March 17, 2005

My Time Management

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/cll/skills/personalacaddevelopment/timemanagement/

How I spend my time:

I presently spend:

9 hours, 0 minutes sleeping
2 hours, 0 minutes eating or cooking
0 hours, 30 minutes on your personal life
0 hours, 30 minutes travelling
5 hours, 0 minutes in lectures or seminars
3 hours, 0 minutes studying
2 hours, 0 minutes doing paid work
1 hours, 30 minutes using the internet and blogging
0 hours, 30 minutes exercising and relaxing
0 hours, 0 minutes null
I ideally would like to spend:

8 hours, 0 minutes sleeping
1 hours, 30 minutes eating or cooking
0 hours, 30 minutes on your personal life
0 hours, 30 minutes travelling
5 hours, 0 minutes in lectures or seminars
5 hours, 0 minutes studying
2 hours, 0 minutes doing paid work
0 hours, 30 minutes using the internet and blogging
1 hours, 0 minutes exercising and relaxing
0 hours, 0 minutes null

How I could improve my time management:

I am not the greatest fan of time management. It has never been my strength and I only use it when it is absolutely necessary such as in a case where i have assignment deadlines clashing where I have no choice but to stick to time management strategies. I am certainly not the weekly planning guy. Most of the time I engage myself ad-hoc without much planning. But i know one thing for sure. Before i start a job things need to change a great deal.

So how am i going to change? From the suggested strategies in the Time management activity, I believe four strategies are crucial in effective time management.

Firstly, I would need to sit down and think on the questions such as, What do i want to be in 5–6 years time?, What is required for me to get there? etc. I understand the importance of having clear objectives to guide me through. I also realise the long term strategic direction should essentially form my time management strategy. I would need to schedule my time on a weekly basis. This is especially the case if I have to study for a professional qualification while working as it demands a lot of organisation which i have not done in the past. I would need to continuously review my long term goals and schedule my weekly activities. If necessary I may need to alter my long term goals after sometime in order to aim at a realistically possible target.

Additionally, I would need to prioritise my activities for the week. I would not be surprised especially during the early days where i would end up being unable to achieve all objectives set out for the week. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that i prioritise activities so that I get the most important things done in order to realise my long term goals.

The next strategies i would need to implement are working on the move and saying 'no'. It is quite possible that in the early days i would require to allocate a significant time for travelling. If i could use this time productively, i would not need to stress myself too much in crunch situations. Furthermore, I would need to get out of the 'nice guy' image I have developed since coming to university. I find it extremely difficult to say 'no' and I believe if i dont rectify this, I am going to waste a lot of time helping others.

Therefore, to sum it up my time management strategy would evolve around formulating clear long term goals, weekly plans which highlights my priorities, productivity while on the move and saying 'no'. It is going to be a challenge, but i am not the person to shy away from such matters.


Commentary on my blog entry titled 'My learning style'

Two months after my blog entry I am reviewing how well it identified reflective practice and issues such as learning from experience. Another so called 'self-assessment' exercise which hopefully will help me to gain productive results from my learning. This exercise is mainly based on the commentary produced at the end of 'the presentation' class activity conducted in the WSC CM1 workshop.

When i look back on this entry I feel there are some features of reflective practice that emerge quite strongly. I believe that the entry recognises how prior experiences and thought processes resulted in a miserable and below par first year experience in university. Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest that the author has learnt from others experience and developed an own framework in internalising these experiences. Additionally, the writer has stood back from the experience and made this reflective entry.

However, looking back in retrospect I feel the entry has been very weak in some features of reflective practice. The entry does not take others opinions into account and is written from my own perspective. Additionally, the entry fails to mention how the transition happened and what was done to make the second year experience much better than the first. The absence of this clearly affects how future learning through experience coud be achieved as as no reference is made. Furthermore, the absence of an internal dialogue where different views of my own experience are explored is a major flaw in this entry.

Based on this evaluation i feel that the reflective entry on my learning style was not very good. Specifically, i would classify it in the lines of how the reflective account B was written which shows some reflection. Based on this self-assessment I believe I would need to work on the major flaws mentioned above in order to gain a better learning experience and also effective reflective practice.


January 24, 2005

My Decision

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/cll/skills/personalacaddevelopment/decisionmaking/

Aim of the Decision Making activity
  • To show how to analyse a decision by weighing up the pros and cons.

This Decision Making activity was devised by Warwick Skills

More Decision Making Web links...

Not so long ago I decided that I am not going to be too hasty about making a career decision. I did not want to follow the investment banking bandwagon which many of my undergraduate friends took into as I felt a hasty decision will result in an unstable future involving frequent career shifts. I decided to do CM5 Career management hoping that it will give me a road map of what I really want to do.

After some initial reflections I thought to myself, "what about a career in teaching?" I decided to use the force field analysis to weigh up how attractive this option could be. Quite amazingly I was able to get an initial perspective on my decision very quickly and I beleive the adding of numerical values into this speeded up the process to a great extent. The analysis recommended me to do take up a career in teaching although it was a very close call. I certainly thought I would have taken the decision anyway, but it would have been much slower had it not been for the force field analysis. The breaking down of pros and cons provided a useful framework to build my thinking and it provided me with some basis to support my decision. However, I am not too certain about the accuracy of the figures quite simply because I would have been slightly biased towards the favourable side since I was going to make the decision anyway. But the close result was more than what I expected and I do believe I made the correct call.

If i don't get into teaching I am more likely to get into a front end job in a commercial environment. I like to deal with humans rather than mind-blabbing numbers on a spreadsheet!!! That is my contingency plan if teaching doesn't work out!!


January 16, 2005

My Learning Style

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/cll/skills/personalacaddevelopment/learningstyles/

Aim of the Learning Styles activity
  • To enable you to understand your own approach to learning better
  • To adapt your learning strategy to be most effective during your time as a student at Warwick.

Result:
  • I had a moderate preference for being an Activist

  • I had a strong preference for being a Reflector

  • I had a moderate preference for being a Theorist

  • I had a strong preference for being a Pragmatist

My strongest preference was found to be: Reflector (76%)

This Learning Styles activity was devised by Warwick Skills

More Learning Styles Web links...

I thought the learning style questionairre was an excellent exercise that helped me to identify my preferred learning styles, but more importantly it highlighted the aspects that i need to work on in order to improve my learning experiences. As a third year student when I look back at this activity I feel that if I undertook this exercise in my first year the results would have revealed a different picture. Currently, the questionairre reveals that I have strong preferences for being a reflector and a pragmatist while moderate preferences are seen for theorist and activist with the latter taking a significantly lower value than the other three styles( Activ : 44, Reflect : 76, Theorist : 67, Pragmatist :67) However, I feel that as i came to university I would have had strong preferences to reflector and theorist while having extremely low value for activist and a moderate value for pragmatist.

When i first came to campus 2 1/2 years ago I was very laid back and was very used to taking back seats at discussions partly because I had a very shy personality as I felt my suggestions would be considered as laughing stock. Therefore, I used to observe a lot from behind the scenes and learn from others' experience and build my own mental representation and make sense of what really happened and how I could have contributed better in discussions. I had been doing this since my early teens and I was very cautious in my appraoch and very often I used to consider the big picture before making decisions, making me a slow decision maker.

My first year in university was absoultely awful. I felt that I just couldn't keep up with the hectic pace of university work as I battled to adapt myself to a culture shock and a challenging degree course. However, I felt that inherent weaknesses in my learning style were acting as a barrier to my progress. I felt that I got easily distracted from doing assignment ending bluffing a lot. I also felt that i wanted way too much information to write essays and was very overcautious. I also felt that the university pace was too much for my liking and therefore I just couldnt get myself round in the first year. I felt that I was resisting to accept reality.

However, since then I have realised it is important to take a more pragmatic view of life. I have tried to put theories into practice and very often i feel that I come out of lectures having new ideas that I would like to implement in practice. This has helped me to find better information from relevant sources minimising browsing time, getting things done on time.

Additionally, a lot of group based assignments have helped me to develop a more activist side to my learning. I feel that I have used my teamworking experiences dervied from actively being involved in sports to develop this mode of learning.However, I admit that I still dont take the upper hand or chair meetings with groups.

I feel that i have developed a better approach to learning since coming to university. However I feel that I need to develop a little bit more from the activist side and I believe by developing self-confidence I can progress in this mode of learning.

I feel that the questionairre has helped me to make sense of what my past appraoches were, its weaknesses and it has also given me a sound base to devise strategies to improve on weaker areas in the learning cycle.


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