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Time Valuing: A Teaching Strategy for TimeManagementLoeen M. Irons MSEd aa Baylor University , Waco , Texas , USAPublished online: 25 Feb 2013.
To cite this article: Loeen M. Irons MSEd (2003) Time Valuing: A Teaching Strategy for Time Management, American Journal ofHealth Education, 34:3, 172-173, DOI: 10.1080/19325037.2003.10603551
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172 American Journal of Health Education May/June 2003, Volume 34, No. 3
INTRODUCTIONFew adults or students think they have
ample time to do all the things they need orwant to do, and time management skills andtechniques are in high demand. Covey(1994) suggests that lack of time is not themajor factor in feeling distressed. Rather, itis the misdirection of priorities and timespent meeting deadlines that leads to feel-ings of emptiness and not having time todo things that are important.
Added to this is the ever-increasingspeed at which American society is tryingto live. Faster is better, or so one might be-lieve given the 1-minute manager, overnightdelivery, instant messaging, fast-food-paceof current lifestyles. More labor-saving andtime-saving devices are available than everbefore, and yet Americans spend nearly 3hours more each week at work than theydid just 30 years ago (Oldenburg, 1988).
In the maze of fast-paced life it can bedifficult to isolate time needed for thingsthat are important, things that enrich and
add to quality of life. Moving from one as-signment to another or from one to dolist to another subtracts from time formerlyreserved for activities that enrich social,emotional, spiritual, and physical health.Helping students recognize patterns of timepoorly spent and enabling them to realigntheir time with what is important in theirlives can reduce their stress level and add totheir overall health.
OBJECTIVESStudents will be able to (1) identify time
spent on activities, (2) compare time spenton activities with values held for thoseactivities, and (3) recognize how to aligntime and activities to more accurately re-flect their values.
MATERIAL AND RESOURCESEach participant will need an 81/2 x 11-
inch sheet of paper or construction paperand nine Post- it notes (2"x 3"). Those whowill monitor their time over the next few days
or week will need a journal or spiral note-book in which to log their schedule.
TARGET POPULATIONThis activity works well with students of
all ages, as well as adults. The activity listcan be altered to better define the age groupinvolved by listing activities typical of cer-tain age groups. For example, elementarychildren may have categories around timespent watching television, practicing an in-strument or a sport, and so forth. The listof values presented below works well for thecollege-age student.
PROCEDUREDistribute blank sheets of paper to stu-
dents and have them draw two horizontallines and two vertical lines to form ninerectangles on their paper. Number the boxes
Time Valuing: A Teaching Strategyfor Time Management
Loeen M. Irons
Loeen M. Irons, MSEd, is with Baylor University,Waco, Texas.
Loeen M. Irons
American Journal of Health Education May/June 2003, Volume 34, No. 3 173
from the upper left, 1 through 9 (Figure 1).Distribute nine Post-it notes per student.One at a time, write the following list ofactivity categories on the board.
Immediate family (parents, grand-parents, siblings)
RecreationAs a value is written on the board, direct
the students to copy it onto a Post-it noteand then place the note in the rectangle ontheir page according to its importance intheir life. Square 1 is for the most impor-tant, and square 9 for the least important.Then have them write the second value andplace it in a rectangle, continuing throughthe entire list, and allowing time for stu-dents to rearrange their notes as necessary.
The list can also be altered to accommo-date the age and purpose of the group. Dif-ferent ages also interpret the list differently.For example, community service may bedefined as Boy/Girl Scouts by elementarystudents, as a sorority or fraternity by col-lege students, and as the Rotary Club orHabitat for Humanity by an adult.
Ask the students to discuss what is hardor easy about this exercise. Were there othervalues they might include on the list? Didthey have trouble interpreting what somevalues meant to them? Was it hard to chooseonly one number one? Were they sur-prised about any decision they made?
Once the student has his or her priori-
ties in order on the sheet, reflect on theconcept of values. Most decisions and ac-tions are based on consciously or uncon-sciously held beliefs, or on things that areintrinsically desirable (Simon, Howe, &Kirschenbaum, 1978). Verbalizing andprioritizing these beliefs is a beginning stepto ensuring that time and energy accuratelyreflect what is important in life. Being con-stantly at odds with ones values and pri-orities generates a stressful situation anddetracts from our efforts to be healthy.
As a follow-up exercise, explain that eachweek contains 168 hours, and challengeeach student to monitor and log his or hertime in 15-minute increments for the next3 days or week. It is good to include at leastone weekend day in this assignment, asmore discretionary time is usually availableon Saturday and Sunday. Sleeping and workor school can easily consume two-thirds ofthe time, so the time designated as discre-tionary will reveal the most about how timeand values interact. Then provide time inclass to discuss relationships between theiridentified values and how they actuallyspent their time.
Activities are open to interpretation, andthe student may need direction about whichcategory is appropriate. Is watching televi-sion classified as recreation, or family time,or time with friends? Is time spent at foot-ball practice defined as recreation or physi-cal health?
Certainly there are instances when anactivity could satisfy several values, andit can be helpful to have the student evalu-ate what he or she was feeling at the time.Were they feeling close to their friendsand sharing a good time together, or werethey merely occupying the same room whilethey watched a show? Was time spent work-
ing in the garden merely a job to be done,or was there a sense of creativity andpurpose? One persons chore may beanothers passion.
Another difficulty can arise for thosewho multitask, or do several activities atonce. When you are driving the car, eatinglunch, talking on the cell phone, and listen-ing to a talk show, which one are you reallydoing? As ludicrous and dangerous as thissounds, many people try to do several thingsat one time, and it can be hard to classifyhow time is truly spent. Awareness of thistendency can be valuable information forthose who chronically do many things atonce and yet never feel any sense of comple-tion or find extra time to do the thingsthey enjoy.
ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUETo complete the assignment, have the
students write one or two-page reflectionpapers. What did they learn from the assign-ment? Has the activity changed how theyprioritize their time? If so, how?
REFERENCESCovey, S. (1996). First things first. New York:
Oldenburg, D. (1988). Fast forward: Living
in artificial time. Health 20, 5256, 8081.
Simon, S., Howe, L., & Kirschenbaum, H.
(1978). Values clarification: A handbook of prac-
tical strategies for students and teachers.
Sunderland, MA: Values Press.
Figure 1. Time Valuing Grid
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4 5 6
7 8 9