Articles, Blog

Managing You – Time Management

October 10, 2019


Look, it is the real challenge, time management. Conflicting demands on your time at once
can be very stressful. So I guess, again, I try and create an order, I’m a big list person, and I’ve always been a big list person. Even as a kid, I made lists and lists
and lists on everything. In the old-fashioned way I’ve got a Filofax,
and I do my list every day. And so I’ve got a list today of what I’m going to do. You know, and of course there are meetings,
but there are other things to do. So I like that, that gives me a bit of structure,
and contains and controls, because otherwise it can be quite chaotic. So I’m very disciplined about the list, and even if I don’t get to it, I know what is remaining to be done. You stand or fall on the quality of your publications and your writing, so you have to work back from there. So that’s time for writing, it’s time for the research that allows you to have something to say. I think for people who are in a teaching and research job, you have to really remember that for most people in that situation,
research is 40% of what you’re expected to do, so you should not apologise
for scheduling 40% of your time for research. We have a weekly meeting, group meeting, every Monday, 2 o’clock start, every week, so we get students to talk about what they are doing and then a couple of people give presentations. The main thing is, I want to train them in how to present,
especially to industry partner or in conferences. So how do they present? I think for my group, students and post-docs,
they present quite well because of that training. Basically, this allows me to have a little bit
more efficient time with them, to supervise them almost like a group every week. And individually they can come
to see me but they need much less time. I’m still learning that, I think we all are, and I think it’s constantly about optimisation. One of the things I found recently
is it’s very important to schedule exercise in, you know, to schedule it in as an event in your diary. And scheduling as a whole, I think is quite important,
so I’ve tried to move away recently from to-do lists to actually just scheduling things into my diary. I think that works quite well. One of the other things I found quite useful,
that might be a good resource for people, is “I Know How She Does It”,
the book by Laura Vanderkam. It talks about the concept of the work-week
and how you can split it, and split days, and the different strategies people use
to try and optimise their time. It’s quite useful.

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