The Pioneer Post

The Pioneer Post is a resource for online students that provides tips and information about distance education.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

By Amy Nemmetz, Coordinator, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Program

Call me crazy, but I truly believe the art of being successful in the classroom, professionally, and at home starts with a task list! You may be thinking, "What is she talking about?!?" Well, let me explain. There is no doubt about it that we are living in a busy society! Whether you're a stay-at-home parent, an online student, or a stockbroker on Wall Street, you have tasks to complete each day, and there is no doubt about it, you will experience multiple interruptions while trying to complete your work! Making a solid task list each day not only has kept me on track during my adult years, but also certainly has minimized my level of procrastination. Additionally, my task list seems to solve the big problem of, "Now, what was I working on prior to getting interrupted?" As a side note, there is nothing more refreshing than literally crossing off "items on the list" as you complete them!

As noted by professional trainer/coach/consultant, David Allen (2008), keeping lists is not only putting your mind to good use, but the list helps rank tasks too as you can visually decipher "what has to happen today and what could possibly slide to tomorrow."

Below is my list for today; you will see that my tasks include professional and personal items to ensure that I'm organized at work, in the classroom, AND at home! I should also note that my list always includes a couple very easy tasks, because I love to cross off items quickly!

Monday, 5-19-08:

• Proof blog article
• Submit blog article
• 9am Teleconference/Training
• Write advising summary for Tammy
• E-mail Tammy the final summary
• Reschedule Wednesday meeting w/Bob & Gary
• Check e-mails
• Start advising e-mails
• Read assigned chapters for online class
• Contact Cheryl regarding Tuesday morning
• Confirm receipt of court subpoena to DA's Office
• Call courthouse to get Judge Albert’'s court room #
• Call Real Estate Agent
• Amelia's 2 year dr. appt (11:15)
• Make cookies for Amelia’s birthday treat

I realize that this blog topic and content is fairly simplistic in nature, but many people have asked me over the years, how I successfully balanced working full time, a family, and going to school and my response continues to be the same: "I make lists every day." I should also note, that I always use the pen & paper lists to ensure that I can take my list with me, but others have had success with computerized lists. If you have never been a list maker, I encourage you to try it for a couple days and then decide if this is a helpful tool for you!

Allen, D. (2008). Mental ecology: the art of list making. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved on 5-19-08 from



Anonymous Rita said...

This blog was especially interesting to me to find this week. I am a full-time teacher who is balancing going to school part-time to complete my master’s degree. I am taking an online distance learning course. Your blog seemed so positive that I felt empowered to make my list. In doing so, I got completely overwhelmed. I am someone who can go, go, go. But, this week I hit a wall. I was finishing up the school year responsibilities, dealing with family issues, organizing graduation, and trying to complete all the assignments for my two classes that I am taking. I literally got such a frustrated state that all I could do was cry. I think that as a teacher I see these frustrations daily in my students, but having an online classroom is completely different. How can I as an online educator really know how my students are feeling? What can I tell them to reassure them that I understand? I think your blog, as simplistic as you said it was, was very realistic. We need to just make a list and check off as we go. I am knew to online classes, so I am trying very hard to balance. I guess the trick with the list is making sure that you understand what each of the items is going to entail. I am hoping now that my “teaching job” is crossed off my list for summer, that I can really focus on those other items on my list to complete them to my best ability.

June 1, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

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