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Time Management: Using Mission Elapsed Time (MET)

May 13

Time Management: Using Mission Elapsed Time (MET)
 

Time management is not the easiest thing to learn or to teach… it is a uniquely individual thing, but one which requires mastery in order to be an effective student.  Time certainly keeps moving, and students are up against a lot of deadlines, timelines, and scheduling requirements, and they learn early, the importance of their time. They must also learn ways to manage their time.

When students are in high school, they begin to really understand the importance of time management where their projects are concerned. Particularly as many high schools have senior requirements for major projects, having a clear approach to the timeline is necessary. Here’s an interesting idea for any student to help them build their sense of time management during their critical projects.

Mission elapsed time (MET) – what astronauts use to countdown to takeoff… Instead of saying, I have one month in which to do x, y and z, the idea is to approach a timeline or deadline the other way. I have T minus one month for this project to be done.

This approach may create a less stressful timeline for the student. For instance, if there is a major writing component to the project, a student can say, I have to do the outline first, so I have T minus 3 days to do that and then I may continue onto the next stage of the project. The next stage, using the same example, might include drafting a major essay. At this point, the student can say, I’m 27 days away from my deadline, but I need this done by day 15 so I may get feedback, improve it, and finish the writing so I can prepare for the presentation, starting on day 7.  With a week between finishing the work, and preparing for the presentation, the student cuts out a lot of pre-presentation stress.

When students work on a project for the first time, they may not be aware of the reality of putting in place each part of the project in a timely way. This approach works through the stages of the project incrementally, on a clear timeline, and one that allows for time to improve the work. It also makes it harder to procrastinate because the project is not being viewed as due in 30 days, but as something with a series of manageable, incremental, but important, smaller deadlines.

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