From the Editor: Time management skills are a blessing during midterms and online learning

(Kristen Frier)

The end of the fall semester is near, however, we can’t celebrate just yet. There are tight homework deadlines, midterms, and finals, so let’s prevent our time management focus from slipping away.

Virtual learning hasn’t been easy. Moodle seems to crash at least once a month. Some professors and students still struggle with using Big Blue Button. And by the end of October, we encounter a wave of assignments that seem to drown our soul.

Time management can reduce those 2:00 am late homework sessions while encouraging  healthier sleeping habits.

According to the Stress Management Society, poor time management can be a major contributor to personal stress. Some of the stress caused by poor time management include “irritability and mood swings, tiredness and fatigue, inability to focus or concentrate, mental block, memory lapses, forgetfulness, lack of or loss of sleep and at worst, withdrawal and depression.”

However, there are ways of surfing above the wave of assignments, like time management applications. They can help you to time block your day while creating to-do lists and planning weekly goals.

One of my favourite apps to use is Google Calendar. In there, I time block my day, which usually starts at around 8:00 a.m. I begin with a stretching session followed by a praying and meditation session and a quick breakfast. I try to keep this small morning ritual consistent before jumping to work or school.

I must note that there is a significant difference between having a to-do list versus time blocking. A to-do list consists of tasks that might not be in a specific order. On the other hand, time blocking is when you schedule what your day will look like, and each task has a specific start and end time.

Before knowing about Google Calendar, I used to go each year to the Calendar Club and picked out the cutest pug calendar. Now, many apps can replace paper calendars. However, they can’t replace the beautiful pictures of the pugs.

Some free time blocking applications include Plan for IOS and web, Weekly Plan for Windows, IOS, and Outlook Calendar. To-do lists can be made through One Note, Evernote, and even through a physical notebook.

I enjoy time blocking because it gives my day structure, but I must admit it isn’t always easy. Online learning has made it hard to focus when notifications pop up on my phone.

A study published in the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning titled ”A Mixed Blessing? Students’ and Instructors’ Perspectives about Off-Task Technology Use in the Academic Classroom,” surveyed 478 students and 36 instructors from the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

Forty-nine per cent of students felt that seeing screens in their classroom made them either “somewhat” or “very” distracted. And the “instructors perceived the off-task use of technology as especially problematic, both because it created distractions for other students and because it signified the students’ lack of self-control.”

It’s not easy having the biggest distraction known to our generation at my fingertips. As soon as those Instagram notifications light up my phone screen, I immediately reach and fall into an endless rabbit hole of pug and cooking videos.

Luckily, some applications can help with restricting screen time. AntiSocial is an application that enables your friends or family members to limit how much you spend on social media. And BreakFree monitors how much you spend on social media while also reducing screen time.

I am determined to follow my time block calendar, and even if I let my time management slither away, I’ll bring it back. But until then, I’m still going to buy a pug calendar just for decor.

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