Time management and social networking

I heard about a study out of Harrisburg University on the radio while driving to work today, which said that students were less stressed and got more work done when they gave up social networking sites for a week.  I have to say that I’m not really that surprised that this happens given the number of friends people have and the amount of time it takes to read news feeds.  However, I think this points to a larger problem that I’m not sure we are addressing, time management.  We ultimately are responsible for how we spend our time, whether it be on Facebook or paying attention in a lecture, but how are we really prepared for managing our time?  Is this something we are prepared for in school or is this just something we either pick up or don’t?  I’d wager to bet it is a little bit of both, but how much responsibility is there on schools to provide this to our students before they graduate from high school?  How do we model time management in K-12 schools, or a better question might be are we really modeling time management skills if we fail to provide learning environments that are student-centered?  I think the answer is that we don’t.  Teacher-centered classrooms can provide the opportunity for some time management teachable moments, but students rarely get to experience how difficult it is to manage a number of different tasks when the instructor is orchestrating everything for the class.

We seem to be missing an opportunity to teach our students a very useful skill they will need throughout the rest of their lives.  So as we enter the end of the semester in schools throughout the US, maybe take some time over winter break to think about how you can provide the opportunity for your students to experience time management in your courses.  Find a way to model this behavior in your courses and the opportunity for your students to develop this important skill.

Here is an article about the experiment: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B963020101210

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2 thoughts on “Time management and social networking

  1. Brilliant posting! Thanks for reminding me to question the ways in which we waste our time. Since turning 50 a short while ago, this is an even more valuable lesson. And yet: I still blog. And yet: I get to read intelligent blogs like yours.

    http://bit.ly/b5dU8k

    • What I think is key when it comes to time management is the perspective with which we view something as worthy of our time. Individually we get to determine what we think is important and worth our time investment, but I think it is useful at times to take a break to gain perspective of the big picture. Is spending time on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc., worth sacrificing time that could be spent on other activities? For me, and I assume you to an extent, it is, but for someone else it may not. However, at the same time we need to be cautious of how much time we spend on any given item. I try to schedule time when I will be unplugged from the rest of the world, similar to what the study I talked about did in their experiment. This way I don’t lose sight of the really important things, like my family, friends and other things in my life. Time management is really a great balancing act where we try to juggle all the things we think are important, and too often the things that aren’t important. Taking time to step back and see the big picture allows, at least me, to reframe what I want to do with my life.

      This reminds me of a post I wrote on Randy Pausch and what he said in his Last Lecture about the things that are important and the things that need to be done right away. Do the things that matter and forget the rest. If they aren’t important to you, then why waste your time.

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