I do get stressed at times as I work late through the night to reach deadlines. I have read some of the suggestions about what I could do to change things. I have tried making a revision plan, but they never work. It’s not really a problem, I usually muddle through” “Hmm…yes time management is a problem for me. It’s my problem, something about me and how I approach tasks. I would like to be more organised, but something stops me, I am not sure what, maybe a fear of failure, or a fear of not getting it perfectly right every time? I am stressed at times anyway and can’t continue like this.
Maybe I should seek help from someone, as I have read articles about time management but they don’t seem to work and another person’s perspective might make a difference? ” “I stepped back and looked at me and how I managed my time. I used the suggestions from my reading. I kept a diary for a week and also did an online quiz. I was shocked at myself! I have been wasting so much time doing very little, just watching daytime TV, playing music, talking with friends, sleeping when I could have been effectively working. I now have an action plan to change things. It might not be a perfect plan (few are!! , BUT I will review it, see what works and make changes if I need to. I also plan to reward myself when I stick to the schedule and it works. I have sorted my electronic files – I knew they were a mess, but couldn’t face what I thought would be a boring task. The good news is that I save huge amounts of time everyday because I can now find what I need when I need it. I know that I will need to periodically review how I am doing, because I do tend to “let things slip” – so I have a plan for that – have put notes into my e-diary to inspire myself and to remind myself to keep reviewing progress”
Levels of reflection From the above comments you will probably have noted some differences in approaches to a specific time management problem. The first examples show a fairly shallow approach to learning and perhaps, some denial that this is a problem. The other examples illustrate the need to step back, gain viewpoints from other people, do some deeper reflection, test things out and remain positive and open to ideas. This type of written reflection may be useful where an internal dialogue is needed, that is, when you need to talk with yourself in an objective fashion about a particular challenge.
The above aspect of time management and many more related issues will be further developed in the core theme, “Time Management” Approaches to using your diary or log book You could use your diary to: • Just record some key thoughts for each week. This has the advantage of only focusing on key ideas and your diary will not get too cluttered • Ask yourself some questions each day about the subjects your have studied. o What have you found easy? o What have you found difficult? o How can you resolve those difficulties? o Who can help you?
Peers? Tutor? o What goals do you have for studying in the next 2 or 3 days? • Reflect on your research skills progress. Identify any new resources you must use/would like to use, if you have time • Set yourself new learning goals and review your progress towards your current learning goals Reviewing your learning |What significant learning issues did I |Why were they important? |Later reflection (a day, a week, a month later) | |engage with today? |What have I learnt about myself and |How has my learning on these issues progressed? | |others? | | | |What actions, if any, do I need to take? | | | | | | |I completed the VARK questionnaire and |If I use specific techniques for |Two months later… | |realised that I am primarily a visual and|recording key points, e. g. flow charts |The audio recording has been incredibly useful, I | |aural learner |and recording my ideas onto my MP3 |find that by playing it as I drive, and when I | | |player, this should help me to be much |have quiet study times, I am remembering much more| | |more effective in my time management |detail and I am sure this will be the main way | | | |that I revise from now onwards | | | |The flow charts are very helpful for me to clarify| | | |links between topics…a sort of concept mapping | | | |that I have developed myself. They have been | | | |indispensable for preparation of reports and | | | |essays. They also make it very clear when I don’t | | | |totally understand topics, so I can ensure that I | | | |put more time into specific points.
My marks are | | | |improving and I now get feedback that my written | | | |work has a more effective structure. I feel much | | | |more confident that I know what I am doing | Mind mapping A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organisation, problem solving, and decision making. It is an image-centered diagram that represents semantic or other connections between portions of information.
By presenting these connections in a radial, non-linear graphical manner, it encourages a brainstorming approach to any given organisational task, eliminating the hurdle of initially establishing an intrinsically appropriate or relevant conceptual framework to work within. A mind map is similar to a semantic network or cognitive map but there are no formal restrictions on the kinds of links used. The elements are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts and they are organised into groupings, branches, or areas. The uniform graphic formulation of the semantic structure of information on the method of gathering knowledge, may aid recall of existing memories. Mind map guidelines [pic] Mind map of mind map guidelines Tony Buzan (1991) suggests using the following foundation structures for Mind Mapping: 1.
Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colours. 2. Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your Mind Map. 3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters. 4. Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line. 5. The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. 6. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre. 7. Make the lines the same length as the word/image. 8. Use colours – your own code – throughout the Mind Map. 9. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping. 10. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map. 11.
Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches Available from Anon (2009) Mind Map. Wikipedia. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Mind_mapping (Accessed 8th Sept. 2009) Other useful links and references Buzan, T. (1991). The mind map book . New York: Penguin. Calder, A. ( 2004) Mind Mapping. Academic Support Division of James Cook University. http://www. jcu. edu. au/office/tld/learningskills/mindmap/ (Accessed 8th Sept. 2009) Boyley, S. (2009) Learning Skills: Mind Map. International NLP Training Seminar. The Performance Institute of NLP. http://www. nlpmind. com/mind_mapping. htm (Accessed 8th Sept. 2009) Further help
If you are still unsure of what you should be recording, consider these questions: What is working well? Which aspects of the study materials are very clear? Where do I feel confident? What is not working well? What is currently confusing me? Why am I finding this difficult? What actions do I need to take (and why)? Who can help me? Another approach is to use a double entry system. This is where you record your key activities, followed by recording your initial reflections (perhaps using the questions listed above). At some later stage, read or listen to your initial reflections and identify any further reactions you have to those reflections. Discuss with your peers or supervisor how they record their ideas and reflections.