master of my time

At the end of this week, a statement you might be able to include in your mental outlook is, “I am a master of my time.” The assignment due this week will involve assessing your current challenges to effective time management, developing a clear understanding of these challenges, and establishing a plan for improving your time management skills. Your completed assignment will be a critical reflection paper based on the 5C’s approach to problem solving that you were introduced to in the Week 2 assignment.

· To begin your assignment, please go to pages 132–133 and complete the assessment found in Activity 5: How Am I Doing with Time Management? (Chapter 5).

· Once you have completed the assessment, engage the 5C’s questions under the section titled Results. Your answers to these questions will form the foundation of your reflection paper.

· Write your reflection paper in the Microsoft Word APA Template (Links to an external site.) that accompanies this assignment.

· Your final paper should include at least two fully developed paragraphs for each section in the template, including the introduction and conclusion.

· Once you have completed your paper, submit it.

Please refer to the grading rubric below to understand how this assignment will be graded.


Graded Item Description Good/Fair/Poor/Incomplete
Assessing Time Management The completed assignment is a well-developed critical reflection. It includes a discussion of each of the 5C’s questions related to time management; responses to the 5C’s questions reflect completion of and evaluation of responses to the time management assessment; and responses to each section are at least two full paragraphs and demonstrate critical thinking.

Successful responses will address all aspects of the prompt, be well organized, and include detailed examples and references to course materials to support reflection.

Writing, Mechanics, and Grammar Paragraphs are focused and flow from idea to idea. The completed assignment is not a collection of random thoughts.

Writing is clear. Student has elaborated on the insights gained and used examples to provide further clarity.

Writing is correct. Any errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar do not interfere with meaning.

Total Points Earned    
Total Points Possible   150

Module 5.5Achieving Balance

How can I avoid feeling overextended?

You’re doing it all: full-time student, part-time employee, team player in intramural sports, scholarship student, web designer for a campus organization, and member of the debate team. How do you do it all?

You’re doing it all, too: full-time student, full-time parent, part-time employee, member of the National Guard, scholarship student, Spanish Club treasurer, and member of a student government committee. How do you manage everything?

So, how are you doing? Most students feel overwhelmed by the number of roles they hold. The truth is, you may not be able to do it all and do it well. At some point, you must reassess your priorities. Your goal is to achieve balance, not lose your balance!

Unrealistic expectations may add to your situation. Perhaps you plan to complete your associate’s degree and transfer to a four-year college. Maybe you are starting at a four-year college or university. Your goal is to finish your coursework in four years and graduate with a 4.0 average. If you are a traditional freshman student who begins college at age 17 or 18, this means that you will finish at age 21 or 22. And then what? You get to work for the rest of your life! If you work until you’re 65, this means you will work for the next 43 or 44 years. It may be better to take an extra semester and do well in your classes.

Adding college to an already busy life can be overwhelming.

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If you are a nontraditional student, you may feel compelled to complete your courses quickly in order to make up for lost time in your next career. You may feel that you need to take the maximum number of hours. Perhaps you see the suggested course loads in your college catalog as written in stone. For instance, suppose you are working toward an associate’s degree in nursing. The catalog suggests that you take 17–18 course hours each term. But catalog suggestions are merely that—suggestions. Students who are financially independent and who have no responsibilities beyond academic ones might consider such heavy course loads. In truth, few students take more than 15 hours per semester. That’s because there is more to getting an education than just taking courses. You owe it to yourself to take full advantage of the college experience.

Keep in mind, too, that some academic goals (for instance, transferring to a four-year college, admission to programs with limited enrollments, graduate school, and so on) require a show of academic excellence. If you schedule too many classes, you cannot make the grades you need to accomplish your longer-term goals. While grades are important, many employers prefer to see a prospective employee that can handle a variety of tasks in addition to academic pursuits.Page 130

Values also play a key role in achieving balance. If what you do as a student conflicts with what you believe is important in life, you will not feel fulfilled no matter how well you do academically. For instance, you might value academic achievement and family. But doing well as a full-time student takes too much time from your role as a parent. Taking fewer courses at a time might take you longer to graduate but allow you to both raise a family and complete a degree in a way that is a better fit with your values. Or perhaps you like to be involved in campus or civic organizations. You value what you learn as a result but find that your grades are suffering. Again you could choose to take fewer classes in order to serve in organizations and make the grades you want. In both cases, your choice might take you another year or so to complete your degree. If you are a nontraditionally aged student, the trade-off is a decision you will need to make with your life goals in mind.

Have you ever worked on a project when the time seems to move with the speed of a snail? Or have you worked on one where the time flew like a bird? The difference between the two probably has to do with the interest, energy, and enthusiasm you had for the subjects you were working on? Or, it could be the result of when you were working on the project, how you felt at that particular time. When you connect to your natural energy rhythms and the tasks, routines, and topics that interest and energize you, productivity and satisfaction also increase.

Here’s how to get a better handle on managing your energy and getting balance in your life.

1. Prioritize and put your list of priority items where you’ll see it.

There are three fundamental priorities:

· Your physical health.

· Your relationship with your friends, family, and support system.

· Your school- or career-centered activities.

How you prioritize each of these depends on what you need to get done, which has the highest priority in a given time. After you determine that, you can then break it down into smaller categories: this year’s priorities, the season’s priorities, the month’s priorities, the week’s priorities, and—finally—your day’s priorities. Next, put your list of priority items in an unavoidable place. That means put it somewhere you cannot avoid seeing it. It can be a paper-and-pen list, a smartphone app, or whatever works best for you.

2. Know and use peak time.

You probably already know when you do your best work. It might be in the early morning, midday, or even late at night. If you don’t know, track your motivation daily for a week and see when you have the most energy. After you identify your peak time, use that time to focus on the work that requires the most of you. Take advantage of high-energy times by either focusing on important, creative work that requires you be at your sharpest, or using that time to knock out those tasks you hate doing.Page 131

3. Take breaks.

It may sound counterintuitive to say you need to take breaks when time is short. But, it is not. A short break will re-energize you and leave you ready to tackle work again. To best utilize these breaks, you need to determine what recharges your batteries. Do you need to talk to people? Do you need to grab some quick exercise, maybe a walk? Do you need time by yourself to meditate? Whatever it is, build it into your schedule.

4. Be brave and say “no.”

Think of the directions given on an airplane that says you must put your oxygen mask on before helping anyone else. You need to take care of you. It is just fine to protect yourself by saying “no” to the things you do not have time to do.

5. Know and use tools.

Each chapter of this book has a Hacks and Apps box that details tools you can use to be successful. Try the ones that appeal to you and add the ones that work for you into your toolbox.

6. Use The Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo (, uses a timer, a sheet of paper, and a pencil. First, create a prioritized list of the tasks you want to get done. Second, set your timer for 25 minutes. Third, spend the entire 25 minutes focusing solely on your list of tasks. Fourth, when the timer rings, check what you have accomplished and reward yourself with a five-minute break. If the task takes longer than 25 minutes, then keep a tally of every 25-minute work session you do until the task is finished. This will help you track and process how long things take.

7. Reward yourself.

Once you have accomplished your task, reward yourself with something small. This increases your energy and mind growth to take on the next new challenge.

Thus, whatever your academic goals, view them in terms of your life goals (see Chapter 4) and values (see Chapter 3). Choose to take the time you need to get the experiences and education that will take you closer to the goals you set while maintaining the life you want to lead.Page 132

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