Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wasting Time

timeIn 5 Ways You Waste Time and How to Stop by Laurie Gerber, she talks about different ways people waste time and I found it interesting that I don’t do too many of them. I do have trouble asking for help though.

This made me think about my students and how they waste time. I have been known to tell them to stop wasting time. But do they understand what they are doing and why they should stop? Even if they know what they are doing wrong, do they know how to change their behavior? Too many times I have told them to stop their current behavior but I don’t give them ways to change what they are doing.

I have had students who are quite creative and find ways to avoid doing their work. If they took all that time and energy they use in avoidance and applied it to actually working, they would get more things done.

For 2 days, I observed one of my students and wrote down all of the things he did to avoid completing his assignment. On the third day, I had him sit near me to do his assignment and he wasn’t allowed to do anything else until it was done. I kept track of the time it took to do the work which usually is about 30-40 minutes. On the fourth day, I met with him and showed him the things he did the first 2 days and then compared it to actually getting the work done. No one had every showed him this before and I could see the “light bulb” come on. I explained to him that the key word was “Procrastination.”

Now that we could identify his behavior, when I saw it begin, I would pull him aside. Then we would talk about the assignment and what troubled him. Talking about his concerns helped bring them out so we could get them out of the way. When he felt better about dealing with his concerns, he was able to start and complete his assignment.

Sometimes I waste time because I am just not in the mood to do a particular thing. In the morning, I jot down some things that need to be done and then I do them in certain order. Some days I do the most important first. But if there is no set priority, I try to do the thing I dread first and get it out of the way.

I try to get my students to make a list of the assignments that they need to do. Then I help them choose the order. By giving them some control over their actions, students seem to respond more positively to the assignments and complete them faster.

I take a break between assignments. By planning a set break (5 or 10 minutes); this keeps me from getting sidetracked from what I need to do. Once my break is over, I continue on with the list. I try to encourage my students to do the same. When they turn in one thing, I give them a 5 minute break. When it is over, I let them know it is time to get back to work.

I also like to reward myself with something when I accomplish my list. I love knitting and spinning so I use them as a reward. I try to give my students encouragement when they are able to cross off everything from their list. This might be a library pass or computer time.

How do you waste time and how do you overcome this behavior? Please share.

Image: 'Me In Time'

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