Get Focused and Get Right: Time management with the Academic Achievement Center

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Covey’s Time Matrix is a comprehensive box that distinguished between relevance and urgency of tasks. Photo provided by author

With a drastic learning transition and the need to acclimate to online school, this past year has been tough to say the least. The Academic Achievement Center holds various workshops to help students learn skills that can aid them in their studies. On Tuesday evening, they hosted Focusing to Get Things Done: Attention management, a workshop dedicated to time management and productivity skills.  

Sophomore political science and individualized major in law inequality and injustice student Jason Yeung and his co-host junior biology major Abbey-Gale Simms led students through various techniques that they can implement in their lives to help achieve a successful semester.  

One of the main strategies discussed is Covey’s Time Matrix, a comprehensive box that distinguishes between the relevance and urgency of tasks.  

“We are going to distinguish our to-do list between important and not important, and then also between urgent and not urgent tasks and so on and so forth,” said Simms. 

Some of the tasks that may fall into the urgent and important category are emergencies, crises and deadline driven items. Not important and not urgent tasks can be social media, organizing your desk and busy work.  

Covey’s Time Matrix isn’t the only strategy that many people use. Other common methods used for time management are the ABC method, Master List Breakdown, 1-3-5 method and the Pomodoro method.  

Another method described during the Time Management event hosted by the AAC is the ABC Method, which breaks down tasks by importance. Photo provided by author

“The master lips help you take all of your assignments that need to be done in a period, and then organize them in a way that allows you to better understand them,” said Yeung. “Students have a physical list in front of them that they then can check off.”  

The Pomodoro method is known by many and is often used by individuals who enjoy time batching. It urges individuals to set a specific time to work on a task, and then take a mini break after. For example, if you’re doing an assignment, set a timer for 25 minutes and work with zero distractions. Once those 25 minutes are up, set a timer for five minutes to rest and then repeat.  

While Tuesday’s presentation focused on time management, the AAC delves into numerous topics. They offer drop in hours, workshops and presentations, supplemental instructions and UConn Connects. Simms and Yeung explained further to the audience what these specific programs offer. During drop in hours, students are able to visit the AAC for any questions they may have, or simply to do work in a quiet environment. On the other hand, workshops and presentations are given to educate students on tools that may help them during their college career. Supplemental instruction is a bit more structured; it offers shortened lectures based on specific STEM classes, taught by students who already took the course with that professor. Lastly, UConn connects is a program geared towards students that are on academic probation.  

While the AAC presentation was informative, it was also very interactive. Yeung and Simms provided activities for their audience, and then collaborated together with everyone to find answers and discuss solutions. The audience was encouraged to work together and truly participate in the activities to garner a better knowledge and understanding of the topics discussed.  

In order to know more, visit the AAC website at https://achieve.uconn.edu/.   

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