Go back over the work you did in Unit 1, especially your results from the Thinking Styles website. Were you a Monarchic, Hierarchic, or Oligarchic-Anarchic thinker? (If you would like to review the categories, click here.)
Each type of thinker has particular strengths and weaknesses when it comes to planning. Here are some brief suggestions, depending on the type of thinker you are.
Your Strength: Monarchic thinkers have incredible focus on their highest priorities, honing in on one or two most important issues at a time. If you are a monarchic thinker, take advantage of your own sense of focus and direct that to your big projects: term papers, midterm and final projects, etc. You might want to see if you can find ways to steer your smaller projects and discussions back to issues, ideas, and concepts you will cover in those major projects.
Your Challenge: Just because you cannot relate a reading, discussion, or other work back to the project you are most focused on does not mean they aren’t important. It help to take time to stand back and make time for the small assignments, even if they don’t seem as urgent. After all, your instructor and course developer included these for a reason.
Your Strength: If you are a hierarchic thinker, you probably wondered why we spent so much time on planning. After all, planning probably comes naturally to you, and you should have no problem coming up with a strategy for dealing effectively with most units.
Your Challenge: Just because you have a plan in place, doesn’t mean everything will work out as planned. Sometimes, things may take longer than you have scheduled or may not be as important as you first thought. You also may want to double-check your study priorities with your professor and classmates. Be flexible with your Study Plan as the week unfolds, remembering that the Study Plan is only a tool to help you to reach a goal: learning.
Oligarchic or Anarchic
Your Strength: If you are an oligarchic or anarchic thinker, you may wonder why everyone worries so much about planning. After all, your strength is probably your ability to juggle several projects at once without worrying too much about what’s most and least important. You also have the ability to let various projects, insights, and lessons blend together, which means that you are often good at relating lessons from work to your studies in class or seeing the importance of news items you see or read to bigger issues you are writing about in a paper. Take advantage of your ability to be flexible, adaptable, and quick on your feet.
Your Challenge: There are two extremes that may seem tempting to you that you should watch out for.
- One is underplanning: Just because you normally can keep several projects, readings, discussions, etc. going at one time, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to have a basic Study Plan that you can fall back on if you need it.
- The other is overplanning: If you have had trouble taking on too much in the past, you might try to extensively plan your work for the week, only to ditch your plan completely when you come up against a conflict. It’s important to make a plan, but to keep it flexible enough that it will work for your more adaptable personality.