Managing time may increase motivation

By Lauren Lavelle

A student plans her weekly schedule, trying to manage her time efficiently. Student success center coordinator and adjunct professor Kevin Clark suggests breaking down each week by hours and dedicating time to various activities, such as studying or exercising, appropriately.

Students were welcome to pick up tips and tricks about heightening their time management and concentration skills on Feb. 14 at the Motivation and Time Management workshop.

Presented by the Department of Counseling Services as part of their Strive to Thrive spring workshop series, student success center coordinator and adjunct professor Kelvin Clark introduced information regarding motivation in life, the workplace and school.

Beginning with a presentation outlining the proper steps to achieve the optimum amount of motivation, concentration and focus, Clark’s first point dealt with physical energy and the importance of having enough of it.

“If we can get our mental energy right, we get our emotional energy right, we get our spiritual energy right and, obviously, the last one is physical,” said Clark. “First and foremost, we need to stack for our body’s natural rhythm. So, when we think about our focus and concentration, we need to pay attention to our physical time clock. Unfortunately, now, I can’t sleep past 10 a.m. and if I do, it won’t be a good day. You need to think about how many hours of sleep you personally need.”

Clark also continuously emphasized the usefulness of knowing the ins and outs of the body and one’s mental health in order to determine what time is most efficient for getting work done.

“You have to know when you are at best to do work,” said Clark. “If we try to force ourselves to be the type of morning person that we’re not, we will wake up and be upset that we have to be up. We won’t be able to focus because if we want to go back to sleep, we will. Understanding what your time of day is is absolutely key.”

Next, the students received a self-assessment entitled “How motivated are you and how are you motivated?” that had individuals rank their overall motivation from one to five with one being completely not true and five being completely true.

After ranking each statement, the students added up their scores and determined their overall level of motivation ranging from low motivation to high motivation.

Of the 19 students who attended the workshop, the majority fell within the medium motivation category with two falling in the high category and one falling in the low.

“The ultimate motivation for a lot of college students is eventually money,” said Clark. “So, if we can make our goals small, clear and concise, then we can see ourselves accomplishing those goals little by little. It’s a snowball effect. The more we can scaffold our goals from small to large, the more we keep our motivation.”

To round out his presentation, Clark discussed a topic all college students have struggled with at one point or another: time management.

To help students further understand their daily schedules, Clark provided a worksheet that broke down the week into hours. Students then logged in how many hours they spent doing everyday activities to see how much free time they did or did not have left over.

“Most students are over 168 hours,” said Clark. “I’m excited to see that most of us are under that. But here’s the thing, do you really dedicate 48 hours to studying? The answer is probably not because, with time management, it is all flexible.”

Stephanie Jacobs, a counselor at Rider’s counseling center, appreciates this workshop in particular because it addresses problems that are prevalent among students who attend sessions at the counseling center.

“It intersects with what we do,” said Jacobs. “Take procrastination. Procrastination causes stress and one of the key things students walk in here with is stress and anxiety and the depression that lays underneath it.”

According to Jacobs, Strive to Thrive is a pilot program that came about because of students’ lack of interest in attending group therapy sessions.

Jacobs thought, instead of having group sessions focusing on one topic for a period of several weeks, the counseling center should implement a series of sessions on different topics each week to see student reactions.

“For whatever reason, on college campuses this size, it is hard to get groups going,” said Jacobs. “My thought was that this could be a midway point for students who aren’t comfortable committing to a group. So, we surveyed students and based upon student responses, the students told us the types of topics they had an interest in. The big ones were stress and anxiety management and managing emotions.”

Hoping for a successful future for Strive to Thrive, Jacobs says wellness is their ultimate goal.

“The focus of the workshop series is prevention and wellness,” said Jacobs. “We hope that students find information that help them thrive as they go through their Rider experience. We are concerned about the whole person with an eye toward mental and emotional health and the totality of the person. We are interested in mental health wellness, academic success and relational success.”

Hoping for a successful future for Strive to Thrive, Jacobs says wellness is their ultimate goal.

“The focus of the workshop series is prevention and wellness,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs also enjoys the life skills students ultimately gather from the workshops.

“Students come here to get an education,” said Jacobs. “The ability to manage your time, the ability to focus, that’s a life skill.”

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