Beating the Clock on the Beat: A Time Management Story

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Week #6

Efficient time management skills are not the easiest thing to tackle. Anyone faced with accomplishing a hefty amount of work in a short period of time will understand that sometimes the best way to stay organized is by creating a “to-do” list. An organized list can map out where you need to be and at what time.

Here is how I stay organized with my weekly Social Media for Journalists course assignments. My goal here is to help anyone feeling overwhelmed or falling behind.

Monday

  • Our weekly assignment is handed out two ways: via email, as well as posted in the Journalism 65 Facebook group wall.
  1. Read the assignment carefully. This week, for example, we are asked to write a thoughtful comment on Shari’s blog interview with Owen Greaves, and then create three blog posts, all using different formats, i.e. a numbered list, “crowdsourcing,” and an interview. Finally, we must respond to at least three of our classmates’ blogs and tweet why we liked them.
  2. Think critically and creatively about the content of your blog. Make an outline of topics you feel the most interested in, and then narrow that list down to three you feel you could pour some passion into.
  3. Read Shari’s blog interview with Owen. A great tip would be to use this blog as a template for this week’s assignments. After you’ve commented, copy and paste the comment into your Journ 65 log, so when it comes time to write your weekly report, you have it all stored and organized.

Tuesday

  • Tuesday is an important day to complete outlines and get a head start on drafting your first blog post.
  1. Complete a rough draft of your posts. The earlier you start the more time you’ll have to proofread, edit, and add more content.
  2. Periodically check on the Facebook group page, and keep an eye on the hashtag #jour65 on Twitter. Some of our classmates will have their blogs up already, but not to worry, I find that the more we read, the better our posts will be.
  3. Once you’ve completed a rough-rough draft, allow yourself some time away from the assignment to let it sink in. When you come back to it you may have a new perspective and it will pay off in your content.
  4. Remember to log any thoughts, ideas, or questions for the weekly report.

Wednesday

  • For me, Wednesday is my busiest work day. I try to have one, if not two blogs completed and published.
  1. Finish a final draft of at least one blog post. Before you publish, I find it beneficial to “preview” the blog to really get a clear idea of the look and feel of the blog and especially how you’ve conveyed the content to the reader.
  2. Put the finishing touches on your last rough draft for your second blog post. By now you should also have started on your third blog post. I usually have a friend or two look over my drafts to get a second opinion on what works and what doesn’t. The more feedback you have, the better editor you become.
  3. Continue to read and post comments on classmates blogs, the Facebook group, and Twitter. You’ll notice that many classmates post questions to the Facebook group wall. Reach out and answer with any feedback you can. Also, if you have any questions about your blogs, it’s a good idea to email Shari so that you have adequate time to apply her advice to your blogs before they’re due.
  4. Continue to stay on top of your Journ65 log. When the time comes time to do your weekly report, having everything logged will make it that much easier to complete.

Thursday

  • By the end of Thursday the only thing left to do should be completing your weekly report.
  1. Go back and read through the assignment. Double check that you haven’t forgotten anything. Sometimes it’s easy to scan over something important the first time you read it. This might also be a great time to create a final check list. As you’re completing your weekly report you can check things off the list to ensure you’ve completed all the assignments.
  2. Complete your last blog and publish it. Go back and make sure you’ve posted your blogs to Twitter using the hashtag #journ65 and #weeksix.
  3. Read through our remaining classmates’ blogs. When commenting, try to think critically about what the writer is trying to say. Often times, our classmates can shed new light on the subject, and that’s what I appreciate the most.
  4. Get a head start on your weekly report. If you’ve logged all your content and comments, then it should be a cinch because you can just copy and past everything into the report.  I usually complete my report before going to bed on Thursday so I don’t wake up on Friday with any pressures looming over my head.

Friday

  • Our weekly reports are due today at noon.
  1. Put the final edits on your weekly reports.
  2. If people have commented on any of your blog posts, take the time to reply to their comments. As Shari said, showing gratitude online is an important way to establish relationships with your readers and keep them coming back for more.
  3. Submit your weekly report and…EXHALE. One thing I’ve learned to do is to reward myself after a week of hard work. Whether it’s kicking back in front of the TV, going to the movies, hanging with friends, etc., we all deserve the acknowledgment of a job well done.

This list is in no way, the only way or the right way to complete your weekly assignments. I realize everyone has different methods for managing their time. I’m sure there are some people that can attack the entire week’s worth of assignments in one day, and probably all on a Thursday, but I certainly cannot. If this helps at least one person manage their course load in even in the slightest, then my mission is accomplished.

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Comments
  1. Thank you! After reading this, I got the inspiration I needed to write my blog for this weeks assignment.

  2. Billy Rivera says:

    You’re very welcome, Susana. Looking forward to reading your blog, too!

  3. Good stuff. Organization is important, especially to students; add being virtual into the mix, and it becomes top priority. While I’m not in your class, this helped me get a handle on where I do go, and something I’ve needed for a while. Thanks for a great report!

  4. “Once you’ve completed a rough-rough draft, allow yourself some time away from the assignment to let it sink in. When you come back to it you may have a new perspective and it will pay off in your content.” I find this to be very important to do too! I do wish I had more time work on blog posts. But it’s hard working full-time + and taking classes. I’m often up late into the night doing work. I do like how you planned out your days – I may try to do that.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Billy Rivera says:

      Suzzanna, I couldn’t imagine juggling a full-time job with this class, or any class for that matter, so kudos to you! I can barely manage a full-time school schedule. With the exception of math, I’m thankful I chose classes this semester with subject matter I’m passionate about.

  5. So helpful!! Thanks! and I’m right there with ya…I don’t think I could tackle all the assisgnments in 1 day…I think that would be a bit much! I also try to spread the work out evenly over the week * Thanks again *

  6. Mariana C S Rogedo says:

    You are very organized! Congratulations! I don’t put everything on paper like you did, but i would say i have a very similar way to keep going on my week’s assignments. Some i do kind of mentally but i try to spend time in front of my computer reading and researching at least 2 hours a day, than i can finish with my assignment before friday noon.

  7. A.S. Miller says:

    To echo what everyone is saying around here, thank you so much! This is really helpful! I usually spend the first two days reading and doing the posting work, then save Wednesday and Thursday for drafting/posting but it always ends up being rushed somehow. I’ll be sure to try all outlining and rough-rough drafts + stepping away next week!

    • Billy Rivera says:

      Stepping away can also work wonders when you’ve fallen under a spell of writer’s block. If you have to force it out, then more likely than not, you’re heart isn’t in the writing.

  8. This blog has put things into perspective. At least in terms of time. I guess it is important to follow up everyday in order to skip the feeling of being overwhelmed.

  9. […] “I am feeling the effects of “information fatigue” on a daily basis. Back in the day, when writing a term paper, for example, I always had to multitask my way through the process. If there wasn’t music playing, chat window, email, countless website tabs open, etc., I could not write. I needed chaos in order to focus because the ADD side of me knew that the moment I became “bored,” I would have somewhere to turn without having to get up from my chair. Today it’s a completely different story. I may be able to have music playing, but if my entire being is not 150% submerged in what I’m doing, I find myself failing.” (Be sure to read his post on Time Management Billy’sJourn65 Blog) […]

  10. LOVED this post. I personally have trouble managing my time between my classes especially this one, since it’s an online course rather than a face-to-face class. Really enjoyed this and really useful for me 🙂

  11. Suki says:

    this is like what i plan on doing every week and then all the sudden it’s thursday night/early friday morning and im up late doing this homework. i think i keep loosing track of time bc during the week i have like no time, if i had the weekend i would be fine. but next week NO CRAMMING!! i think this is a good outline to follow and i’m going to use it.

    • Billy Rivera says:

      Suki, cramming at the last minute is the worst. Procrastination should be my middle name. I find that if I set weekly/daily goals, I’m less likely to put things off.

  12. Shari says:

    Billy, this truly is sensational on a number of levels:
    1) You have shared your personal knowledge/experience with your classmates to offer the kind of support and help that they need.
    2) You have organized the post in a way that it is very easy to read and follow.
    3) You have included EVERY necessary detail.
    4) And that is why you have garnered such tremendous response, i.e., the social element of all of this.

    All that being said, every week is slightly different, so here’s a blog topic suggestion for you — see if you can “generalize” this advice so that people can use it Every Week, regardless of the particulars of the assignment.

    Actually anyone who reads THIS comment could do that, too. I’m not going to post it for “general consumption” though.
    🙂
    Great work! Thanks

  13. nordaz says:

    billy,

    i love how you make this sound so relaxed and doable. Im going to have to keep in mind your method, because i must admit im not a very organized person and i find myself scrambling last minute. But i have to ask do you have any suggestions for someone who is taking 3 other classes and has a part time job?

  14. A.S. Miller says:

    Billy, I tried using this work schedule for this week and I was so unstressed and getting things done!!! Best school week ever! Thanks so much again!

  15. AMOA says:

    Billy – I am so sorry that I was too busy to read this – irony can be so painful sometimes! This is such a dynamic class, waiting till the last minute just wasn’t possible. Great Blog!

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