Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #138
When I came across this via a podcast, it stopped me in my tracks. Literally. I was mowing the lawn and had to stop, Google it, and clip it with Evernote.
Time management matrix -
Now, why didn’t I have this in college?
This simply breaks all the things that take up our time into four categories.
Important - Urgent activities - showing up to work on time, eating, meeting a deadline, paying bills . . . Obviously, these have to e address right away as they are both important AND urgent. While these activities are vital, they are also incredibly stressful, that’s why they should be reduced if at all possible.
Important - Not Urgent activities - attending church, exercise, professional development, reading, self-improvement, studying, starting that paper, spending time with family . . . These are the things that are important but never seem urgent to us. I often find myself telling my son - as I’m typing an email or reading something on my computer - “In a little bit” or “we will do that later.” The same is true with working out. “I’ll start exercising (or eating right or giving up pop or . . .) tomorrow or next week.” These activities should be increased.
Not Important - Urgent activities - hello social media and technology. How many of us feel compelled to check Facebook or Twitter just to see the most trivial information ever? How many of us feel compelled to stop and post something to social media chronicling every infinitesimal detail of our day . . . how good or coffee is, how bad traffic is, how stupid the trains are, how much we love a song on the radio, how cute our kids look on the way to school . . . The problem with devoting so much time to this category is that it draws time from the Important - Urgent and Important - Not urgent activities. I saw this first hand at the ALC this summer. I had students who had 2 out of 16 assignments turned in. All they had to do was complete the assignments and turn them in. Yet, day after day, I saw them with their pen on their desk, next to the study guide while they clutched their smartphone and stared at the screen. Graduation should be an Important - Urgent activity, but for so many of these students it was put on the back burner because of their devotion to not important - urgent activities.
Not important - not urgent activities - I lump all TV and Netflix into this category. How many times will I have a stack of papers to correct (that would important-urgent), but channel surf and find The Incredibles or Shawshank Redemption on for the 100th time. So what do I do? I stop and zone out for two hours. Total waste of time. Now, there are some times wasting time and just relaxing is great. But that time would be when all of the important and urgent activities are done.
When I think about being in college and all the time I devoted to playing College Football and John Madden on my Sega Genysis system or all the time I spent perusing the internet or pouring over my fantasy football team or watching 12 hours of football on Sundays, I see a lot of category 3 and 4 time wasted. Then I think of all the late nights I crammed for tests or stayed up all night to write papers, I again, see how I should have increased my time spent on category 1 and 2 things.