Managing the sands of time…how are we doing?

Since the inception of CAPOD in May 2011, our Time Management workshop has been attended by over 180 people across the University. It has proven to be one of our most popular workshops, and anecdotally the feedback has been largely positive. However – what happens after the workshop? Do our workshop participants behave differently? Are they finding they are able to apply what they have learnt? In August 2014, we took the opportunity to find out. We contacted everyone who had ever attended our Time Management workshop in the last three academic years and we asked them to help us evaluate the impact of the workshop by completing an online questionnaire. Of the 183 people invited to participate, we had 47 respondents (response rate of just over 25%).

Here is what they told us…

70% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the workshop helped to shape their current system or approach to time management at work, with 13% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

72% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they are more aware of their psychological preferences, with regard to time management, and are able to use this awareness to their advantage. 9% disagreed or strongly disagreed.

79% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they are able to more effectively prioritise and manage their workload and stay focused on high priority work. 11% disagreed or strongly disagreed.

When asked about their competence and confidence in using and managing their task list, diary / calendar, and email inbox – these were the responses:

TASK LIST – 68% felt more competent, 72% felt more confident

DIARY / CALENDAR – 74% felt more competent, 79% felt more confident

EMAIL INBOX – 77% felt more competent, 74% felt more confident

68% of our respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they felt better able to manage personal behavioural aspects related to time management (e.g. reducing procrastination, avoiding multi-tasking activities), 15% disagreed or strongly disagreed.

49% of our respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they are able to manage stress at work more effectively, with 15% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

Overall, the results are encouraging with most questions garnering at least a 70% positive response (agree or strongly agree), with negative responses (disagree or strongly disagree) coming in at 15% or lower in all cases. On closer examination of our lowest positive score (being able to manage stress at work more effectively), it is worth noting that this score is at its highest in our most recent cohort (those who attended in AY2013-14) – 67% agreed or strongly agreed they are able to manage stress at work more effectively with none disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. This supersedes the scores from earlier cohorts, and we hope this will continue on an upward trend.

To finish, we would like to thank all our respondents for this useful feedback on our Time Management workshop. Here are some selected quotes on specific actions that have been taken, or specific changes that have been made, by our respondents:

“I prioritise my tasks for the day and week daily first thing and use my diary for planning tasks much more efficiently.”

“I am no longer fire fighting. I have a to do list with URGENT along with a daily and weekly list to help with prioritization.”

“Use more of the functions to organise my inbox using Microsoft Outlook. When working on something that requires concentration – turning off my email to prevent distraction.”

“I use my calendar more for time management and designating time for specific tasks.”

“I was happily surprised by all of the practical tips and helpful methods that I’ve since been able to apply to my work schedule.”

“It gave me more structure and increased my confidence in making decisions and dealing with staff.”

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