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Time Management for Researchers Session 1 Judith Shawcross

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1 Time Management for Researchers Session 1 Judith Shawcross

2 Course Aims By the end of this course you will be able to……. apply tools & techniques to manage YOUR time effectively recognise common issues and problems and know how to overcome them know how YOU can improve in this area

3 Course Structure Session 1: Understanding time management, time perspectives, different types of activities and diagnostic tools Session 2: Identifying your time management issues, prioritising activities and the rules of planning and organising. Session 3: Changing time management habits and applying effective time management practice Homework The Challenge Pre-work

4 Making the course work for you Be on time & attend every session Participate in whole class and group discussions Undertaking individual exercises both in class and between sessions Find a time management buddy or buddies Have fun Invest time in making a time management system work for you

5 Time Management – The Facts! It’s not simple There are no “one size fits all” solutions - you have to find the recipe that works for you from a menu of tools and techniques. There are some key questions....by asking these questions it will help you find your answer? It’s a skill for life – ongoing review and maintenance essential Effective time management will help you be successful

6 Today’s Agenda Introduction Introducing Each Other Exploring time management Benefits of better time management Different types of activity Dealing with Diagnostic tools Please feel free to ask questions at any time.

7 Introductions First name Current role Department where you are based Length of experience as a researcher What is the most important benefit you want to get from this course? What do you think is your biggest time management issue?

8 Time and Success Being successful doesn’t make you manage your time well.

9 Time Management What does it mean for you? Getting organised Protecting your time Setting clear goals and plans Prioritising Beating bad time habits Doing two or more things at once Going with the flow Getting the research done before the funding runs out Still having weekends and evenings for fun!

10 Time – Can it be managed? Time stops for no-one – it is an unmanageable continuous resource You cannot borrow time You cannot hoard time You cannot work and earn more of it You do get the choice of how you use time. What you achieve during a certain time is a direct measure of how wisely you invest it. You can only invest your time once!

11 Time Management - a definition The management of our own activities, to make sure that they are accomplished within the available or allocated time

12 Effective Self Management undertaking tasks, activities and responsibilities that provide a high return for you and your department investing time doing the right thing, in an effective and efficient way at the right time and for the right length of time.

13 Effective Self Managers………. Concentrate on high return activities Exercise self discipline - stay focussed on a task until complete Plan their work Get started Strive for results ……..not perfection Stay positive ……solve problems Consistently strive to improve

14 To stay effective – ask the following… 1.Am I doing the right activities? 2.Am I doing them at the right time? 3.Am I spending the right length time on them? 4.Am I doing these activities in an effective and efficient way? If the answer is no to any of the above then ask Why? What is stopping me doing the above?

15 Who controls / influences what you do? Principal Investigator Other Academic or Research Staff PhD candidates Departmental / Group Administrator College Friends Partner / Family Pets You Other

16 Who/what influences what you do - by how much and how frequently? High (Daily) Medium (Weekly) Low (Monthly +) LowMediumHigh Influence Frequency

17 Who is the CEO of your time?

18 Your perspectives on time will also influence your behaviour.

19 A Series of Time Paradoxes Paradox 1 Time is one of the most powerful influences on our thoughts, feelings, and actions, yet we are usually totally unaware of the effect of time in our lives. Paradox 2 Each specific attitude toward time—or time perspective—is associated with numerous benefits, yet in excess each is associated with even greater costs. Paradox 3 Individual attitudes toward time are learned through personal experience, yet collectively attitudes toward time influence national destinies.

20 Time Perspectives - Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) Past Negative –Relive painful past experiences, wish they had done different things Past Positive –Take pleasure from the past, positive attitudes to the past Present-fatalistic –What will be will be.. It doesn’t matter what I do Present-hedonistic –Impulsive, party animal, live life for today Future Time Perspective –Planners, Set goals, To do lists & Transcendental Future Perspective (TTPI) –Religious type beliefs, death not being the end etc...

21

22 Break

23 Different types of activities Answering the phone Solving an immediate problem Responding to e.g. survey Writing up a research interview / lab results Reading journal articles

24 Differentiating activities in terms of Importance vs. Urgency Eisenhower Principle: What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. Eisenhower Matrix or Urgent vs. Important Matrix Introduced by Dr Stephen Covey

25 Urgent vs. Importance Matrix High Return Activities Critical Activities Distractions Interruptions Urgency LowHigh Low High Importance

26 Important Activities High Return Activities Those activities that will enable you to achieve your goals Schedule uninterrupted time to achieve them As important as meetings with your PI Critical Activities Those you have left to the last minute Those that you could not foresee

27 Non important activities Interruptions Hide Ask people to make an appointment Distractions Avoid if you can Turn them off Set aside time to do these when you’ve finished your important task. These stop you achieving your goals and completing your work

28 Urgent vs. Importance Matrix High Return Activities Critical Activities Distractions Interruptions Urgency LowHigh Low High Importance

29 Dealing with – Best Practice Turn off visual and audio notifications Use your out of office notification Don’t let it manage you

30 Keeping the Inbox in check Check your regularly This should not be constantly – you need uninterrupted time to do work! Frequency and timing has to be appropriate for you and your work – 2 or 3 times a day should be adequate Allocate time to deal with Chose times when you have completed a high return activity or when your energy levels are low. Researchers can improve their productivity by 20% by not looking at their first thing in the morning. Vitae – The Balanced Researcher

31 Dealing with 1.Scan the headers - if it is not important/relevant - delete 2.Review the rest - either –Don’t respond – then file or delete e.g. Information s - transfer to a ‘to read’ folder - and allocate time to read them! –Forward to someone else to respond –Respond – then file or delete –Send a holding response – schedule a full response –Flag or move to an ‘action’ folder - if you don’t have time to deal with it immediately 3. Apply the “two minute rule” (David Allen) –if the will take less than two minutes to process (a quick read, and a short answer) then take care of it right now, even if it's not a high priority

32 Organisation – Some Options Have a simple set of folders and move any s you need to keep to them –E.g. Action, Read, Reference, Waiting, Archive –Eg. Project 1, Project 2, Project 3 etc. File all s that you need to keep in a “month” folder and use a search tool Set up rules to help you sort incoming mail into folders – great for those non-urgent messages

33 Reducing Encourage people to send you –Less –Short s – don’t get into debates – use the phone or go and see them –Promote effective practice in your section / department Unsubscribe from unwanted s Be careful who you give permission to send you s

34 Writing Effective 1 Use the title as the headline message –Please confirm your availability – Project X Meeting 1100 to 1200, 6 th December, Room 1 –For Information: Weekly project report –Always make sure headline is appropriate Keep it short – try for two sentences per reply - one or two paragraphs max One item per – particularly for unrelated issues or ones which require different types of reply

35 Writing Effective 2 Multiple items – use only if closely related -make sure each point is easy to identify Always be polite / use appropriate language Be very clear what action is required – if any Make sure all the details are given e.g. Meetings: date, start time, finish time, location Make sure all s have your contact details

36 Q1. Are you doing the right activities? What activities are the most important for you? What activities do I need to do for my research? What are your goals? Long-term, this year, this month, this week, today! Are they written down? Are they SMART? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to. Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

37 SMART Goals S = Specific What is to be achieved? M = MeasurableHow will I know when I’ve got there? A = AchievableIs this possible? R = RealisticHave I got the resources to achieve this? T = TimedWhen am I going to achieve this by?

38 A1. Define your goals and write them down Clearly define what you want to achieve Set your self goals – long term, yearly, monthly, weekly, daily Share your Research plan with your PI Monitor your progress against the plan Review and update plan regularly “PLANS ARE USELESS BUT PLANNING IS ESSENTIAL” US President Dwight Eisenhower

39 Tools & Techniques to be applied! 1.What are the goals for my research project, long term, medium term, short term? 2.What are my high return activities? 3.How am I spending my time?

40 GOALS To have my research published in Nature by July 2012 To co-author a book on carbon nano- tubes by April 2013 Milestones High Return Activities Long Term Short Term

41 How am I spending my time? Take a week (at least 3 days) and actually record how you spend your time in 15 minute chunks using the Activity Log provided or Toggl.com - Time Tracking Software System Activities could include: Reading Journal Articles, Responding to , Answering Telephone Calls, Planning and organising, Tea/Coffee Break, Writing Papers / Reports, Chatting with colleagues, Lunch, Facebook / Twitter, Build Test Rig, Conducting Interviews, Attending Seminars, Training & Development,Conducting Experiment, Exercise Analyse this carefully - what activities should you eliminate, reduce? - what activities do you need to do more of?

42 Effective Self Management undertaking tasks, activities and responsibilities that provide a high return for you and your department investing time doing the right thing, in an effective and efficient way at the right time and for the right length of time. Who is the CEO of your time? Urgent vs. Importance Matrix High Return Activities Critical Activities Distractions Interruptions Urgency LowHigh Low High Importance Define your goals and write them down

43 Managing your time is about working smarter not working harder. Thank you for listening What is the best use of my time right now? Don’t look at your first thing in the morning

44 Resources VITAEwww.vitae.ac.uk Previously UK GRAD Programme and UK Higher Education Researcher Development UKHERD Booklet: The Balanced Researcher The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey The Time Paradox, Using the new Psychology of Time to your advantage (Paperback) by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd, Rider Books, 2008 Why People Fail – The 16 Obstacles to Success and How You Can Overcome Them by Simon Reynolds, Jossey Bass 2012

45 Resources Mike Clayton, 2011, Brilliant Time Management, What most productive people know, do and say, Pearson Brian Tracy, 2004, Eat that Frog! Get more of the important things done, Today!, Mobius Jurgen Wolfe, 2010, Focus: Use the Power of Targetted Thinking to Get More Done, Prentice Hall Business Give Me Time, 2006, The Mind Gym, CIPD David Allen, 2001, Getting Things Done – How to achieve Stress-free Productivity, Piatkus Michael Heppell, 2011, How to Save an hour every day, Prentice Hall Life


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