Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Time management - the constant challenge

"How can I possibly complete this work?"
"There is no way I can keep up with this reading."

Are these thoughts familiar? Most folks who are going to school and working at the same time face time management as a never-ending challenge. It seems that even when we get past one deadline, another one awaits and it again feels impossible to do it all.

I know my own tendency when I'm overloaded is to experience the overall feeling of being overwhelmed. I was thinking the other day, what if instead I discipline myself to focus on the short-term. How can I resolve this current feeling of overload? And then I move to a mental checklist of strategies:

1. Quickly review priorities -- does everything here NEED to get done right away?

2. Which other obligation can I forgo -- is there one meeting I can miss, or a lunch date I can reschedule?

3. Is there any piece of this that is appropriate for someone else to do -- something with the house or kids for example -- can I ask someone for help?

4. How about an extended work session? If I get up super early or stay up super late tonight -- can I get myself back on track?

5. And if none of these are options, can I ask for an extension on any of these deadlines?

I would love feedback on this, folks. Let me know if you try it and whether or not it works.

Have a good day, all. You can do this!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Motivation tip - plan a getaway!

A few of my students have mentioned that they have planned trips or something special for either mid-semester break or the end of the academic year. I encourage all of us to do this -- plan some sort of getaway! Whether it's dinner and a movie out or an afternoon of shopping, or a weekend at the beach... plan something special, a treat for yourself! This gives you something to look forward to during these long winter months and as continue working hard in your classes. Think of something fun and put it on the schedule!

Cheering you on!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Good advice - ask for help

Hi friends,

My wonderful colleague Melanie Booth also writes a blog for adult students. Recently, she posted about the importance of asking for help from others as you work through this challenging journey. She also offers ideas regarding who you might ask for help. Check out her post:

Have a good Monday!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

You can do this!

Hi Friends,

Today's post is simply an old-school pep-talk. February is a difficult month for some... we're deep into winter and for those of us in western Pennsylvania this is becoming a long winter! February sees us a little over half-way through the academic year, and somehow this always seems to be a long stretch between winter break and spring break or summer.

So, you may be tired, feeling low-energy in terms of your school work, sick of shoveling snow and scraping ice, ready for a break. These feelings sometimes lead us to doubt -- should I be in grad school, is this what I really want, can I do this?

You can do this! If you are feeling overwhelmed, break your work down into smaller parts, and take it one section at a time. If you are feeling more tired than usual, carve out a short break this weekend. If your grades aren't what you would like them to be, talk with your professors and get additional feedback. And if you are having a dip in confidence, remember, you have gotten this far, you have what it takes.

Also, remember that I'm cheering you on! If you are one of my students, and are having difficulties, I'm here if you want to talk about it. If you aren't one of my students, drop me an email, or better yet, talk with one of your own professors, someone you trust who can help you over this moment.

You can do this! Just remember, your grad program director would not have admitted you if she or he didn't think you were a good fit for the program. You belong here. Most students hit these points at one time or another. Successful students are not typically those who don't ever face doubts or feeling stuck, successful students are the ones who persevere past these points. You can do this!

cheering for you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Publish your work online!

Check out Student Pulse, an online academic student journal! They are looking for good work from undergrads, graduate students, and recent graduates. Let me know if you get something published and I'll feature the link here.

More info on Student Pulse:


We believe that students have valuable ideas about the world around us. Unfortunately, most students only get to share their best ideas—the ones they write about every day in academic essays and research papers—with their Professors, and occasionally their peers.

At Student Pulse, we change that dynamic by giving students another avenue to share their work. At the same time, Student Pulse is not just an online blog...

All articles are carefully reviewed, placing a high value on the use of references and the quality of work cited. Work that does not meet our high standards is respectfully turned away, with recommendations for improvement.


Are you interested in having your academic work published? We want to publish your work if you:
  • Express new and interesting ideas in your writing;
  • Carefully and meticulously reference other high-quality sources;
  • Consistently use proper grammar and stylistic conventions, and;
  • Strive to produce the best writing and research you are able to!
Happy Writing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Writing Tip - Correct use of the semicolon

Hi Folks,

The semicolon is a cool little punctuation mark, isn't it?!?!?

To affirm whether you are using it correctly, or to learn more and add this to your repetoire, visit:

Cheering you on,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My favorite snow photo!

Hi All,

Here's a little more fun for your weekend. Of all the photos that I have seen of this most recent snow storm, this is my favorite. My cousin Jess took this in D.C. Thanks Jess!

Cheering you all on in your work!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday morning video - dodgeball anyone???

Hi All,

Hope your weekend is off to a good start! Here is something fun for your Saturday:

Cheering you on in your work!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Time management - little changes

So you have been working for awhile and you feel tired, but you want to get just one more thing done... you want to read one more chapter or write just a few more pages... you get the idea.

Try changing something little in your environment. Move to a different part of the room, apartment, or house. Move to a chair that feels different (though not too comfy!) or to different light.

My experience is that these little changes in work environment wake me up a little bit, give me just enough energy to finish one more task.

Thoughts? What have others done to extend those work sessions even a little bit?

Cheering you on in your work!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Writing Tips - eliminating wordiness

Clear, concise writing... that is the goal. Check out this article from the University of Texas at Austin:

Also, see the earlier post on muscular verbs, for related help:

Happy writing!

Group work strategy - constructive criticism

Hi All,

Many of you are involved in group projects. The following article will help you to develop your skills re: offering constructive criticism. The article also includes good advice regarding how to be more thoughtful in the process.

Be well,

Monday, February 8, 2010

This academic journey...

Hi Friends,

I'm encouraging you to stop and reflect a bit... is this academic journey what you expected?

What is more difficult than you anticipated? Is anything easier?

Are you growing in the ways that you had hoped?

Have your goals changed since you began your studies?

What have you learned about yourself that you didn't anticipate?

Post here if you would like to share... the encouragement lounge community would love to hear from you!

be well,

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday morning video - Joe Cool!

Hi All,

Well, here in Pittsburgh, we have more than a foot of snow this morning! Wherever you are, stay warm, be safe, and good luck with the work!

Today's cartoon:

Be well!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Healthy goal setting vs. perfectionism

Hi All,

Do you engage in healthy goal setting or are you a perfectionist? Review this brief handout and reflect:

Be well!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The magic of feedback

Last night in class, the energy was a bit low. This made sense, students had just handed in their biggest paper of the course, and the room was warm, and so on....

I was also teaching a particular lesson differently than I had before, and I wondered if the material was at all confusing or uninteresting, so I asked for feedback at the break.

One student spoke with me and told me that the connection between the first part of the session and the second part of the session (both chunks we had worked through before the break), that the connection was still unclear.

So I explained it again after break.

In the meantime, I continued thinking about that feedback last night and this morning, and have decided to frame the lesson differently this evening when I teach one more section of the class.

The new framework makes more sense, I believe. And I would not have evolved in my thinking without that student's feedback.

Once again -- value the feedback, it's good stuff.

Have a good day,

Creative Commons License
The Encouragement Lounge by Harriet L. Schwartz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.