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Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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4 There are only so many hours in a day

When you return to work, one of the things you may find is that you have to be very organised about your time.

However well you plan, you may find that, in addition to your new job or studying commitment, there are simply not enough hours in the day to do what you were doing before. Returning to work is an exercise in balancing needs. Look back at the diary you kept last week of how you spent your time, along with your notes from Activity 2, and think about whether there are any changes you can make in order to accommodate a new commitment. One of the skills you’ll need to use is prioritisation – you’re probably used to this already, but here’s a technique to help you make decisions about managing your own time.

Activity 9 Further prioritising

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Have a think about what your priorities are and which things you would be prepared to give up. Think about the activities you listed in Activity 2. What can you delegate to others? What activities can you adapt? What can you let go of completely or leave until you have more time?

Enter your answers using these headings:

  • Priorities
  • Prepared to give up
  • Delegate
  • Leave to another time

As with Activity 3, you can write these into a grid to make your priorities easier to consider.

Described image
Figure 8 Further prioritising grid


What are the core activities that you have to maintain? Can these fit alongside a job?

You may have thought about how you’d change your domestic arrangements, for example, would another family member take on some chores? Would shopping online save you some time? If your children are at school, can you delegate the school run to someone else?

What are you prepared to give up or put on hold? A hobby or community commitment?

The important thing is to know what you need to spend your time on and what can be done differently.