A University of Toronto (U of T) Indigenous knowledge workshop on time management taught students how to resist a “colonial productivity culture”, according to a university blog post.

The workshop was part of the university’s “Sweetgrass Series”, a set of three events that “use Indigenous Knowledge as a framework for Academic Success.”

In a Life at U of T blog post, a student named Annie described her experience at the workshop, saying the latter was “so wonderful and informative.”

“The colonial concept of time emphasizes outcomes and productivity, and this can lead to a lot of guilt when spending time on activities that don’t lead to a ‘productive’ outcome,” wrote the student.

She said that the workshop suggested that students use “colonial tools of time management” such as calendars and schedules “to create time for personal wellbeing,” and that “this can actually be an act of resistance against colonial productivity culture.”

As part of the time management workshop, students were shown the “productivity matrix”, which sorts to-do tasks into four separate categories. They also learned about the connections that the Indigenous medicine wheel has to the “productivity matrix”.

Above: U of T student Annie’s “productivity matrix” from the Sweetgrass Series.

Below: A presentation slide showing connections between the “productivity matrix” and the Indigenous medicine wheel. Screenshots from studentlife.utoronto.ca

The U of T student says the workshop “totally shifted my perspectives on time, productivity, and personal value.”

“If you want to look at how you can decolonize your student experience and gain a greater understanding on how Indigenous knowledge can be applied to all aspects of life, this is absolutely for you!”

The “Sweetgrass Series” workshops are led by U of T Indigenous Learning Strategist Carol Ducharme, and are designed to enhance students’ learning “through the Indigenous sweetgrass framework of three braids.”

The series ran from Feb. 7 to Feb. 21 and offered three workshops, titled Mind – Managing Time, Body – Reading with Intention, and Spirit – Being S.M.A.R.T. with Goals.

Ducharme did not return True North’s request for comment in time for publication.