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TM4T Background 0.4 - Time Management Topics

Time Management is a very broad topic, and not all aspects are rich in value for teachers. The following list of concepts and topics are not explicitly included in the TM4T method, but may be of interest to some teachers.

Action-Centred: the word 'action' here relates to events, tasks or activities - things that get done. Action-centred approaches to time management focus almost exclusively on these aspects, and claim to ensure that goals and deadlines are achieved. For simplicity, we use our Ticklists in a more general way, including ideas, issues and actions in one list.

African Time: this term was at one time used in a scornful way, but is now also used to comment on the simplistic and mechanical way in which most bureaucracies operate, and to warn against any cultural assumptions and value judgements in how we manage our time. Other terms (sometimes derogatory) are also used in different contexts.

Attention Management: many teachers are aware of the challenges faced by students with Attention Deficit Disorders. It is important to remember that these traits, and many others, affect adults too, to a greater, lesser, or marginal extent. Several of these aspects are covered in this website, but readers may be interested in concepts like information overload, short memory limits, social interaction overload, and personal information management (PIM).

Bureaucracy: This means “relating to the detail of administrative procedure” and we try not to use it in any critical or scornful sense. In common conversation it may be taken to imply 'an overemphasis on the detail of administrative procedures' and that can be seen in many schools: but that is not what we mean in this method.

Chronemics:this topic considers how time is regarded and used in different cultures (see African Time). Most of industry and commerce is carried out using a Monochronic or industrial model, and this is mirrored in educational and academic institutions.

Flow: this term is implicit in the 'XA' concept described elsewhere on the site - being focused totally on one task or type of task is a great aid to efficiency and effectiveness. Similar concepts occur in sport ('in the zone'), theatre ('grounded') and elsewhere ('wired in', 'on fire'). Understandably, there is a considerable body of writing on this topic.

Gantt Chart: a planning technique and diagram used in project management. This considers the sequence (dependencies) of tasks, the resources needed, and the shortest time in which a project can be achieved. This level of detail is rarely needed in teaching, but the basic techniques may be helpful.

Interruption Science: this topic is related to Flow (see above). If effectiveness is maximised by total focus, it is diminished by each interruption or disruption. In some situations (surgeon, air traffic control) this issue is critical. For teachers, it is less vital, but it is still important to have some quiet uninterrupted work time.

Time Perception: the fact is that humans are quite poor at judging time. A minute's silence seems a long time, while six week's summer holiday's fly over. Time perception varies between individuals and it is sometimes useful to be aware of your own sense of time urgency, and time perspective.


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