Time Management/Activities/Case Study

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Case study

Read the case study below and complete the questions.

Donna is studying Anatomy and Physiology by distance learning at The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. Her assignment is due on the coming Wednesday, so she started it last Friday evening after dinner.

She decided to work in her bedroom. Her softball gear was on her desk, so she put the books on her bed. She spent a while looking for a pen, but couldn’t find one. However, she borrowed the pencil by the phone. When she began to read the assignment, she discovered that she needed some notes she had left at work. She thought she would therefore begin by reading the textbook, and would get the notes on Monday. After half an hour of reading, her boyfriend, Jason, rang. He asked whether she wanted to go and visit some friends. Donna decided to continue work on the assignment on Saturday.

Saturday was very busy. Her friend Sharon rang at 10.30 to ask whether Donna would be available to play softball at 2.00 that afternoon. Donna was still in bed, but she agreed to meet the others at 11.00 to do some practice. Her team won their game and they all went to the pub to celebrate. By the time Donna got home, it was too late to do any studying.

On Sunday she went to church in the morning and visited her aunt and uncle in the afternoon. She didn’t remember the assignment until after dinner. She still didn’t have her notes, and there were parts of the textbook she found difficult to understand. The assignment was proving to be harder than she thought it would be. She really needed some advice. She phoned her tutor but all she got was a message saying that the tutor would ring back if she left her name and number. Donna began to think that she wouldn’t get the assignment finished on time. It needed to be in the tutor’s dropbox on Wednesday. She’d have to do some quick work on Monday and Tuesday evenings. It wouldn’t be her best work, of course, but that couldn’t be helped.

On Monday she wakes up after 8.00, having found that she has forgotten to set the alarm clock. Her flatmates have already gone, and there is no time for breakfast. She rushes out of the house and reaches the bus stop just as the bus is disappearing around the corner. She half runs, half walks to work, but it is already 8.45 when she reaches the clinic. She is 15 minutes late.


  1. Identify and list Donna’s time management problems.
  2. List five strategies and explain how Donna could use these to overcome her time management problems.
  3. Please print the case study (printer friendly version) and bring it to the next elluminate session with your answers for a group discussion.


  • Marc Doesburg, Otago Polytechnic, 2006
  • David McQuillan, Otago Polytechnic, 2007

Adapted from: Thoreau, M., & Ellis, J. (2001). Communication in Practice Auckland: Pearson Education NZ Ltd.