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5.2: Being Mindful, Practicing Self-Care and Self-Management Tools

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    To use and apply the Quadrant II Time Management System in our lives, we need to examine our lives and be mindful of our life roles. Again, we all have multiple life roles with tasks to complete in each of those life roles. We need to ask ourselves some questions about the importance and urgency of tasks and expectations in those life roles.

    Are each of our life roles as important as the others every day? Chances are no. For example, your college student life role may not be as important during semester breaks, but perhaps your employee life role takes on more importance when you’re not taking classes because you work more hours per week when you’re not in class. Another example could be that your life role as a spouse or partner probably would increase in importance when your spouse or partner is sick and needs your care.

    We also have to be mindful of the thoughts we’re having regarding the urgency of a task. If there is a specific deadline, that urgency level may be obvious. If there isn’t a specific deadline imposed by someone else, we need to know whether we will benefit from accomplishing the task sooner, or if we really can wait longer.

    When we’re mindful and do this analysis, we can be aware of the priorities in our lives and assign tasks to the appropriate quadrant. What happens if everything in our lives appears to be urgent and important, and we’re spending all of our time in Quadrant I? Stress! On the other hand, what happens if we find ourselves responding to others’ urgent requests that aren’t important in our lives, but we don’t want to disappoint someone else? We get frustrated or maybe even angry with other people, even though we made the choice to take on their requests.

    When we’re practicing self-care, we are spending most of our time in Quadrant II. Remember the discussion of mindset, both fixed/growth and Victim/Creator. Creators and those with growth mindsets operate mostly in Quadrant II working on tasks that allow them to reach their goals before those tasks become urgent. We are practicing self-care when we give ourselves plenty of time to work on meaningful tasks that help us achieve our goals.

    How do we spend most of our time in Quadrant II? We need to plan ahead using self-management tools. These tools could be traditional paper or hard-copy planners and calendars plus technology-based apps. Common tools include to-do lists, weekly planners and monthly calendars. See the pictures and explanations below.

    To-Do List

    Illustration of To Do List

    “To Do List” by Alexas_Fotos is licensed under CC0

    When using a “to-do” list, remember to prioritize using numbers as in the picture above. As a college student, your to-do list probably will include academic assignments near the top (numbers 1 through 3) while other lower-priority tasks will be lower on the list (numbers 4 and 5). Here’s an example for a day in the life of a college student:

    To-Do List for Wednesday after Work:

    Weekly Planner

    Illustration of Weekly Planner

    “Planner” by rayedigitaldesigns, is licensed under CC0

    When you are filling in your Weekly Planner, again remember your priorities. Fill in your higher-priority commitments first including classes, work schedule, appointments, children’s activities (if applicable). Then fill in lower-priority items such as house cleaning, yard work, laundry, etc. If you have additional time, plan for some relaxation and fun, again, after finishing your priorities. Here is a link to a video illustration of how to prioritize, and you could use the idea of “golf balls, pebbles and sand” to fill in your Weekly Planner.

    “The Empty Pickle Jar - A Lesson on Life” Video Link The Empty Pickle Jar []

    Monthly Calendar

    Image of Monthly Calendar

    Printable Blank Monthly Calendar Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures CC0 Public Domain

    One tool especially helpful for college students is a semester calendar, otherwise known as a term schedule, showing all of the weeks of the semester on one visual surface with important commitments noted including exams, speeches, projects and papers. A semester calendar can be hung in a prominent place such as the refrigerator or bedroom wall so students can get a snapshot of the entire semester at once. Students often use different colors for different classes. If an upcoming week looks especially full with commitments (e.g., two papers, an exam and a group project due), students can be forewarned and work ahead on tasks that can be done in advance, such as the papers. Here’s an illustration of the first few weeks of the Fall 2021 semester.

    Semester Calendar

    Table: Semester Calendar
    Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
    Aug 29 30 Classes start! 31 Sept 1 2 3 4
    5 6 Labor Day- no classes 7 FS practice quiz due 8 9 COMM- Intro speech due 10 11
    12 13 14 15 16 17 Study group for BIOL 18
    19 20 BIOL quiz 21 22 23 SOCI review session 24 25
    26 27 28 29 30 SOCI exam #1    

    This page titled 5.2: Being Mindful, Practicing Self-Care and Self-Management Tools is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Heather Burns, Connie Ogle, & Allyson Valentine.

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