I could really relate to David Domke’s Inside Higher Ed article today about time management. He talks about importance and urgency and how the urgent things seem to crowd out the less urgent things, even if they are both equally important. He talks about scheduling time for these less-urgent things so we don’t lose sight of them completely. And then he makes the observation that has worked for me:
Do different things on different days of the week.
Simple, huh? Well, it works!
Last semester I taught all five days of the week. (The schedule was set when I arrived on campus!) In and around that I had to find time for my ESL Director responsibilities. It seemed like they never got done because I was so busy teaching and doing all the associated work. I got done what I needed to, but I it always seemed to be rushed and under pressure.
This semester I am teaching Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes. I dedicate Tuesdays and Thursdays to the director part of my job. And it has made all the difference in the world. I feel so much better about what I am doing. I think I am more productive, too. Of course, I will sometimes look at student papers on those days, but I do it knowing I am stealing the time from what I should be doing.
If, like me, you have some parts of your professional life that seem to never get the time and attention they deserve, you might try this. You may not be able to control your teaching schedule, but there has to be some time in your day that you can set aside for those other activities. It isn’t perfect, of course, but it has really made a big difference for me this semester.