Five Time Management Tips for the Busy Faculty

Are you one of those who want to do research but find yourself too busy with your teaching tasks? Do you wish you can do more and improve your research performance? Here are five time management tips to help you out.

One of the four major functions of regular faculty members in the university is to do research. However, I always hear complaints among colleagues about their inability to deliver research outputs due to time constraints. There are just too many things to do with very little time to spare. For someone who has to prepare lessons for several subjects, writing a sensible research proposal for possible funding appears to be an impossible proposition.

How can you deliver despite these obstacles to your research writing engagement? I have found the following ways helpful which colleagues and anyone in the same plight may find handy:

1. Optimize.

Don’t work towards perfection. This doesn’t mean that you will write or do work haphazardly but set an acceptable standard that you can at least meet. It is better to do something than keep on griping that you can’t do anything other than teach.

2. Outline your planned composition.

Outlining before writing anything  can be a great motivator. Thirty minutes will be more than enough to prepare an outline.

I created a mind map to help anyone come up with a research proposal. Writing your proposal in chunks of activities at a given period can help you check your progress.

3. Use a pocket note.

Ideas crop up in your mind in the middle of the night or at unexpected times of the day. It’s difficult to capture these fleeting ideas unless you have a pocket note ready for this purpose. Keep one that is easily accessible in your pocket or stash in your handbag or waist bag.

busy person

I advise against using electronic storage such as an android phone, tablet, or similar gadget. It is easy to lose files and even the whole thing. When you do lose it, it becomes a distraction because you feel bad having lost something valuable.

Besides, pocket notes are very cheap. After you have finished writing about those ideas in your notes, tear off the page and dump that in the garbage bin. That gives you a sense of accomplishment as your pocket note becomes thinner.

4. Identify your best writing time.

Set aside a specific time each day to write about research-related tasks.

My best time in writing about anything is the first four hours of the day. My mind is fresh especially after I have made my usual six to seven kilometer run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

After lunch, I’m useless as my eyes start to droop. I call that the “after lunch phenomenon.” A 15-minute nap will perk me up to work once again, albeit, with difficulty.

Unless something really needs to be done, I resolve to spend the afternoon on household chores or light tasks such as buying groceries, shopping, taking leisure time, and similar activities.

5. Be consistent. Practice makes perfect.

I know I am one of those rare guys out there who can keep on doing things I have set out to do. I find that writing each day gives me unexplained pleasure. Now, I can’t count the online articles I have written since I started off in 2008. I lost count but I am pretty sure I wrote at least 600 articles on different topics.

While consistently writing a lot of short articles for many years, I noticed that my writing skills improved and I do it with much less effort than before. I find my writing activity handy in writing research-related tasks.

Things happen when you do something about your plan. Nothing will happen unless you act NOW. I like that Nike slogan “Just do it.”

© 2014 June 30 P. A. Regoniel