Papercut

I'm sorry sir, we'll get to you soon! img: google

I’m sorry sir, we’ll get to you soon!
img: google

I am behind on my dissertation. There. I admitted it. Said it out out loud instead of rushing by that uncomfortable thought and pushing it to the back of my mind like a nurse in the E.R. pushes a papercut to the back of the room screaming “Sit down sir! I’ve got a GSW to take care of, we’ll get to you as soon as we can!”. Except, there is no GSW, the dissertation is the priority that I’m glossing over. It’s just a papercut now but as I push it away, the papercut starts to turn green and smell, gangrene sets in and if I don’t act fast the whole finger will fall off and then the poor patient will die. I will die, of failure. 

But I get somehow paralysed. I overestimate the time I have and when I realise that time has run out, I freeze, not sure where to start. See, I’m GREAT at starting, FABULOUS at plans (my dissertation proposal was approved with not a single correction from my supervisor) but follow through is my weakness. I always think I have more time to chill than I do. I take breaks too early and never get back to my original task on time. Eg. Dissertation proposal finished? Awesome, I can chill for a week. That week turns into 6 and i’m like holy crap, what the hell happened to April?! oh shoot May’s gone too and it ate half of June!

Then that’s exactly where the paralysis hits. All I can see are those lost weeks, the decreased quality of life and work that I have inflicted on myself and I’m not sure how to make up the time. Can I really finish a 5500 word lit review in 2 weeks? I read like a snail! Worry and fear take over, gluing me to the ground and I look for escape, I play World of Warcraft and watch 4 seasons of Drop Dead Diva back to back, clicking next episode with the compulsion of an addict. 

But responsibility eventually bubbles to the surface like soup in a heated pot and spills over into my escapist reverie like a tsunami tide. I can’t ignore the papercut anymore, things are critical and we have to operate or lose the patient. “Sir! We’re ready for you! This way please and quickly!”

Gowns on and Glove up people, we’ve got work to do!

img: Freedigitalphotos.com (via google)

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not mom, not my room, but close enough.

My room is clean and tidy. Those words are akin to the last words of any general uttered at the end of any long and arduous battle. Shout out to my main soldier – Mom – who saw the carnage and sought to rescue me. 

Seriously, the chaos of that tiny space was intense! Why? Well two reasons – 1) I am a pack-rat and I have terrible trouble letting go of papers, books, knick knacks etc because I feel like I’ll need them later on.

2) I fix my room in a way that is not conducive to keeping it tidy. I fix my room in the way that it “should” look according to other sane people but i’m crazy and lazy and things like “folding” and “putting on hangers” never get done.

This time, I’m determined to maintain this clean and tidy look (I’ve got space to spread down my yoga mat or to have a solo dance party and I’m not giving that up!). So to ensure continuity, I sat down and thought about how exactly I operate and fixed my room to facilitate these processes. For example, I always fling my jeans/pants onto the little basket that I’m supposed to fold and put them in. I was honest with myself, am I going to start folding? NO! So instead of continuing to facilitate this failing folding process, I instead used a little rack my mom bought me to facilitate said flinging. So when the jeans are flung, the room will still be tidy and this new rack also eliminates wrinkles etc that the jeans and other pants would get when flung on the basket. 

We act like this at work. We set-up our desks and our work processes based on the way we “should” or we work hard trying to make ourselves perhaps tasks in a way that doesnt come easy to us. Perhaps we continue with a method we came and found when we took the job, perhaps we set-up our desk the way our superiors like to see it. Even when Efficiency Specialists are called in, they often look at ways to change employee behaviour to fit the processes that management would like to see, however this seldom achieves maximum productivity. They (and you!) should be looking at how workers naturally go about their tasks and seek to facilitate this as it makes the job easier and faster. (Obviously within the safety / ethical rules and regulations)

So take a few minutes to ponder how YOU work, are those spreadsheets really helping you in their current format, is having the papers on the left side of your desk convenient? If not, move things around to suit you. You may be the weird one in the office for a bit but when your productivity goes up, you’ll be applauded (and probably copied!). 

Have a great Tuesday and see you all on Thursday!

I’m bored…

Image

Image from camaro5.com via google search

You sigh and stare out the window for a bit, then you grab your sandwich and surf 9gag or some other site while you’re eating, you’re just taking a break right? or maybe you’re bored.

You’ve probably already written this one off; you can’t possibly be bored, you’ve got way too much work to do! Your desk is a sea of endless papers and your Outlook inbox is a mess of unanswered red flags (at least mine are) so how could you be bored? Well, “bored” really has nothing to do with the magnitude of work but rather the content of said work. You need to be engaged or at least remotely interested in what you’re doing if you hope to continue doing a good job and survive in the workplace. But, they’re not about to change your job description and you’re not about to change jobs so… what do you do?

You find your own way to make it interesting. Are you competitive? Have a private competition, I bet you can’t make 10 sales today…chicken ;). Are you driven by rewards? Set intermittent goals and reward yourself when you meet them, e.g. if I finish 10 sheets by lunch, I’m going to go buy myself <insert awesome dessert/cost effective item here>. You could also just introduce some more stimulation into the environment, are you allowed to bring a radio or mp3 player to listen to your favorite tunes? For me personally, when I’ve got tedious tasks to do like keying numbers into a spreadsheet (no calculation or analysis yet) I put on a ted talk (ted.com) or other inspirational or innovative vid from youtube.com. (Yes they let us access the web here, I’ve had to download coldturkey, a program designed to not let you use certain programs or browse certain sites for a specified period of time, to keep me on track. Very effective!)

However, if none of that works, maybe you need to look at moving on. Doesn’t mean you’re not grateful for your current job, just means you want to go someplace where you can perform at your best. 

Wishing you a productive and interesting day!

Notes: I’ve got a plan, a plan to update you guys on Tuesdays and Thursdays! But you know what they say about the best laid plans – they often go awry. So, bear with me if this plan sees some delays especially coming down to the end of March when my MBA assignments are due.