All entries for November 2012
November 23, 2012
Workshop Tutor: Beverly Maynard
The main reason I attended this workshop was to follow up an action point for the first seminar I attended which was An Introduction to Skills Development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio. On this first experience I found it incredibly difficult to keep the deadline for posting the reflective writing on my blog. I kept postponing it to the point that I ended up doing my first entry a month after taking the workshop. When this happened I recognized a huge weakness on myself, in my ability to organize my time and myself. I spent my first month here at Warwick with no specific plan to follow, and as a consequence I felt I lost complete control of my life.
So here I am trying not to make the same mistake of last time, and taking advantage of the benefits that reflective writing can bring to you. Looking back at the seminar I find it amazing that even though I was aware of everything that was discussed, I was not able to apply to my experience. The concepts of prioritizing, procrastination, planning and delegating are not new to me, but still I am not applying them appropriately to my time and life management. I think now I know why and it’s that I had never before called this “management”. I understand now that this is a skill that needs you to work actively and constantly on it. It will not just get done on its own, and it’s much more complex than just to do a couple of to-do-lists.
All this made me look at the process of my time management in a different way. I have always found it difficult to tackle the big tasks, and I keep delaying doing work for them because I had always concentrated on the to-do-lists. And even though these are necessary as well what I was missing was the big picture. This is why I believe that Macro-planning is one of the things I need to work on the most.
So for my first action point, I am going to take advantage of the macro-planning process. I need to mark the different deadlines for assignments and group work and start working my way back in smaller tasks that will help me achieve the final product. This is of great importance at this point because I have been leaving my assignments for later and focusing only on my teamwork. Only for the fact that the teamwork is due before, but in fact my assignments are worth more of my final grade. So By the end of this week I need to have found a balance between the two, and have set specific actions on my planner regarding this subject.
Other weakness I recognized through this workshop is my inability to focus and prioritize myself rather that what others want me to do for or with them. I think it comes back to the same issue of thinking very short term and not being very organized with my long-term goals. So I have been letting my flat mates, friends, and group mates control what we are doing, when and where. One example of this is that most of the times I am home after eating in the kitchen and even though I should go upstairs to do some reading or look up things in my computer to take advantage of my extra time, I end up staying and chatting with all of them. So I need to have my time management clearer in my head so I can take do the most of it. Next time this situation happens in different environments I will think of what I need to do, and base my decisions on that.
And finally I need to work on my ability to delegate, mostly regarding the teamwork. I tend to want to do everything for myself, which doesn’t make me the best at team work. I find it hard to let others do things but I realize now that I can not handle everything on my own. So as a way to work on this skill, in the two group works I have for this term, I will identify tasks that I am doing but others with less work load can help me with and delegate this to them.
I am feeling really positive about my process towards becoming a better manager of myself and my time. And I believe this is a skill that will be incredibly important for the rest of my personal and professional life.
To write a follow up, go to http://go.warwick.ac.uk/skills//blog
Workshop Tutor: Amanda Randall
Heres a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points
So I am happy to say that today I can write this follow up with a smile on my face, which was definitely not the case for my last one. It is amazing to see how the simplest change in your attitude can make you feel and be that much more in control of your life and things that happen around you. Indeed when I took the first step towards getting things done instead of just whining about them, everything started falling into place and life seemed somehow more manageable…
For me it has been all about organizing myself, knowing what has to be done (but in a SMART way), and then just sticking to the plan: et voila! Things are getting done! In the one hand I attended to the P.7 Workshop, Organizing yourself and your time, and it has been of great help. I have been applying what I learned in the workshop to my actual time management: I started by making a planner and completing it until the end of the year. In this planner I have put all my deadlines and started developing plans in the previous weeks of concise goals in order to achieve the final goal. This has proved incredibly useful, as it has turned the enormous assignments, which I was unable to tackle, into manageable tasks.
Regarding the reflective writing, and even though I did buy a pad exclusively for this last weekend, I haven’t been able to start writing on it. This is something I need to keep working on, even more so as the due dates for my assignments are getting closer, because I wish to take advantage of the reflective writing process to get my ideas clear and structure a better speech. So as I can see now that the reason I didn’t follow up with this task is the fact that I didn’t make it SMART, I am going to commit myself that by the end of this week I need to have started my diary.
And finally for my third action regarding my career, I am pleased to see that I took a step forward by attending a meeting with a career’s and skills adviser to discuss my future. After this meeting I had a clear structured plan with actions I needed to complete for achieving my goals, all of which are marked in the planner I mentioned before.
Overall I feel confident that I am moving forward and that I now have my eyes open during this process. I t changes everything to feel that I am in control and that my life is again in my hands. It is all about thinking, reflecting, concretizing and finally doing.
November 13, 2012
Workshop Tutor: Amanda Randall
I attended the P1 workshop on the 10th of October, that is 4 weeks ago. This means I should be on the final stage of my reflective blogging, but I am ashamed to say that I am only just starting. I took this workshop on my second week at Warwick, with high hopes of taking advantage of every opportunity the University of Warwick had to offer, but ended up falling flat on my face with the realization that once again I had let myself get overwhelmed by the situation and failed to comply with my obligations.
The process of settling in was not easy, and I felt that time was passing by faster than I could keep up. I let myself get dragged along and did not stop to think what was it I was doing by leaving everything for “later”. I lost sight of the whole picture, and forgot my final goal, but I am writing this reflection to get back in track. I believe that the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award will help me enormously in my personal and professional development and I am willing to work hard to achieve it. I know now it is going to be harder than I expected but I am willing to go the extra mile.
The P1 workshop got me thinking about REFLECTION, what it is, how to do it, and the benefits it delivers. I had never been more convinced about this fact than on this exact moment. Self-awareness and analysis is the only way we have to learn, change and improve both in our academic/professional and personal lives. We cannot expect to be perfect but what makes us better is to be able to face our mistakes and try to learn from them as to not repeat them in the future. For instance, through this exercise of reflective writing I have forced myself to break a pattern of not doing things just because it was too late. I am not sure if this will be accepted for the WSPA; giving that it is way past my deadline, but my motivation behind it is to stop procrastinating and start progressing.
So to stop being that much of a theorist and reflector (which I am) and start being more of an activist and pragmatist (which I am not that much), I will set myself the action points I need to follow from now on. Subsequent to my admitted weakness, my first action is going to be attending the P7 workshop on Organizing Yourself and Your Time. I have now booked a place for tomorrow’s session. However the real challenge is not going to be attending the workshop but following through with the reflective writing as well as applying what I learn to my actual time management. But whatever the difficulty of the task I feel truly motivated to do this and see the advantages it can offer to me.
My second action will be to take more advantage of the reflective writing process. I am astonished to see the difference it can make to just think and reflect about ones mistakes from actually writing it down and concretizing the issue. This is why I will start carrying a diary with my reflections about both professional and academic issues. I will write down my thoughts and force myself to analyze them more thoroughly in this way.
And my third action will be regarding the ‘whole picture” I was talking about before. I need to get more active with my career planning, as there is no more time to loose. I have already attended some of the seminars from the Careers and Skills Centre about writing a CV, but now I need to attend the personal interviews to get it revised. My goal is that by the end of this month I have completed my applications for graduate schemes as well as internships
Finally I would like to use tis space to apologize for the late entry, and ask you for the opportunity to continue in the process to achieve the WSPA. I would appreciate if you could guide me in this process and enlighten me on what is the next step in order to do this.
To write a follow up, go to http://go.warwick.ac.uk/skills//blog