2014 Resolution: Time Management

There are two nine-week periods left in this school year, and now is the time to bring back some good ol’ time management tips.

Remember your agenda? It’s true, by this time of year most of the pristine agendas from the beginning of the year are ripped, lost, or purposefully neglected. The fact remains, however, that keeping an agenda is the best way to organize and keep track of the assignments you need to complete. What that doesn’t mean is passively lamenting the loss of your DASH edition. Instead, use whatever works for you. Many students find reminder applications on their phones helpful, or even just the notepad feature. That way, you’ll always have your list handy.

Prioritize! By this time of year, you already know what classes give you the most struggle, and which come naturally. Make a note of that when deciding what to do first, and get the hardest projects out of the way so that the work you enjoy more comes as a reward after the tough stuff is over.

Don’t know it ’till you try it. Ten math problems? Looks like a walk in the park until you figure out that each problem requires three steps and a graph to go with it. The lesson here is that you should always start assignments as soon as you get them. Sure, time and priorities might lead you to finish them later, but you won’t know how long an assignment is really going to take you until you go through the actual motions of completing it. Better to find out you’ll need an hour the night before than realizing it’s too late the reading period on the morning it’s due.

Block your procrastination agents. You meant to do the homework twenty minutes ago, but you got caught on a Facebook feed that led to Instagram that led to…. If your favorite sites are getting the best of you, try finding a site blocker for your browser to keep you from accessing them for a couple of hours. Firefox has LeechBlock, and Chrome has StayFocused, two add-ons that will temporarily or permanently block websites to keep you on track. And while you’re at it, make sure to turn off your tv and phone when you need to concentrate. Any distraction is a reason to push work aside.

Go public for helpful accountability. By now you’ve probably recognized a few bad habits and some useful ideas to conquer obstacles for being more productive. The thing is, you’re way more likely to stick to goals and resolutions when other people around you know about them. Speak up and others will too. When people in your life are watching to see whether you stuck to your goal – there’s more incentive to keep it up. Being the only person holding yourself accountable makes it easier to slip up. So when the work is done and you’re back on your feed reading status updates – consider posting your own personal pat on the back: “Waited till finishing my project to catch up with FB. Feels great to get work done on time.”

Time Management Tips from Successful Seniors, Part 5 of 5

Daniel VillegasDaniel Villegas,
Architecture

DASH Dispatch: In terms of workload and time management, what are the main differences between what you knew about your strand before you started versus now?

Daniel Villegas: After a lot of waiting through freshman year, I finally entered the Architecture program with high expectations. It was the class I had yearned for most, and come sophomore year, it was finally here. My expectations ran high, and all of them were met and surpassed. One of these expectations was the addition to my workload. Not until you do something yourself can you fully understand the quantity of work that goes into the process. This holds true with architecture, and becomes evident early on in the class. For every final drawing you see, there are many preliminary drafts that came before it, and those drafts usually involve countless sketches and hours of research. It might sound tedious, but for me the entire process is enjoyable and rewarding.

DD: What strategies or changes to your routine have helped you manage your workload?

DV: In order to accommodate my increased workload, I began to use the times that I would not traditionally utilize for work. I have found that working consistently in discreet portions every day, instead of attempting the bulk of the work in large spans of time, works well for me. Really, the important thing is to know yourself, how and when you work best, and then arrange your schedule to achieve the greatest efficiency. Planning ahead, I use my commute on the metro train and bus to study for upcoming tests. I find it important, however, to begin studying long before the exam, reviewing the material a little more each day instead of cramming all at once right before the exam.

DD: How do you get your work done outside of DASH when you don’t have access to the resources at school (i.e. software, sewing machines, etc.)?

DV: I typically try to have everything I need wherever I work, but sometimes, especially with computer software, the tool is not available at home. What I tend to do in that case is to make time so that, while in school, I may work additional time. With permission from my teachers, I might work during lunch and class, focusing on the section of work that I know I do not have the resources to complete at home. Another alternative I have used is to go to the home of a friend whom I know has the software or tool.

DD: In what ways have your classmates, family, or friends become a support system?

DV: As mentioned above, I have used my friends’ tools to help get my work done. At the same time, I have placed my own resources at their disposition, creating a network based on camaraderie for everyone’s mutual benefit. This network goes past lending your circle template to someone else. Sometimes it comes in handy to talk to a fellow student when you are not sure what the teacher expects. When different vantage points are coalesced, then a more encompassing view of the world around us may be realized. Though it may seem overly philosophical, the previous statement can be applied to almost anything, from discussions to trying to figure out the information that is supposed to be presented in the next site analysis drawing.

DD: What do you do to balance school work with time for rest, social activities, a job, etc.?

DV:  I organize my schedule so that I finish the assignments I least look forward to first, leaving Architecture, something I find truly enjoyable, last as a form of relaxation and reward. I also tend to use times that are usually wasted to get ahead, and thereby create time that may be used for social activities after my school work is done. This is beneficial because it means I will not be forced to cram if I go over the time I allotted myself for relaxation, and I may rest or spend time with friends without the constant worry of the upcoming assignment that I still have to finish.

Time Management Tips from Successful Seniors, Part 4 of 5

Jordan MayerJordan Mayer,
Fashion Design

DASH Dispatch: In terms of workload and time management, what are the main differences between what you knew about your strand before you started versus now?

Jordan Mayer: As a rising sophomore I was warned about the rigorous curriculum of the fashion strand, but I was also told that all of the hard work will pay off one day. I have always been motivated to do my best and stand out in class, because I am passionate about fashion design and will do what I can to achieve success. I have grown to love fashion, and the assignments that I am given are enjoyable to me. I definitely think that as the years go by the workload has become more challenging, however skills develop over time as well so with every new challenge comes a new wave of growth and development.

DD: What strategies or changes to your routine have helped you manage your workload?

JM: Checklists. They are very important to my daily routine, and I feel like they are a way to organize my thoughts and allow me to stay on track. I have an agenda/planner, and every time I am given an assignment, I list it under my things I need to do. Another trick I have found helpful to stay on top of my workload is writing things down I need to do that are not related to my school work (such as pick up my sister after school, or attend a youth group meeting that night, etc.). That way I can realistically prioritize what work I have to do that night and what assignments I can risk leaving for the next day if my schedule is too full for the night.

DD: How do you get your work done outside of DASH when you don’t have access to the resources at school (i.e. software, sewing machines, etc.)?

JM: Being a senior fashion student, it is almost a necessity to own a sewing machine. I took advantage of my birthday my junior year to ask for my sewing machine, because I know that come time of the fashion show I am going to need one to work from home on my collection. Before I had the resources, I learned to take advantage of the sewing machines at school every chance I got — whether it was during reading time or an available class period — and I would do what I could at home (ex. cut fabric and make patterns). When it felt practically impossible to finish constructing my garment at school, I would ask to stay at a friend’s house overnight or after school to borrow her sewing machine.

DD: In what ways have your classmates, family, or friends become a support system?

JM: After three years of maturing in the fashion room, my strandmates have become a family. We all understand the stress we face, and we seek support from one another all the time. My teachers are understanding of the workload I juggle and they usually will adjust deadlines when truly needed. Over the years I have really come to appreciate my family, and how supportive they are of me. They give me my space at home to let me complete my assignments, and encourage me to pursue my studies in art and design. They are always there to support me at every school function and have helped me through the recent process of submitting college applications and dealing with a whole new set of deadlines. DASH has not only given me the opportunity to study what I love, but has also provided me with a network of people who support me.

DD: What do you do to balance school work with time for rest, social activities, a job, etc.?

JM:  I have always been the type of person who needs to be involved. I know that I have to put aside a couple hours a day for free time to use towards time at the gym or youth groups or my social life, and the rest of the time after school goes to work. Oh and sleep. I sleep a lot. I know there is a rumor that DASH kids donʼt sleep, but I usually get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Very rarely do I go to sleep after twelve, but that would be because I started my homework much later then I should have. I have found that if I donʼt get enough sleep during the week, I cannot function properly and the work that I produce will just be rushed and not worth turning in. Another way to balance my time is to complete all my work during the week, so that way I have my whole weekend to take a break. Of course if I am assigned a weekend project then I will find time to do it, but the key to enjoying your weekend is to finish the majority of your homework once it is assigned to you. I also realize that because I love what I do, the moment I get assigned a fashion project I jump in and get started right away. We usually have between two weeks to a month to complete a project, so class time and extra hours at home will go towards working on it. I never wait until the last minute to rush a project — those never turn out well.

Time Management Tips from Successful Seniors, Part 3 of 5

Sami WaxSami Wax,
Visual Communications
(Graphic Design)

DASH Dispatch: In terms of workload and time management, what are the main differences between what you knew about your strand before you started versus now?

Sami Wax: When I was first introduced to graphics in freshmen year, I was under the impression that it was all on the computer and that we were just going to be editing photos and making collages or something like that. Now that I’m in the program, it’s so much more. Graphics is package design, branding, illustration, photography, virtually anything that gets processed through a computer. Between sophomore and junior year the workload definitely escalated, and again as a senior since we have two design classes, there are more things on our plate, and we have a lot more expectations set for us.

DD: What strategies or changes to your routine have helped you manage your workload?

SW: My calendar has become my best friend. It went from being a list of things to do all the way to a full blown color-coded tool for me. It’s the best way for me to organize myself, especially since my computer and phone calendar can sync to each other. I also keep a to-do list in a notebook, just as a back up.

DD: How do you get your work done outside of DASH when you don’t have access to the resources at school (i.e. software, sewing machines, etc.)?

SW: For graphics, it may seem daunting that you have the software in school only, but as I said before, graphics isn’t only editing photos. If you draw something at home and bring it in to scan onto the computer to work with in class, you’re maximizing your time and equipment. There are also some great student deals on the Adobe Suite for around $90, which is a big savings compared with the regular price. Before I got the Adobe Suite I downloaded a free 30-day trial of the whole suite and used those 30 days as much as I could.

DD: In what ways have your classmates, family, or friends become a support system?

SW: We definitely have a great support system in the graphics program because of how much time we spend together and the environment we’re in. The lab setting is really great because you can walk around and see what everyone else is doing while getting feedback on your work. My parents have definitely been supportive of my choice to attend DASH and they help with anything they can, from driving me to Kinko’s all the way to putting up with the light on under my door late at night.

DD: What do you do to balance school work with time for rest, social activities, a job, etc.?

SW:  Before DASH, I was a lot more involved with sports and after-school activities. Being here and being in the graphics program has definitely made me cut down. But, that’s not to say DASH or the design programs make you drop everything. A balance is definitely hard to find, but like I said before, a calendar is the best thing for me to have because I can schedule-in when I have family events, projects due, social events, and when I’m babysitting.

Time Management Tips from Successful Seniors, Part 2 of 5

Phillip BurrowsPhillip Burrows,
Industrial Design (ID)

DASH Dispatch: In terms of workload and time management, what are the main differences between what you knew about your strand before you started versus now?

Phillip Burrows: When I was first introduced to the Industrial Design strand the seniors told me (and everyone else in the presentation): “Hey, we get NO sleep.” Initially, I was skeptical because everyone looked happy when I saw them around school, and no one had bags under their eyes so, I just thought they were trying to scare us (the freshmen) away. Well, they weren’t just trying to scare us away. 10th grade year I underestimated the workload and ended up pulling all-nighters on simple projects. But as I advanced through the years as an ID student, my understanding of the design process solidified and things stopped seeming so vague and incomprehensible. I learned what concept pages, layouts, and light lines were. Now I know that doing ID work and finishing a project take careful pacing. You can’t try to rush through a project. You’ll either KO, put out crappy work, or both.

DD: What strategies or changes to your routine have helped you manage your workload?

PB: I plan, pace myself, and prepare myself for ID class. I like to take an envelope or scrap paper that is just going to get thrown away and write down a schedule of my days for the week in 1-2 hour intervals titled: What I Have To Do To Get A Decent Amount of Sleep. This includes academic work. I’m also conscious of my limits. I know I can’t do 8 GOOD concept pages or renderings in one weekend when I also have an essay to write for English and 2 packets to do for Pre-Cal on top of that. So I plan to do pages periodically throughout the week, 1 per night until the weekend when I have more time to do about 2 per day. Also, work is easier when you’re actually used to doing the work. So, if Ms. K tells the class we’re going to start rendering soon, I’ll set some time aside to go on the internet at home and get familiar with different rendering techniques. Markers are expensive but we don’t use them much. I try to stop by Utrecht and get one marker per week for several weeks so I can have a decent set of 2-3 color ranges.

DD: How do you get your work done outside of DASH when you don’t have access to the resources at school (i.e. software, sewing machines, etc.)?

PB: I found some friends who were in my area and asked them if they could help me out with what I needed. Other than that I stocked up on school exclusive supplies like French Curves, T-Squares, and Triangles sophomore year and they’ve lasted me till my senior year. Also, I stocked up on paper for projects that came early in the year in case I ran out later. Having a backup supply means I’m always set even if I forget or underestimate during a tough week.

DD: In what ways have your classmates, family, or friends become a support system?

PB: The ID community is like a family. We’re a very tight-knit strand. Everyone’s usually sociable and willing to talk to you and clear up any confusion you have about a project or a particular component of a project. Personally, they have been there to call, message on Facebook, or talk to during lunch. Even on Skype at times, if I need a visual idea of what Ms. K may want. I also talked to the juniors and seniors (moreso the seniors) when I was a freshman and sophomore, because they would tend to have a solid grasp of what Ms. K wants. They also knew techniques that she wouldn’t have taught us yet and that’d give me a bit of an edge in class.

DD: What do you do to balance school work with time for rest, social activities, a job, etc.?

PB: You have to be organized. I’ve learned how long it takes me to do a certain amount of work so that I can work around certain social schedules and get enough sleep so my brain doesn’t totally deteriorate. If a party starts at 7 or I’m going to the movies at 5 on Saturday, I’ll wake up a bit earlier than usual (which also means I go to sleep earlier on Friday) and get right to work. I’ll pull out that envelope I wrote my weekend workload on and get that done in the morning. I have a weekend alarm clock schedule that screams into my ear from 8 AM – 9 AM and again from 10 AM – 11 AM, until I’m definitely up.

Time Management Tips from Successful Seniors, Part 1 of 5

Ilana LadisIlana Ladis,
Entertainment Technology (Film)

DASH Dispatch: In terms of workload and time management, what are the main differences between what you knew about your strand before you started versus now?

Ilana Ladis: Each year my class schedule has become more challenging and rigorous. When I was selecting a strand it didn’t occur to me how my schedule would change each year. This year I am taking five academic classes and while sometimes it’s a lot to manage with three art classes, it’s ultimately rewarding to challenge myself.

DD: What strategies or changes to your routine have helped you manage your workload?

IL: I regularly use my agenda to keep track of school work, extracurricular events, and social events. It really helps to be organized and to keep everything written down in one place.

DD: How do you get your work done outside of DASH when you don’t have access to the resources at school (i.e. software, sewing machines, etc.)?

IL: I have my own camera and usually have no problem getting work done outside of school. It really helps that in the film strand you are able to borrow industry level equipment and take it home with you to work on your projects.

DD: In what ways have your classmates, family, or friends become a support system?

IL: In many ways, I have found a support system in and out of DASH. Sometimes my friends and I have study sessions during the lunch period if we have a big test. My teachers are also very supportive–I truly feel like they all want me to do my best and succeed, whether it’s staying after class with me to answer a question or writing me a letter of recommendation for college.

DD: What do you do to balance school work with time for rest, social activities, a job, etc.?

IL: Every day I try to set aside a half hour period dedicated to relaxation. I work much better when I can step back for a moment, regroup, and then focus on my tasks for the day. I also keep a daily to-do list and prioritize what I need to do in order of due date and level of time needed to complete a task. Also, I don’t procrastinate. That is a recipe for disaster especially at a school like DASH where due dates fly by left and right.