Here I summarize some of the hints and thoughts of our session with Bertram Welker (TU-DOC), to have it „written down“, like he suggested for agendas, time-lines, schedules, to-do-lists and so on.
Keep a record
I mean, this is really true: when measuring a pH-value, I wouldn’t do the whole procedure, without taking a note of the value at the end. I wouldn’t collect any data, without writing them down – the data actually wouldn’t come into existence, if not on paper (or in tables). The whole thing about time management might be, to let it appear on paper (or on platforms such as www.ganttproject.biz).
Start doing it
And in a next step: to start getting down working on the tasks, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Perfection is the enemy of completion. It doesn’t make no sense to block oneself by heading for perfection everyday. Instead, split the work into realistic packages, break it down and make it work.
Bertram Welker mentioned a simple threefold decision-process, how to treat issues to fit into your time-table (or its twin-brother research-plan):
- content – make it clear to yourself, what you want to do, as exactly as possible
- extent – decide about the means and the time you want to invest or you’ll probably need
- moment – when do you want to do it.
The content-decision refers to your aims, and this is what it’s all about. He added, that it’s no achievement to overdo the planning, and that we should never be afraid to change the plan.
And while he was complaining about all the people making money with books, workshops and high-flying concepts, that just cost a lot of money and won’t make you a better person, I was interpreting a concept into his advice: the CEM POR CENTO-approach! (content, extend, moment), haha! Maybe we really want to avoid to name the things by their simple names, like for instance “work” = “work”. Or “wasting time” = “wasting time”.
These items accumulated on our list of timewasters, like clutter on the desk: e-mails, calls, coffee, planning, admin, ego, meetings, variety of tasks. And like the new method for clutter control, maybe it is wise to open the window from time to time, to let the forces of nature blow them away, and allow for the „flow“.
Our comments were a valuable summary for me, so I just want to jot them down as well: A free weekend and somehow a work free space is important. The „useless conference paper“-draw, that is looked through only from time to time, may contribute to a clean desk and to set priorities. Time-managment requires just disciplin, to stick to the well-known rules. It helps to write things down, and an outline is important. Keep a good contact to the supervisor. We are still in a learning process. And finally: bad days are normal. Don’t be bothered by them to much.