CAN MASTERING TIME MANAGEMENT BE INCORPORATED IN THE PROFESSIONAL CURRICULUM? – A PILOT STUDY
Anoop M. Nigwekar, MD (Hom), MBA, Adv. Dip Mgmt
Professor and Head, Dept. of Repertory & Director, Projects, Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homoeopathic Institute (MLDMHI), Palghar
*Address of correspondence: Dr. Anoop Nigwekar
How to cite this article:
Nigwekar AM. Can mastering time management be incorporated in the professional curriculum? – A pilot study. Journal of Integrated Standardized Homoeopathy (JISH) 2019; 02(02)
Received on: March 15 2019
Accepted for Publication: 01 July 2019
The current need for managing all areas of life simultaneously places high demands on all resources, especially the finite resource of time. Our emotions play a big role in planning our life. Therefore, managing time is a skill we need to teach our students.
Our students expressed their difficulty of managing time and the faculty decided to address this problem. An initiative to help the students to organise their time was planned. A batch of 28 students from the MD (Hom) Part 1 batch volunteered to undergo this training experience. A 7-week programme was organised. The programme components were: helping the students to understand the why of the problem, the contributors for the problem and how to overcome the problem. The methodology adopted was the use of AV tools, one-to-one discussion and presentations with weekly assignments. A pre and post-session test was organised to test the change in skill and attitude towards time management.
The outcome of this pilot study was the realization that initiatives of this type help the students to become “self-aware”. However, this input probably needs to be sustained and of a longer duration of 8 – 12 weeks. Such initiatives may also orient students better to attending the demands of academic and clinical responsibilities.
A few resources in our life are finite, time being one of the most precious. We all face time crunch and wish for a day of more than 24 hours!! Alas, that will never occur. Our students at the Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homoeopathic Institute complained about being hard-pressed for time and unable to attend to their responsibilities. The faculty accepted that the problem needed attention. Twenty-eight students from the MD (Hom) Part 1 batch volunteered to undergo this training experience.
There was a need for clarity regarding:
- Why were they facing the problem?
- What were the distractors preventing them from attending to their responsibilities?
- How could they be oriented to the process involved in managing their time?
- How could they be guided to adopt the process and seek benefit?
Problem definition and resolution:
- Why were they facing the problem?
We tried to understand the nature of activities they considered essential, as it was important for them to become conscious of these. They were asked to list them in four areas: a) academic b) clinical c) family d) social. The listing was mapped against their primary purpose of joining the institute in order to lend a perspective to their daily functions.
- What were the distractors that prevented them from attending to their responsibilities?
They were asked to identify the various distractors. Some of the most common were: a) procrastination b) no idea how to create a time table c) no desire to be bogged down by a disciplined life e) social media. They were candid in sharing these issues and wanted help in organizing their life to feel happy in doing what they were engaged in.
- How do we orient them to the processes involved in managing time?
The belief that someone else will do the needful had to be eliminated. These students are adults responsible for their life. We identified that these two messages needed to be delivered. A 7-week programme was defined with introduction for 1 week, inputs and monitoring on a weekly basis by the faculty for 4 weeks and no monitoring for the last 2 weeks. They were given weekly assignments for each of the 6 weeks. Sequential audio-visual aids were planned to ensure that this message was transferred. Aids like graphic images and videos were used to demonstrate various issues experienced in managing time and how they could be overcome (See Annexure 1). We created a structured matrix representing 4-hour slots per day for seven days (the whole week) and the students were advised to fill the activities they desired to undertake throughout the week in these slots. These were based on the listing of activities in the four areas they had demarcated. This sheet had to be submitted for 6 weeks in a row; for the last 2 weeks of the exercise, the students had to submit the sheets without any help.
- How to adopt the process and seek its benefits?
As the students began mapping the completion of activities, they realized how planning the day on paper ensured that they were aware of what they ought to do. They felt happy when they could successfully implement the planned activity; this reinforced their commitment. They could identify how they wasted their time. They also realized that their time was not only their own but also served the needs of those around them. This strengthened their commitment.
They also learnt they could be more realistic in planning. Initially, they put together numerous activities, but executed only a few. A one-to-one talk helped them to list what was essential and doable. The process was supervised once-weekly for the first 4 weeks; for the last 2 weeks, the students were left to themselves.
Only 50% of the students documented the timetable in the slots; among these, only 25% mapped themselves. Those who adopted the method were happy to have learnt the process and promised to continue to apply it in their life. Those who did not, shared procrastination as one of the major reasons and sought a continuous monitoring method to ensure that they completed their tasks.
Managing time is a skill that we need to teach our students. The need for managing all areas of life at the same time places high demands on the finite resource of time. Our emotions play a big role in planning our life. To be focused demands a certain level of disassociation from distractors. We are unable to proactively address to this issue and the need to be supervised is felt to be essential. Self-motivation is a skill that is crucial to master time management. Becoming aware of one’s goals and personal resources is very crucial in the practice of time management, but it also the biggest challenge. Hence, orientation to time management techniques is an important activity of any teaching program. The time duration of consistent inputs and monitoring for 4 weeks appears to be too short; this may need to be extended for better outcomes. A module of 8 – 12 weeks may be a better program initiative.
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