Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

Achieving Balance: Time Management for Modern Professionals

Fri, March 2, 2018 | UT Austin Campus

8:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Professor Clay Spinuzzi will be holding a single day seminar on time management for professionals on March 2, 2018. The synopsis from the Human Dimensions of Organizations reads: 

Due to changes in work and technology, people's personal and professional lives are more connected than ever before—and more fragmented, more busy, more crammed with tasks and obligations. Faced with this seemingly endless cycle, people declare "email bankruptcy," triage tasks, react instead of planning, and sometimes lose their work-life balance entirely. How can we regain that balance? How can we achieve confidence, clarity, and the ability to plan?

In this one-day seminar, Dr. Clay Spinuzzi will use a mix of research, theory, and experience to discuss the challenges we face in planning our time and projects. The seminar will cover:

    • How We Got Here: How changes in work and communication have made our work lives so fragmented.
    • What Mediation Is: How we mediate (or control) our own behavior "from outside" with symbols and abstractions—and how we can stack these abstractions to give ourselves new abilities.
    • How to Plan Our Personal Time: How to use nine levels of symbolic tools to represent our time, tasks, and plans so we can achieve clarity.
    • When to Say Yes and How to Say No: Five basic principles for making those abstractions work in practice. 
    • How to Plan in Groups and Organizations: How to understand common disruptions in organizations that derail planning; how to plan and evaluate chains of symbolic tools so your team can synchronize expectations.

Participants are encouraged to bring examples from their current planning materials (to do lists, bullet journals, calendars, project management systems, etc.) to the seminar. Dr. Spinuzzi will also provide samples of these materials for participants if they can’t/don’t wish to bring in their own.

In small workgroups, participants will examine these materials and discuss: 

  • What challenges do you personally face in planning your time and projects?
  • What abstractions are being used here?
  • Where do these belong on the continuum of the nine levels of symbolic tools?
  • What levels of symbolic tools are you missing?
  • When do you struggle with executing your planned tasks? Where in your planning materials do you struggle? Which (if any) of the five principles is hardest to achieve for you?
  • How do these planning materials interface with your team or organization? Do they clash with others' tools and/or with the logic of your organization?
  • What unofficial workarounds are being used in your team or organization? What does that tell us about the tools or tasks to which they're applied?

Interested participants can register here on the HDO website

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