Sunday, November 23, 2008

Practical tips to manage your time better

Teachers need to manage their activities better. Practical tips to make teachers perform effectively at school.

This is actually a misnomer. You don’t manage time, you only manage your activities. Time is fixed. There are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. You can’t change that, can you?

One has to organize one’s activities, schedule the priorities and execute t hem. This way one can be effective, to say the least.

Time management theory has evolved over hundreds of years. The earliest beings went by the sun and the shadows. It looks thousands of years to arrive at a scientific concept of time. The first generation of time management led to notes and checklists. Whatever was needed to be done, or avoided, was written down on bits of paper. This led to a bit of control over our time. Each time someone finished a task, it would be struck off from the list. And of course there was a little thrill of accomplishment in that. But this was on a very short term basis.

The second generation theory led to diaries, appointment books, to do lists and calculators. This helped plan for the next day. The immediate future was brought within control. The subsequent generation resulted in a lot of thoughtful planning, scheduling, prioritizing, comparing relative values of two tasks, goal-setting and short and long-term achievements. While this lead to greater effectiveness, it has its disadvantages. This leaves nothing to spontaneity. It didn’t account for the unexpected, the momentary and the unscheduled. It talked about immediate crisis, need of the hour and priorities.

Instead of being conditioned by time, fourth generation ideas focused greatly on long term goals building relationships of lasting values, planning for the future, recognizing opportunities recreation and the like.
This module allows us to transform our personality, spend time, planning, organizing and prioritizing. If you don’t take time to plan, you’re planning to fail. It also pushed us to set and achieve goals in a reasonable time frame you learn to do the right thing, instead of focusing on doing things right. Further, it allows time for distractions, interruptions and helps use the best time for your priorities. 80% of the reward comes from 20% of the work (Pareto Principle) so we learn to prioritize and do that 20% work which will fetch us 80% reward.

Let us take your total active time per day and fit it in a time management matrix to identify where we need to concentrate to succeed.
1. Prayer Assembly
2. Teaching
3. Break
4. Getting child ready to school
5. Breakfast
6. Traffic Enroute
7. Counselling
8. Reading good books
9. Gossip
10. Dinner/TV
11. Relaxing
12. Guests
13. Time with husband/wife
14. Attending telephone walls

4 6 I
1 7
3 8 II
11 11
13 III
9 1V

The first quadrant activities are all important and urgent. It can’t be postponed. Teaching, getting child ready to school and encountering traffic whether by bus or two wheeler – well, they have to be done immediately.
The third quadrant deals with the unimportant but urgent tasks. Attending to guests, husband and telephone calls. Attending to guests, husband and telephone calls. Can’t say ‘no’ to them. The last quadrant is neither important nor urgent.

The II quadrant is actually the most important if we have to be effective, be successful and happy in life. Unfortunately, quadrant activities are the lowest on our priority. Building relationship of lasting value, strengthening our character, helping others and entertaining ourselves and the family all leave lasting impact on our physical and emotional lives. But, we seldom care.

If only we schedule priorities better, do more quadrant IV activities, we will be a different person tomorrow.