Have you ever wondered how you can possibly have time to get everything done? This week’s Not So Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer discusses Time Management with one of our ESS advisers, Jane Paris. She goes over three tools that can help you get a grasp on what you have coming up during the semester and how to better plan your time around all your courses and activities.
- Semester-at-a-glance calendar
- An Exercise: Spending Your Weekly Time Budget
- Chart Your Academic Progress
SLC’s study strategies page: http://slc.berkeley.edu/study-
LAURA VOGT: Hi and welcome to The Not So Secret Guide To Being A Berkeley Engineer. And we’re here this week for a time management podcast. I know it’s something that I struggle with regularly to do time management and I’m excited that we brought Jane Paris one of our Engineering Student Services advisers.
JANE PARIS: Hi I’m Jane. I’m the adviser for civil engineering majors and industrial engineering majors in ESS and I’m excited to talk about time management and share some specific tools I have with you.
LV: Why did we want to talk about time management at this time of the semester. So maybe some folks are starting to realize that they don’t quite have a grasp of it, what’s our goal?
JP: Yeah well so we’re in week 5. So midterms are coming up, if not (already) happening maybe this week and the way time management ties into that which might be obvious to some of you but especially when I talk to seniors and I ask them to look back on their time here and say you know what really helped. And that’s just a common thread is getting my time management under control specifically for things like at this point in the semester when you’re thinking about midterms. So you’re not having to prepare in two days for the midterm you know really the kind of studying as you go along which is easy to say but sometimes harder to implement. So yeah I think just the alleviating one aspect of your stress is the way I feel time management is super useful.
LV: And you have three awesome documents here for us to start off with for the basics. Let’s start with your first one.
JP: Totally fired up about my documents. So if you’ve come into ESS you’ve probably seen these and specifically if you’ve come into my office. So the first one I got from the Student Learning Center which is in the Chavez Center and it’s called a semester at a glance calendar, and you might be thinking like I have plenty of calendars I know my calendaring system etc. But This one is different because the point of it is just to give you as it says in one glance to look at your whole semester and know when are the busiest times which you might kind of you know other calendaring systems it’s kind of like maybe you’re seeing the month. You know maybe you’re seeing just the week the day whatever. But what this is and you can go to our website and download it if you want. You could also just make your own on an eight and a half by 11. You know one one sheet of paper. It’s the whole semester starting with the first day which was January 16th and then going all the way through finals week. And then there’s just enough space for you to just mark when things are due. So my suggestion is always take this calendar. Mark all homework assignments all you know when problem sets are due for every class when any other type class you know, when papers or essays are due when your midterms are obviously, and then essentially the finals week is really important too. And also, though, think about any big activity outside the classroom that you need to plan for. So it might be like going home one weekend if you know you’re going to do that for your friend’s birthday or something, like that or maybe if you’re on one of the competition teams and you know that there’s a big event that weekend. Obviously sometimes that takes students by surprise. The time away from campus, and how that’s going to impact their usual study schedule so. So that’s kind of my biggest piece of advice is when you’re thinking about time management you have to think about the big picture which is your whole semester. I mean you could go bigger and think about your whole life. But let’s just keep it to the semester right now and its really knowing like oh OK after you put all that stuff in then you kind of see like a whole week eight is going to be super intense because I just see that there are like a ton of things marked off in week eight and that means you really have to start preparing for week eight. You know not in Week 7 but several weeks before that, and the payoff is like you’re just not as stressed when it comes around because I mean I do remember as a student, which I wasn’t very good at time management as a student, but I’m a grown up now and I’ve learned a lot. So anyway I remember that horrible feeling when you’re in that week like, let’s say you’re in the week 8 that I just described and you realize that you’re in that week. All the things that are due and then you start going oh my god. And then I have to I have to go home on Friday because I have to do this. And it just. Oh it’s horrible. So I don’t want you guys to feel that I want you to be a little more relaxed.
LV: So I like that you have it on just one page. One quick thing to look at. So maybe after the first week of school, at the beginning of semester you can get your syllabus that you did at the beginning. Yes. And sit down and plug it all in. And if you haven’t done it yet it’s still something very easy to pull out and fill it out.
JP: Exactly. Yeah that is what I hope that people do it at the very beginning this semester. It just as you said it’s not too late. Let’s just make sure the rest of your semester is visible to you. Your different stress points
LV: and just let everyone know we are going to have all this available for download. Welcomengineer.berkeley.edu under our episode 130 podcast And so let’s move to the second one that you’ve got for us. It’s a weekly time budget so we’re getting a little bit more gritty.
JP: Yes. OK. And what I call this so again so this is your week when you look at this you see that it’s like every day of your week from an all 24 hours so it’s a 24/7 count. Again you might say like I use school calendar, I map out my days I’m good. So this is not a calendar.
This is a time budgeting exercise. So you know there’s just like a few simple things to do. And then the goal is you get you like quantify your and visualize the hours that you have available to you in a week. And once you’ve put in the other things. So like for example the first step is now you’re going to go through and mark off the hours that you sleep, and I laugh because it’s like do I mean you really sleep or your goal I think kind of somewhere in between. What is your goal and what’s realistic like. Obviously people usually hopefully sleep in a little bit on the weekends. You know maybe go to bed later on weekend nights too.
So anyway you’re kind of marking that off and you’re also marking off eating, very important, and takes time, and it’s important to like kind of just give yourself that time, and then all class meetings, lectures, labs, discussions, seminars, you know ,basically any time that is set already in a schedule, and if you work, if you have a work study job, or whatever mark that off too, and then you’re going to add up all the hours that aren’t marked off, and you’re going to get this number, and then you’re going to subtract like seven hours, maybe, for commuting getting to and from your classes, if you think about how big this campus is, you’re probably spending more than an hour and a day getting to or from places.
And then when you have that number like that’s how much, I call it your weekly time budget, meaning how much time you have to spend on other things. This is important because you know how you know how involved our students are. Right. So all of the things that you have to fit in to this budget are as I’m sure you all know but just you know obviously studying and then any activities any of the student or any family obligations you might have any fitness goals you know personal goal. I mean there’s just a lot of things you want to do. And so I want you to do all those things and not be stressed out. So you need to know how much time does it take.
So that’s what it is it just kind of quantifying like how much time do I really have. And the other part of it that is super helpful is because for me for someone like me, like my personality type, when I look at this I’m like, that’s stressing me out but I’ve as I’ve worked with engineering students, I find that they really like having this kind of structure, and to just figure out like how much time do I have.
And the thing that’s very helpful is because then you see oh I do have time for just free time. Yeah I do have that time where I can just call it unstructured time. I know that’s really weird I’m structuring my unstructured time or whatever works you know. So yeah I think it can again alleviate some of your stress because it’s not this big mystery of like will I have time to do everything.
LV: And also gives you that idea that if there is something that somebody wants you to do one more thing on top of what you’re doing or if you had one more club that maybe you wanted to join. You can look at this and be like that’s really going to work. Do I have the time to put into that.
JP: Exactly. And in fact sometimes that’s when students come and talk to me and advising appointment, and I’m trying to figure out if I should do this join this club, or take this research opportunity, this kind of exercise is what I advise them to do. Well like let’s see what does your week already look like. And then could you add something and just as you said, the other piece that’s funny about this figuring out your weekly time budget is the part about how much time to devote to studying. Because you know we have this rule, rule is not the right word but guideline I guess where we say you know for every unit of coursework you have, You would spend three hours studying so if you’re in a four unit class you would spend 12 hours per week studying. And obviously this is going to vary from person to person, and from class to class but some classes actually need more than that you know. So that’s why I kind of think once you put in your work and sleep and eat, and class times, then that’s the thing you should think about next is like how much time do I want to spend on studying ,and then think about the clubs and the other things.
LV: I like this idea because it’s giving you time to also do self care. I put in the idea of OK I need to go to the gym and or go for a walk or have that moment. I love that idea that you did put that in there.
JP: Thank you. Yeah whatever self care means for you.
LV: Exactly. So and finally, this is our third one that we’re hearing. It’s called chart your academic practices.
JP: So what this is is you know we talked about, kind of, look at the semester overall and then figure out how many hours you have in a week and then what I was just saying was this piece about studying how much time you’re going to give per week to studying.
So what this tool that’s called chart your academic practices does is kind of give you a way to think about all the different ways you’re going to study in a week because it is a way for you to just like if you’ve ever had a fitness school of like you’re trying to get up to a certain amount of running whatever or any other kind of thing like that.
You note down how much am I doing per day and that helps you kind of reach a goal. That is that’s what this is about it’s saying for each of your classes and so it lists you know class 1 and you would write and you know math 53 or whatever class 2 physics 7A.
And then it goes week by week and encourages you to check off the different activities you’ve done that are associated with studying.
And the idea there is sometimes the whole like we’re like now we’re in week 5 and maybe this semester you were like I really want that, because I did talk to a lot of students like this, like I’m ready for this semester.. I want a higher GPA you know. And so obviously you have to do things differently than you did last semester or whatever that was for you. And so I’ll say okay well are you what are you going to do. Maybe it’s go to faculty office hours. Maybe that’s something you hadn’t done. Have you done that yet.
Like now here it is in week five and I haven’t actually started doing that. So this is kind of a way to monitor that. So you’ll see every week on this chart and then all these different activities that again, I call all of them are really, kind of, studying now, because studying is as it says on here everything that’s kind of a way you’re going to learn about the material, you know because the classroom is really just introducing you to the material, and then how you learn it is up to you.
So faculty offices, GSI office hours, study groups, tutoring, other things that students invent. You know so this is just kind of a way to keep track of that for each of your classes.
LV: I actually I really like this because it also keeps you honest with yourself. What did I do. What have I not done. Yes. You can’t fake where you’re at.
JP: Oh yeah. And it’s been fun. As I said I do use these on appointments sometimes. Let’s see I think during week three when I was meeting with students and they were talking about you know yeah I’m trying to do this differently this semester.
And we would go over this sheet and it was really fun for me.
I mean we’re kind of doing it like a little bit you know I’m laughing at myself because you guys are all adults right. So I’m not trying to keep track of you but it felt funny like that where I was like OK tell me, did you go to lecture three times this week. Check check check. You know did you go to a discussion check. And have you gone off or checked. But you know we were having the time of it, so I hope you know the students you guys listening will have a good time with it as well.
LV: I really like all three of these. I’m excited that we’re going to have them on the website so they’re available to everyone not just the students that we’re coming to see us, expanding what we’re doing.
JP: Oh yeah I want to do I want to just note I think I said already this semester at a glance was from the Student Learning Center. So they have some really good tools there. And in fact if you go on their website, and I think you’ll put on ours too, it’s just kind of a general overview of resources to use for studying, managing your studying. I love the Student Learning Center. They have a lot of good things. And then the 24/7 time budget is another thing I kind of modified from them.
So I think we use these in our center here at the CAEE.
LV: And we also have peer advisers and then those students, and they see really good and helping with time management so you’re not going to see an advisor right away. You can always stop by and talk to one of our peer advisers here from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.
JP: Yeah I do hear about the coolest tools from other students and I imagine if you go into our center or peer advisers just asking, especially the seniors like they’ve learned some really awesome stuff along the way. What was that one I gave you the other day?
LV: Oh Trello.
JP: Yeah that was the kind of system I had never seen. Another student told me about that. But yes I just I love to hear from the more experienced students the things they’ve found and make them successful so yeah I think that would be helpful for younger students to do as well.
LV: Is there anything else that we missed out there that we skipped that we wanted to talk about
JP: Well just I always feel like I should say when I’m talking about time management, all these superstructures things it kind of just stresses me out talking about it, because as I said that’s my personality type is a little different, but so just still kind of along those lines like part of Time management is just checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling about things and you know, and just noticing like yeah if you’re stressed about something, I kind of stop for a minute and think about OK what can I do to to relax right now or just noticing it is helpful. So you can kind of go from there. So I just always feel like I want to acknowledge how much stress our students have in their lives and how how we really want to support them in any way we can with that.
LV: And that’s actually a really good segue. So thank you Jane so much for coming this week and spending our podcast time with us. Next week we’re going to have Christine Zhou from the tang center
JP: I love Christine.
LV: I agree. So she’s coming in and giving us a little bit more some tips and strategies of how to make sure that you’re working that self-care into your schedule. So again thank you for tuning into the The Not So Secret Guide To Being A Berkeley Engineer. And Jane thank you for coming today.
JP: Thank you. Yes thank you students. And I look forward to seeing you often. And well.
LV: Talk to everyone later next week about self-care. Thank you.