What advice can you offer for better time management?

“I’m a college professor. As you might be aware, college teaching is a little different from other professions. What advice can you offer for better organization, time management, and the like?”

Jeffrey P.
Birmingham, AL

Dear Jeff,

I used to be a college teacher, so I know what you mean. As a professor, you have the following types of work:

• Preparing your classes
• Teaching your classes
• Giving tests
• Grading tests
• Meeting with students
• Meeting with faculty/administration
• Furthering your own research and writing

Of these seven activities, you have to decide which is the most important to you. If you want to get to the top of your field, it will probably be the research and writing. This falls into the important-but-not-urgent category of your planning process. Thus, that is what you must give your greatest attention.

I like to do my top-priority tasks first thing in the morning. That way, I do them when I have lots of energy, and they don’t get crowded out of my schedule by less important but “more urgent” items. If your schedule permits, I would recommend you do this. Devote at least an hour a day – preferably two – to your research and writing.

Aside from that, you should spend some of your priority time networking with key people in your field. Everything you need to do in this regard has been explained in past issues of ETR. It also will be covered in a new book ETR is publishing at the end of the year titled How to Master Plan Your New Life.

The rest of your schedule should be organized around your classes. Limit the amount of time you spend at faculty meetings and with students. You don’t want other people to dictate your time. You want to be captain of your fate.

– Michael Masterson

[Ed. Note: As a special thank you to our best customers, Michael has started a new VIP service in which he gives insider business-building advice usually reserved for his private clients – a twice-weekly newsletter called Ready Fire Aim: The Michael Masterson Dispatch. If you have bought an ETR product or attended a conference and are not receiving Ready Fire Aim, please let us know by sending an e-mail to Michael@ETRfeedback.com.]

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