#PLENK2010 Time management

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…

Still thinking.

8 thoughts on “#PLENK2010 Time management

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention #PLENK2010 Time management | Suifaijohnmak's Weblog -- Topsy.com

  2. I can appreciate Macan’s finding that we have more job satisfaction and reduced stress if we perceive that we have control over our time, John. Reminds me of the “little engine that could” — “I think I can; I think I can” and so I can.

    I’ve tried to use Covey’s 4 quadrant approach for years and bet it would really work for me this time — on an iPad. I do find that I’m always looking for the magic bullet when it comes to time management.

    Thanks for thoughtful and “timely” post.

  3. Hi John,
    This is an interesting discussion related to time management. I really enjoyed the video by Pausch. His time with us was cut short, but his message to us is timeless. “Failure to plan is planning for failure.” Those of us who plan and achieve goals can agree with his advice to break down complicated tasks, prioritize the tasks, and do the ‘ugliest” (most bothersome) tasks first.
    This advice is really helpful if we are thinking about managing tasks, but there is a difference between making time on tasks and time for learning require very different planning strategies, don’t they?
    You suggest in the narrative you wrote that you need time for reflection in order to process new data and information. Clearly, you make time for writing in your blog. Moreover, you suggest that you need to lead a balanced life, making time for exercise, relationships, and work. I would suggest that learning occurs throughout time, when you are living your life, exercising, enjoying time with friends and loved ones, not just when you are blogging, reflecting on and addressing the challenges and dilemmas of life.
    I have to get back to work now. Enjoyed this post.

  4. Hi Mary,
    Great to learn your views. Learning with fun, like those learning through games and entertainment, is also part of life. It depends on what we meant by learning. So life is filled with learning, and learning is part of our life that we can’t live without, in order to grow.
    Thanks for your valuable comments.
    John

  5. Hi John,

    There is fun learning and then there is serious learning which is often fun. To be honest, I have no difficulty setting goals and making and completing them. But I know myself well enough to say that my motivation for learning are driven by a desire for mastery/empowerment, a need for autonomy/belonging, a capacity for self critique and social understanding. In life and in work I do not set out to achieve a specific goal or task, such as to become an expert or to have many connections. Most of the time, I am just moving along through space and time and bam! An authentic learning experiences happens by… and well, I take notice. For example, recently I was asked to join a research project. I was sensible and said, “No.” I would rather set up my own PLENK. That was not an acceptable response in their mind, and they were unrelenting. “This is a wonderful opportunity; you cannot turn it down; you are just the person we need.” “Well, maybe..,and maybe not.” I listened. I put myself in their shoes. I reflected. Then I said, “I know just the person you need for the project.” and, “Yes, this person you suggested is just perfect!” I smiled and took a deep breath, but they were not taking no for an answer, that was clear. In spite of my absolutely full schedule of responsibilities, I found myself working with colleagues in the world language program, researchers here, there and everywhere, school leaders and teachers, parents and the students on designing an innovative program for a Japanese-American English dual language Immersion program. I do not speak a word of Japanese, but they do–the adults and the children and most of the educators, but we are going to work together on this project. Back to management. I have to figure out how to manage my life and time. I am busy. I could either review proposals for a grant or pull one together. I pulled together some research and wrote a proposal to pay a graduate student to assist with field research, data collection and analysis, on site program development and designing workshops for educators here and there. The project is unusual and the research will be worthwhile.
    I felt the same exhilaration when I was a participant in CCK, CritLit, PLENK courses. I like that expression, “Knowledge wants to be free.” But nothing is ever free, not really. With luck, I will manage to maintain some semblance of balance, and you can be sure I will be continuing to grow knowledge related to informal learning in networks.
    There is work, which is grinding down. The serious reading, writing, project creation, and learning and knowledge building in four different courses is reaping its reward. Knowledge may want to be free, but it takes a whole lot of discipline and a whole lot of learning to generate really substantive and critical knowledge–even in my field, which is education.
    By the way, if you have not read this book, you really should. I think you would like it. Floridi, Luciano (2010). Information: A Very Short Introduction. London: Oxford University Press. (Talk about getting as handle on data and information management!) It is part of a series of very short introductions to some topics you have discussed in the blog entries.
    Mary

  6. Wish you would add an edit feature. I hate it when I go back and find errors in the text! and there are so many. Are you able to correct those errors when you moderate the post?

  7. Hi Mary,
    I think it is fine now, sorry that I have to check it manually, as there aren’t any automatic spell check.
    I like your reflection, so insightful. Good food for thoughts.
    John

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