I have been pondering about time management and its impact on our learning, in particular under an online learning environment, a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and a Personal Learning Environment (PLE).
Why? The motto of Time is Money still sounds true, whether we are relating to the time spent in our private life, our family, study, education, learning, work, exercise, play, and entertainment etc. Whether we have been able to spend our time fruitfully, however, is quite a value judgement.
How could I organize my time in life? No two persons have the same habits of how they organize their time. Everyone spends time based on their needs, and their habits, and as life is complex, we often find it hard to plan and organize time in advance.
However, organizing ourselves seems to be the most important part of our life, and a purpose of life too. How could we achieve our goals without some forms of organizing in our life? We likely need to plan, do, check and act in our life as that below, though often doing it subconsciously.
Photo: from wikipedia
I would focus on organizing my time in this reflection.
As told in a story by Covey S. et. al. on organizing: The process of putting first things first: Where there’s no gardener, there’s no garden.
This applies equally well in organizing for learning, especially through PLN, when we often need to balance the time spent in learning, family, work, play and entertainment.
So, time management has been high in the learning agenda amongst most of us. But what about time management training? This article on time management by T Hoff Macan provides valuable insights into time management and time management behaviors:
Is time management training having any influence on the behaviors of individuals?
Examination of the path coefficients suggested that although time management behaviors were somewhat effective, time management training had little influence on whether respondents engaged in these behaviors. On the surface, these results seem contrary to previous studies that suggest time management training is an effective technique (Hall & Hursch, 1982; Hanel et al., 1982).
How do people learn the components of time management?
Individuals learn the components of time management in other ways besides a formal time management training program. For example, throughout life, a person may observe others making lists, scheduling, and leaving a clean work space and may choose to adopt these techniques. Future research should explore this possibility.
Time management behaviors—goal setting and prioritizing and having a preference for organization—appear to have beneficial effects if they give persons the perception that they have control over their time. Inconsistent with expectations, however, respondents in the present study who practiced time management behaviors such as making lists and scheduling activities did not necessarily perceive greater control over their time.
When I reflected on my own experience of time management whilst studying and learning with MOOC, I realized that control over time requires a great deal of planning and organizing of my work and private life to achieve the learning and performance goals set. So, apart from my normal learning plan, I had often come up with a contingency plan, which could cater for any changes in requirements due to personal circumstances or at work.
One particular aspect that I would like to reflect on in time management is related to health problems, which is life-style related. A wake up call such as an “allergic or virus attack or a caught up with influencer” often caused me to slow down or even stop everything that I am doing. These calls have been very effective ways of raising my awareness on the importance of health in my life, signalling that I need to review my strategies in the maintenance of health and learning and performance. I started to re-educate myself in the importance good exercise, nutrition, and a balance in my private and work life. I could immediately feel the impact of health (physical, spiritual, and mental health) on my life. So a control over time and thus life is imminent.
So what are some means of exercising greater control over our time?
Here are some tools and gadgets for time management referred by Linn. These sound helpful in the “instrumental time management”, but how about the effectiveness of time management in employing these tools and gadgets? Just have to wait and see…