As a teacher, facilitator or leader do you struggle with time management and find it overwhelming when there are multiple different tasks that need completing simultaneously? You are not the only one that feels this way. Working in these roles means that there is a severe lack of time to deal with everything that needs to be addressed. Time on task is a strategy used to help you work through your to-do-list in an effective way to utilise the time that you have.
What Is Time On Task
It is a simple strategy that is what it says it is. Working in a way to set time to complete tasks and to keep on track of it. It is a way of enhancing your productivity and efficiency to allow you to work in a more balanced way. This can maximise learning time, reduce down time and improve learning.
#1 Plan, Prepare, Practice
All teachers, facilitators and leaders know that planning a session is the most important step for success. Planning ahead of time means that you will know what you are going to be teaching and saying and that will give you confidence. The session that you are leading will then run smoothly. Make sure that the activities you have planned will work efficiently in the time that you have. If activities are completed too quickly then that is wasted learning time. Extra activities need to be planned in case that happens. It is also a good idea to practice the session and understand the activities ahead of time.
#2 Time Management Tools
During the session it is helpful to use timers or other ways to track your time. This will make sure that the activities you have planned run smoothly in your session and with efficiency. You can also use this time management tool to help with organising your teaching space, planning the session and delivering it. These tools will also help the people who are taking part in your session.
#3 Allocate Time
When you plan a session you always think about how long to spend on the tasks you have planned. Then, during the session you try to stick to that time, but it doesn’t always happen! It is important to set realistic time frames when thinking about your session and activities. Make these known to the participants as well so that they can stay focused. Our top tip? It is important to have a sense of flexibility in your sessions as some discussions may take longer than you thought, so remember this when allocating time.
#4 Stay Focused
It is very easy to get distracted during sessions as a leader and also participants can be really good at getting off point. During group discussions ideas can be so varied that the focus of the task can be lost. Although this can be beneficial, it isn’t helpful when there is a time limit. If you notice things are going off topic then try to gently bring everybody back on point. A great way of doing this is to ask people to summarise their key findings to share.
The Goal Of Time On Task
The ultimate end goal of time on task is to improve the learning process. It will also improve your connection with the people you are teaching or leading and create more of a positive outcome to the session. It also helps to reduce feelings of stress and being overwhelmed.
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