SCABs

About time management. Again. – By @mergalv

About time management. Again.

One of my previous scabs already talked about time management. I was thinking about writing this one about something different, had other ideas in mind, but just watched the video that Marc shared with us in the Library, which talks about some useful techniques regarding this matter.

The video described 16 really interesting techniques that made me stop for a moment and take a step back to reflect about what I’ve been doing so far. It was obvious beforehand that I had to be doing something wrong when looking at all the stress I’ve been under all weekend.

I didn’t really reflect on any specific techniques in my previous blog post, as I hadn’t really followed any. Instead, I just went on with any task that came my way and complaint about how many were piling up all the time. 

Last week was one of the most labour intensive one so far, and I’m fully aware it isn’t going to be the most intensive one, that the “worst” is yet to come. It’s also true that the number of tasks I had at work tripled as Christmas is around the corner and I have to prepare all the Christmas designs this week, so they’re all ready to be printed. On top of that, my business as usual tasks also increased on the back of the lockdown 2.0 and a required quick turnaround. 

So, the video Marc shared really came at the right time, and I’m keen to make the best out of it because, definitely, I’ll need a lot of self discipline and time management skills if I want to survive combining school and office in the upcoming months. 

Set goals and rewards.

Ok I think that this technique I had it clear in my mind from day one. Short time goals: Trying to win some briefings on friday and do stuff portfolio worthy, never missing a deadline. Medium time goals: Hopefully win some awards on feb-april. Long time goals: have an outstanding portfolio in August and be able to find a placement around September. All this while people at work don’t have the minimum suspicion that I’m doing any type or extra work/study.

Rewards? Enjoy my time off at Christmas, Easter, etc. as much as I can, be proud of the work I’m producing, and take very long looong holidays next August. Short term I would say glasses of wine with my housemates after work/school.

Prioritise your tasks: Important and urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, not important and not urgent.

I agree with the logic behind this graph, however, it turns very tricky during the times when I constantly receive emails with new tasks and, a lot of them claim to be urgent and important. It all turns “a bit” overwhelming when I have to deliver 4-5 things with a 3 hours deadline. However, this technique is ideal when it’s possible to plan things ahead and no last minute tasks get in the way. 

Learn to delegate

Well I wish to have a secretary that replies my emails at work, attend stupid office meetings where I don’t have even to talk but just sit there without saying or doing anything, deal with bills at home, customer services or to prepare my food. Unfortunately, I can’t.

For now I would say that I’m really lucky to have my lovely housemates and boyfriend that understand how busy I am and try to deal with house paperwork, customer services, lunch, weekend breaks plans etc for me.

Start with some tweaks on your schedule.

I agree with this one, and I’m going to try to kick this one off as soon as tomorrow, to wake up a bit earlier, and maybe finish these small non important tasks first thing before 9am while drinking my coffee, so I’m able to give my full focus to the important stuff that will be coming my way during the day.

Set Clear deadlines

I think deadlines from briefings at the school are clear. However, I need to get better at breaking down the briefings in parts (brainstorming, research, 6 hat thinking, catch up with mentors to prove idea, test idea with more people, execute idea, mentor feedback, etc.) and I need to start learning to set deadlines up to those smaller parts. 

Plan your meals ahead of time. 

Oh well this is something I’ve been doing for a while every Sunday. The only problem I find with this one is that, when I cook on Sundays, I cook 2-3 meals in high quantity portions and then, when it’s time to eat, I’m craving for a different thing. If I cooked pasta what I crave is  soup. If I cooked soup I don’t fancy a soup and i find myself craving for sushi all day. If I prepare something on the oven, then I want soup. I never like the food that I prepared for that day. And, from Thursday, I don’t fancy eating any food I cooked 4 days ago. Yes, I know, I sound like a spoilt brat! 

So I have been rethinking today that maybe, on Sunday, I can just chop the ingredients, have everything ready so I prepare whatever I feel like closer to meal time.

Say no to multitasking

Oh god this one is so difficult. But I agree and I’ve been experiencing that dividing the concentration in 2 different things at the same time reduces the quality of the produced work and, as a consequence, it causes me additional stress and requires more changes, which ends taking longer time.

Link your actions to your goals

All good here. I wish I would even have time to do something not aligned to my goals at the moment.

Schedule your day ahead of time

Totally agree with this one, and I’ve experienced that usually Mondays (after a full scheduling on Sundays of the day) is the day that I can focus the most and I be more productive. I need to try doing that every single day. The problem is that, after around 12 hours of exhausting work, the last thing you want to do is to sit and plan the next day. Instead all I can get myself to do is drink a glass of wine, do some shopping, go for a walk, a bath, tv, boyfriend… 

But definitely it’s worth the effort of doing that planning in order to decrease the levels of stress, not only that night to avoid going to sleep thinking about everything I had to have done and haven’t, plus everything I need to do the next day.

Learn how to say no.

Could I say no to scabs…? Please?

Don’t get lost in the details

This one might be the one I need to learn the most to improve. I’m too perfectionist, which makes me never be totally happy with the work I’m about to submit. I always think I could do better and that another group will come up with a better idea than mine, with a super clever execution, etc… and I feel frustrated, I burnout and put myself under additional stress, which makes me spend too any hours trying to find other ideas or angles instead of focusing on what I should be doing, which is executing the idea we decided to do for. I definitely need to reflect more on how to achieve this. 

Too many times I think “is this Friday presentation worthy? Yes, maybe it’s OK and could even win something. But, is it portfolio worthy? Definitely not”, and I never find that point where something is portfolio worth it. I’m never 100% sure that what I have in my portfolio as I always think it can be improved.

Try not to be overwhelmed.

I don’t think I could master this one any time soon… I don’t think it’s realistically achievable having to concile the school with a full time job. However, I think I can improve it by trying to focus on what I’m doing in that moment instead of multitasking. 

Find motivation and have fun!!

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