, why not?
4.6 Term at a Glance Review the syllabus (course outline) for each course you’re enrolled in this term, and complete the following information for each course:
Term ______________________________________Year ____________________
Course Professor Exams Projects & Papers
Other Assignments
Attendance Policy
Late & Makeup Assignment Policy
1. Is the overall workload what you expected? Are you surprised by the amount of work required in any particular course(s)?
2. At this point in the term, what do you see as your most challenging or demanding course(s)? Why?
3. Do you think you can handle the total workload required for the full set of courses you’re enrolled in this term?
4. What adjustments or changes could you make to your personal schedule that would make it easier to accommodate your academic workload this term?
4.7 Developing a Weekly Time-Management Plan for Your First Term in College Use the following Week-at-a-Glance Grid to map out your typical week looks like this term. Start by recording what you usually do on these days, including the times you’re in class, at work, and when you relax or recreate. You can use abbreviations (e.g., CT for class time, HW for homework, J for job, and R&R for rest and relaxation). List the abbreviations you created at the bottom of the page so that you (and your instructor) can follow them.
If you’re a full-time student, plan for 25 hours a week for homework (HW). (If you’re a part-time student, find two hours you could devote to homework for every hour you’re in class—for example, if you’re in class nine hours per week, find 18 hours of homework time).
These homework hours could take place at any time during the week, including weekends. If you combine 25 hours per week of out-of-class school work with the amount of time you spend in class each week, you should end up with a 40-hour academic workweek— comparable to a full-time job—which is how college work should be viewed.
” “The amount of free time you have in college is much more than in high school. Always have a weekly study schedule to go by. Otherwise, time slips away and you will not be able to account for it. —Advice to new college students from a first-year student
 

 
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Week-at-a-Glance Grid Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
7:00 a.m.
8:00 a.m.
9:00 a.m.
10:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m.
12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
8:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m.
11:00 p.m.
Reflections 1. How likely are you to put this time-management plan into practice?
Circle one: Definitely Probably Unlikely
2. What would help or encourage you to put this plan into practice?
3. What would deter or discourage you from putting this plan into practice?
4. How do you think other students would answer the above three questions?

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