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January 02, 2013

Final entry on Organising yourself and your time

Workshop Tutor: Beverly Maynard

Looking back, this has been a long and eventful process with both progress and setbacks. Through the application of some simple tools I managed to solve a great problem in the way I organized my time and myself. Also by keeping in mind simple principles, like prioritize and delegate, I was able to stay calm and in control during challenging situations.

However I realize now that this workshop has taught me much more than just about organizing my time and myself. As I am doing this workshop within the WSPA I was forced to carry a process of reflective writing. And I say forced because I would not have done it if I was not intending to receive the award. I saw this as a mandatory task I needed to complete which was time consuming and not very useful. However I now understand perfectly why the blogging process is not only necessary but incredibly valuable.

As I thought thoroughly about what had happened during the process, analyzing whether there had been progress or not, I learned a lot about myself. Every time I went back to read my last entry before posting a new one, I ended up questioning the reasons behind my actions. It was not just about telling someone what had happened, but also about asking myself the reasons behind my successes and my failures. And it was only through this process that I was able to recognize and admit the true problem behind my organization issues during this experience at Warwick: “I am afraid to fail”.

It sounds a bit silly but it is true. I have invested a lot to be able to come here and do my masters, and so I have high expectations for its returns. However I know the outcome rests entirely on my shoulders; whether I succeed or not is going to be entirely my responsibility. And I see now that I have a tendency to panic and quit when the stakes are too high. My problem from the beginning was not that I didn’t know how to organize myself, but that I was afraid to do my best and still fail. Somehow it was better to blame failure on my lack of organization.

It can be said I am being to hard on myself. After all I do have a broken leg, I am in quite a lot of pain and had to go through it all on my own and worst of all during the holidays. But still I know I would have been able to do much more during this period if it was not for the fear holding me back. For instance I still have not reorganized my planner with the new deadlines and my plan to achieve them, which is quite an easy task. I had not even made a list of the things I have to do until two days ago. And I kept asking myself why, but the answer now is very simple: I was afraid. I am afraid of the time I have lost, of the vastness of the task and of myself not being able to pull it off no matter what. And so I have been hiding behind my broken leg, taking the pain as an excuse not to work.

Some of my weaknesses I recognized through this workshop were: I do not have to do everything on my own, I need to delegate when someone else can help me and stop being such a control freak. After admitting this great fear that was holding me back, following on what I had learned, I am proud to say that I asked for help. My family is now aware of how I was feeling, as well as my tutor and I am working to get passed it. So in the end this feels like a great way to start the year 2013, hoping to keep learning and progressing.

December 17, 2012

Follow–up on Organising yourself and your time

Workshop Tutor: Beverly Maynard

Heres a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points

  1. Macro-Planning

    I started by building a planner where I could visualize the different deadlines and the overall time I had left for completing the work. This helped me to organize my priorities and divide the time I had into smaller tasks that would constitute as steps to achieve the bigger task. This really helped me because having it hanging in front of my desk it reminded me of what needed to be done and when; and also why it was important not to leave it for later as I could clearly see that later I would not have enough time.

    However after a small accident where I broke a leg my whole schedule was changed, as I could not work for more than a week. This has been a hard process and very discouraging, Which is why, now that I am getting better, I need to reorganize myself through the macro planning process, and take advantage of it to get back some control of my life and what needs to be done. Because life waits for no one, broken leg or not, I need to keep my goals clear and the steps to get there.

    I will therefore restructure my planner to fit my new deadlines and incorporate new tasks by the end of today. I am confident by the end of this process I will be more calm and relaxed for facing my current situation: having a broken leg will not prevent me of achieving my goals.

  2. Prioritize

    As I stated it on my last blog, This is something I have been working non-stop since the beginning of term. It sounds like an easy thing to do, but in reality it is much more complex. However I am happy to say that I can feel myself getting better at it.

    By having a clearer idea of what I need to do, how and when, helps me take sounder decisions. I managed to finish term feeling I was in control of my time. And even when the accident happen I was able to manage the situation calmly, put my health first and ask for extensions to my assignments. I realized through this process that we can not control everything that happens but we can control the way we handle this unexpected situations.

  3. Delegate

    As I have said in the pas I am not much of a delegator, I am a control-freak, but thanks to this workshop I have been working to change that. And it is ironic because I am now in a situation in which I need help for almost every simple task.

    I am really glad that I had worked hard on this skill because it came really handy when I broke my leg. Before the end of term I was able to delegate a lot of work to my team mates and it paid out, as we had excellent presentations. I was also able to ask for help when I needed to go to the hospital, and for people to buy me groceries. And it is really nice to see that a lot of my friends have come forward and made my life easier during this process.

    I will not forget this experience and I will keep in mind how easy and rewarding it is to ask for help.

November 23, 2012

First entry on Organising yourself and your time

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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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  • Thank you for this first blog entry. It sounds as if things have been very difficult but that you ar… by on this entry
  • Hi Maria Thank you for your final blog. I am sure when you came to the workshop and submitted your f… by Beverley Maynard on this entry
  • Hi Maria You seem to have maintained the focus of macro–planning, prioritising and delegating. I am … by Beverley Maynard on this entry
  • Hi Marie Please accept my apologies for the non–response to your blogs – I have had a few problems w… by Beverley Maynard on this entry
  • Hi Maria, Gosh, I am very sorry to read about your accident. What a difficult time you have had rece… by Amanda Randall on this entry

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