Continuing Education

Class Quest: New 21st Century Strategies for Time & Productivity Management—Online

As someone who has spent more time in classrooms devoted to higher learning than any sane person should, the thought of enrolling in any class (outside the pursuit of personal enrichment) was utterly daunting. I once loved being in college. I have multiple degrees to Imageprove it. My last go-around with college studies was part of my worker retraining process over ten years ago. I was shocked to discover retaining new information, scheduling time to study, research, group projects and wave after wave of deadlines to be more taxing than I recalled. I wasn’t that long-haired kid kicking back in my dorm room listening to punk rock and guzzling coffee while skimming chapters of History of Western Civilization any longer. I didn’t have that kind of time, energy or spare real estate left in my head.

I felt like an old dog incapable of learning even a few new tricks.

So, when the opportunity arose to take an online learning course through CE’s online course partner LERN, I simmered with quiet anxiety. What if I didn’t have the chops to learn outside a classroom environment? What if I was wasting mine and everybody else’s time?...What if I flunked?

There’s no irony to the fact this particular course dealt with time management. One may think they manage their time well, but you’d be surprised. With the daily pace of our modern lives it’s wise to keep our time management skills in tune.

I enrolled in LERN’s online course New 21st Century Strategies for Time & Productivity Management and squared away time in my schedule to step out of the office and participate.

I’m a visual learner, which means that scrolls of data and facts just bounce off my brain. I associate information with images—a key concern for me when it came to the solitary process
of learning online. I envisioned reading article after dry article, struggling to stay focused and winding up frustrated. I discovered my fears were groundless.

From the get-go the content of New 21st Century Strategies for Time & Productivity Management hooked me. Instructor William Draves assembled materials that immediately sparked my interest. Each class unit began with a video dealing with the week’s chapter theme. From there we were offered several brief course readings and the opportunity to chat with other students online. At the conclusion was a quiz over the week’s material. If you are like me and suffer from mild test anxiety, no worries. You have the option of taking the quiz over as many times as you need to get it right. Frankly, I learned more this way.

 There were many valuable takeaways from New 21st Century Strategies for Time & Productivity Management but one I found most beneficial to my work was the concept of generational perspectives of time—a discovery that brought me around to whole new mode of thinking.

Generally speaking, Baby Boomers (1946-1964) see work and time as closely related. It’s written into their whole work ethic. They have no qualms about putting in extra hours, being Imageon time and believe in fairness. For Baby Boomers, the work day is about structure. They work hard and then they work some more. In this light, it’s not surprising most Baby Boomers don’t look fondly on retirement.

Gen X (1965-1979) work hard and play hard. I can vouch for this. Gen X has an expectation of entitlement not found in the Baby Boomers. We don't identify ourselves with our work to the extent of the Baby Boomers because we see work life identity as something more mercurial. We don’t need the structure of a consistent workplace because work can happen anywhere. There’s no one way to accomplish a task, as long as it gets done.

Gen Y AKA “Millennials” (1980-2000) are confident and achievement oriented, but their process is not as important as the outcome. Older age groups may perceive this as dismissive
of priorities. The simple truth is this is a generation of multitaskers successful at finding shortcuts to a given task. They have a strong work ethic, just not in the traditional 9-5 sense.  Gen Y workers are mobile.

Thanks to my varied work experiences, I feel I have adopted traits from each of the different generational styles when it comes to my use of time. At the same time it was helpful to see how my generational perspective has shaped my shortcomings when it comes to my work process. Throughout the weeks I spent taking the online class, I took the time to break down how I went about my work day, dealing with distractions and focusing my priorities and applied solutions learned in the course.

Having worked from home for many years, New 21st Century Strategies for Time & Productivity Management was terrifically helpful in returning to work in an office environment. ImageI’m a creative person and, as many creative people find over time, being creative doesn’t start on the clock. I find myself making notes in my head in off hours, taking stuff home to tweak it and making last minute amendments when I am back at my desk. I don’t mind doing this because I thrive on a certain degree of autonomy. I also believe deadlines are paramount as others are depending on me to complete my tasks. New 21st Century Strategies for Time & Productivity Management helped me put all of this seemingly erratic process into an organized perspective.  

New 21st Century Strategies for Time & Productivity Management gave me terrific insight into how others work and perceive my work process. I took away helpful tools to help me to work more efficiently and enjoy what I do. The online learning experience was something I took to with greater ease than I anticipated and I will happily do it again.

I learned that my fear of being an old dog incapable of learning new tricks was just a story I
told myself. It wasn’t true. What is true is the changing landscape of education. So much of how that terrain evolves relates directly to how information is conveyed and it applied—and how we use our time.

Time is indeed in the mind, but not just our own.

Learn more about New 21st Century Strategies for Time & Productivity Management.

Photo credit #1: John Westrock_cc_2.0
Photo credit #2: OnlineDegrees4Us_cc_2.0
Photo credit #3: Pyogenes Gruffer_cc_2.0