February 3, 2005

Time Management

I just got off the phone with a client, and we went over several aspects of time management. These issues pop up repeatedly with faculty and graduate students alike.
She had been filling her to-do list with tasks to finish this week. As a result, she was working far too many hours and never feeling caught up. I suggested that she:
  1. Set generous deadlines for self-generated (as opposed to assigned) activities.
  2. Make a schedule for the week, where she assigned herself specific times for working on items, e.g. Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 to 2:00 work on committee agenda.
  3. See the deadlines as something that will change as she learns more about her tasks.
As with many academics, she was caught in the spiral of "I'm really good at this, so I should volunteer to do it and do the best job possible." What I say is, "just because you CAN do it, doesn't mean you SHOULD do it."

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