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Setting Priorities and Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

Module by: Robin Bartoletti. E-mail the author

Summary: Setting Priorities and Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

Setting Priorities and Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

Setting Priorities

Palloff and Pratt (2003, p. 79) provide a useful matrix to help students understand priorities.

Important but Not Urgent Important and Urgent

Not Important or Urgent Not Important but Urgent

It sometimes helps students to identify the amount of time spent on Not Important or Urgent activities. Socializing, watching television, or playing a video game are activities that use a great deal of time for little academic return. Students should schedule these into their days but some moderation is important.

Not Important but Urgent activities can be stressful for students. Often, this stress comes from some self-imposed deadline placed upon the student by themselves. Palloff and Pratt (2003, p. 80) suggest that answers to the question "What will be the consequences if I don't do this today?" may help students to understand that setting and keeping priorities is important but, everything can not be a priority. Again, moderation and planning is important.

Important but Not Urgent activities are often long-term assignments. Suggesting the use of a calendar to establish work schedules for long-term assignments may be beneficial.

Important and Urgent activities can disrupt the development of community in a distance course. If all students wait until the last minute to post or submit assignments, little time is left for reflection, analysis, and interaction.

Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

Using an example from Palloff and Pratt (2003, p. 82) may help students think about time management

Unimportant Things Done Well = low effectiveness but high efficiency

Important Things Done Well = high effectiveness & high efficiency

Unimportant Things Done Poorly = low effectiveness & low efficiency

Important Things Done Poorly = high effectiveness but low efficiency

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