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May 21, 2013

Stepping into the world : From Student to Alumni

Life after Warwick :first blog after entering into the world of work

Coming soon


August 12, 2012

P7 Follow–Up 4: The Final Review: Assessing today, tomorrow and forever

Follow-up to P7 Follow–Up 3: Have you changed? Is TIME your friend now? from Melvin's blog

TIME, TIME, TIME Handline Leaping Seconds with Grace and STYLE?

OR

Tracking Your Time, a limited resource. How are you using yours?

WHATS YOU THINKING??????

tm6I always previously felt I was too busy to assess how I’m managing my time. Wouldn't time spent planning be better spent on assignments, studying, games or catching up on lost sleep? In fact, like spending money on advertising to grow a business, assessing your use of time now will pay off in greater efficiency and achievement later. I have realised that from the worrying person I was to the calm and collected person I have become, all thanks to better time management. My journey began with me being overwhelmed with the amount of assignments and work I had to do for my course, always stressing I had to do this……and that!! The times were riddled with a number of all nighters, poor eating habits, missing breakfast/lunches, sacrificing a lot of pleasures to get work done at university. Additionally, the prospect giving time for family and friends was starting to strain me considerably. I used to see myself sometimes overly spending time with family and friends or hardly any time at all and getting annoyed. In the midst of all this, deep within me I knew something was not set right as I was trying to do everything but nothing was working….I wasn’t happy….others weren’t happy etc.124408671777sfn0.jpg

Thus came the time I actively took the step to understand time completely. Clear my mind of any personal methods to sort this mess out and take a tour of my day, my priorities, my time and the importance of balance… was the initial gain from the workshop. Currently I have come a long way from what I used to be all with successes and failures, but trying to get consistency was all that mattered. The main aspect of the workshop that has been etched in me is the SMART method of time management. I automatically seem to assess every piece of work or situation. It has gone from being a technique to use to becoming a habit, which has really helped me. It always helps me arrange my time with priorities whilst giving deadlines. Making all my targets SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT and TIME BOUND.

Especially for my action point it worked beautifully. My last two modules being riddled with work was the time to implement it, especially using it on presentations we had to make. The different parts of the presentations had different priorities and thus SMART helped complete the whole task effortlessly. Every time there was something incomplete or over ran the designated time, SMART was used and everything was reassessed.

As I had previously mentioned SMART has helped me achieve the complete CV and vacancy applications. GANT on the other had was used a little before, but has be truly valuable in determining the work regime for my dissertation. I had used the link given in the workshop to prepare an assignment planner, always trying to ensure the deadlines are met. It also helps ease the stress and thought of a huge thesis with so many chapters. Dividing it chapter by chapter has been the key in ensuring I am on target. As of present I have been on target though slow, but having set the deadline for binding and printing 4 days prior to the hand in date I have established a broken down view of what I need to complete and when rather than looking at it as one whole thing, which is a very daunting aspect. For each stage I have ascertained certain targets, how it looks , reads, how many words etc. Thus allowing me to assess the completion and progression onto the next stage.

The biggest success I am proud of is the aspect of lifetime planning. One of main action points was a success. This in the sense that I was able to understand the importance and implications it has. I have succeeded in planning for CVs, vacancies etc , but only when I actually got it done did I realise how I was changing. It was then I realised the control I had on my life. And most of all it personifies my quote from the last post “WHAT WE DO TODAY, CAN IMPROVE ALL OUR TOMORROWS!!!” I truly felt I was no longer a student and am ready to step into the busy world of work. It also gave me the sense of value and confidence that anything is achievable it tackled well and in an organised manner.

tm2Overall from this workshop, I have gained the skills to manage my time more effectively and achieve my objectives more efficiently, e.g. using To-Do List, setting objectives and prioritise tasks. These have been absolutely useful and valuable in obtaining achievements this year, and hopefully brings new achievements in the days to come. Additionally, by determining action points, I have pushed myself to apply the time management techniques I learned into my day-to-day life in order to use those techniques more effectively and maximise the benefits from using those techniques. By carrying out those actions points, I use the To-Do List every day, I always prioritise my tasks whenever I feel I am short in time and I set out my three main objectives of this year which give me guidance on allocating time appropriately this year. I find these exercises gradually improve my time management and give me more free time for other tasks.

Every effective professional works from a daily list. It is the most powerful time management technique ever discovered to increase productivity and improve your organizational skills. Ineffective people, those who are overwhelmed with too many things to do and too little time, either do not use a list or do not refer to a list if they have one in the first place(THE PAST ME). They often resist the idea of writing everything down. As a result, they find themselves continually distracted by ringing phones, interruptions, unexpected emergencies, and e-mail requests.

During my baby steps in time management, when I created my daily list, I began by writing down every single task that I intended to complete over the course of the day. The rule I followed was that I will increase productivity by 25 percent the very first day that I start using a list. This means that I will get two extra hours of productive time in an eight hour day from the simple act of making a list of everything i have to do before I start work. I finally saw how I can bring order out of chaos faster with a list than with any other time management tool over the course of last 3 months. What I realised was that once I had written up my daily lists and begun work, new tasks and responsibilities will come up. Telephone calls will have to be returned. Emails will have to be dealt with etc. But I ensured in every case, write it down on the list before you do it!!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes a task or demand on your time will seem urgent when it comes up. But something that might distract you from your other work regains its true importance when you write it down. An item that is written down on the list next to all your other tasks and responsibilities often doesn’t seem so important after all.tm3

During the weeks after my workshop, I have seen myself often using the To-Do list and the this techniques often prevent me from forgetting important tasks which I always did before. Also, I find myself having clear targets to achieve and knowing how to achieve them, and hence spending my time accordingly. Comparing to before, I did not use to have any objectives and just do whatever came up in my mind and get distracted easily by smalls tasks, I feel I have improve significantly. Finally, being able to prioritise tasks according to my objectives, I have find myself not missing the important deadlines or working non stop at the last minute which I often fail to do before. Although there are still room for improvement, I am impressed by my progress.

Another key aspect I have come to notice and implement in my time management strategy was “Increasing productivity with prime time”. Organize your life so that you are doing creative work during your internal ‘‘prime time.’’ The internal prime time is the time of day, according to your body clock, when you are the most alert and productive. For most people, this is in the morning. For some people, however, it is in the evening. I used to have a prime time of late nights, well technically looking at the clock now it backs my point J. But with respect to my thesis I have come to realise my time is better during the day and by evening I start to wander with other things. Being important that I am aware of my internal prime time, I schedule my most important projects accordingly to increase productivity. My most important work requires that me be at my very best, rested, alert, and creative. What time of the day do you most feel this way? For me the most important work being the THESIS and thus best use of the day from 9 to 4pm.

tm5Additionally I am also aware of external prime time. This is the time when your friends or in this case my supervisor are most readily available. Thus, those days I give some thought to structuring my day for both my external and internal prime times. Finally with my current thesis, I have implemented another feature to my time management portfolio, “LIMITING OF THE READING TIME”. It easy to get immersed into an article and just keep jumping from one to another, and then looking up at the clock it shows 2 hours have gone past. So I dictate how much time to read and so ensure I am writing consistently rather than leaving a mountain to write closer to the date. I also use the speedy reading techniques learnt to improve the time management.

So to finish I also ensure I reward Efficiency With Downtime. I realised that my daily to do list shouldn’t be a list of things I HOPE to get done (if the stars align just right). It should be a realistic list of things I WILL get done. And if I get them all done with time to spare, take time off. Reward myself for good work ethic.

Thus to sum up, a lot has been learnt and a lot of progress has been made. But as always consistency is the issue to work on and in the coming future, I will definitely keep applying the skills I learned from the workshop whilst seeking new methods which might further improve my time management, All together could enable me to achieve my long term objectives more efficiently.

In conclusion this workshop has been a game changer for me this year, proving me useful insight into techniques and issue as well as forcing me to look within and how I might be KILLING MY TIME or JUST NOW GETTING THE MOST OUT OF IT. This workshop has been a time of reflection, assessing what was going wrong in my life, why and how I can improve it. An integral part of it was getting myself organised and understanding the prospect of time as well as also finding the balance that currently I enjoy.tm4

Every day you have 24 hours but what you make of those 24 hours is what defines you!! Hence I can say this workshop has helped me organise myself and my time. I will ensure I practice and develop all the skills and techniques learnt and thus mould a bright future.

Thank you very much Beverley for your insightful workshop and guidance.

Time is the wisest counsellor of all.~ Pericles

Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn. ~ Delmore Schwartz

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.~ Rodin

Time as he grows old teaches many lessons ~ Aeschylus


Kind Regards

Melvin


August 01, 2012

P7 Follow–Up 3: Have you changed? Is TIME your friend now?

Follow-up to Follow–Up 2: From A way of Growing to My choosing to Learn from Melvin's blog


“There is time for everything” - Thomas Edison

“A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life” - Charles Darwin

1086886229_6ca5f10cff.jpgAfter a month’s worth of practices and implementation chances it is about time I write an update on my progress. This time I bring good news for a lot of avenues I was working on. I must say I finally completed my CV and have applied to nearly 3 positions already. Not only the CV but covering letters as well. I was so proud of myself when I finished all of those amongst my other pieces I had to finish and the assignments as well as lectures I had to attend, without forgetting the supervisory meetings and dissertational reading.


I think it just my initial fear of all that work that was overshadowing my ideal of managing time effectively. Currently my values and personality has changed a lot, “I CAN SIT NO LONGER IDEALLY” J Before I could sit for hours just watching TV show episodes one after another following the submission of an assignment. In the last month I have gotten all my work done on time. Ensure they are not just finished but also the reports are designed well. I have also started with a new fitness regime, found time to link up with old friends, making extra time for a close friend and family as well as having a good amount of fun. tm


I think it is all finally coming together and am thoroughly exuberant at the prospect.

After finishing my essays I took an hour to actually set up a timeline and put up a new “Disseration calendar” to make sure I get the most of the month left for the dissertation. I have also established a new goal of getting fit alongside the work over the coming months. I must add I have made a really good start to it.

One issue I still notice is that I still can and have a tendency to actually go on a stretch watching TV shows after the completion of big piece of work. However the good aspect of that is that after an hour and a half soon my mind starting assessing what is to come. I think the idea of balance and utilising time to the best is slowly becoming a habitual aspect of me.

to-do-list2.jpgThe aspect of keeping a ‘To do list’ is a mental list at times, but I am starting to write it down on the calendar I have put up. Even the exercise sessions I undertake mark it once complete to stay on track for my goal.



Using my Smartphone to the fullest, also sees me setting reminders for important event each day or even for deadlines that are far away. Recently I have been making time to talk to a new person who was not a part of the time calculation previously. I must say after the first few occasions it has become a very time consuming thing, as on occasion I would see messages throughout the day and calls lasting a good while J ( I can’t complain J but as I realised previously if I need to get all my work and decided goals for the day, I just will have to modulate the time spent talking J).

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Personally handling my time, I have become better at accommodating other around my time and work, redefined myself.Previously, I was prioritising others before my time and work. This has however changed with me work and time at the centre and others around it.


Writing this blog post can illustrate poor time management, however it is quite the opposite and mainly because I was laying awake and thought of the best way to use the time I have until I feel sleepy againJ . Losing sleep for the last 4 days with about 4-5 hour each day, I just decided to take some “Re-BOOT” sleep time. Considering I had church, handing in of an essay, Basketball society and a family get together for my niece last night I slept in quite a lot today nearly 14 hours of sleep…. A crazy duration but it helped me catch up on some well deserved lost sleep and reboot after all the craziness as now begins the one and only task of writing my ‘Thesis”. So just a one off…….. sleeping that much is no good for any person and I make a loss on fitness as well loose so much time, MY TIME , THAT I DEFINITELY CAN’T SPEND DOING NOTHING J


whs

“Your greatest resource is your time”

- Brian Tracy


Best Regards

Melvin Jose


June 25, 2012

Follow–Up 2: From A way of Growing to My choosing to Learn

Follow-up to P7 Organising ourselves and our time from Melvin's blog

Follow-Up 2: "There are never enough hours in a day, but always too many days before Saturday"

As having taken nearly 20 days for my follow up to give an update on my progress, I clearly haven’t been able to completely tackle my the issue of organisation. However being a really busy set of weeks I cannot firmly say the above statement is completely true.

So in this update I have both good and bad news. The bad news is that I did not organise the work for my last module’s essay and thus ended up doing the last minute ‘All nighter’ once again, something I really was hoping to overcome, even though I finished my essay on time. The other issue is that I still have not applied for vacancies and always end up putting them off, primarily because I end up not managing my workload effectively and so am tired by the time I’m home every day.

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Nevertheless there are a number of good notes to brighten up this gloomy failure ridden atmosphere . I have started to implement the SMART system into my work. Though with the essay it might seem to be working poorly, it hasn’t. I have actually been able to spend all the time needed on the essay do enough reading and note taking as I started early and finished comfortably early morning, 3AM. Only draw back was the 3AM finish which I really didn’t want to do.

Another good point is that I have effectively been able to create GANT timeline for the dissertation which I will be tackling from next week. Adding to this I can honestly say I have been able to be more organised that how I used to be as I’m less stress when doing the different things I have to, as I have a clear prior knowledge of what has to be done every day. The negative aspect of this is that I also know what the latest date to leave something is, and sometimes I end up leaving it ( as in the case of the essay). Getting the every day’s to do list is very hard and is an important factor that I try to overcome every day. I have also realised at this stage of the academic year, I am a little worried about job, essays etc and thus I try to compress and fit too much into my everyday list. This could be something to improve to achieve better time management and get more organisation. Even though the CV is not perfectly completed I have completed my online Linked in profile and partly done my CV, a first step. Alongside this I have also aimed to organise my work in such a way as to allow me time to apply for vacancies by the end of this week.

A very pleasant point that I have been achieving is a healthy balance between Work time and Play time, between friends/family and work. I have also been able to set some time apart everyday just for myself to completely RESET myself. This has proved to be very effective at helping me give a little bit more to get everything done as well as that assess WORK DONE and LEFT TO DO and Prioritisation.

I believe that I am on the road to better organisation, however this road is always full of hurdles, ups and downs as well as points where I will have to give my MAXIMUM. Thus even though when reaching my threshold, I have to focus on what I have been achieving, as even the smallest victory such as the LinkedIn profile is very motivating to reach my goal of being able to organise, manage time and myself.

Best Regards b

Melvin Jose


June 02, 2012

P7 Organising ourselves and our time

Follow-Up 1: Self Reflection

Considering that I had always managed to leave assignments to the last as well as getting it just in time, the need for assessing my time-management was in order. Although something I’ve worked on previously throughout the year, it wasn’t until the workshop that I was able to understand my success stealers and stress triggers, ‘unstructured time distribution’ leading to poor completion of work.

The workshop allowed me to understand the basic time management tools and skills, as well as learn the different types of planning (Macro and Micro) alongside the reality of life which requires a balance of everything, family/friends to university obligations. We were also taught about the importance of prioritisation and scheduling to clarify and ascertain our objectives, specifically applying the ‘SMART technique’ .

Although the workshop is reminiscent of the views of academic professors and teachers, it provided a more detailed and clearer picture of my current standing, allowing me to step back and develop steps needed to make better use of the time every day.

With a very intensely packed year encompassing 12 modules, each of which consisted of reports, presentations and exams, as well as a dissertation accounting for nearly half of the degree my workload is very high. This alongside an active social and family life, the need for time management was vital as always one was sacrificed for another. Thus, previously I have tried to tackle it using a diary as a time management tool recording all important deadlines and events. However, as of recent I have noticed my use of the diary was sparse and poorly kept up to date. In turn I have resorted to using a smart phone to maintain an up to date and on the go ‘time-management tool’, with alarms to alert me to events.

In addition I also aimed to decipher the reason behind me procrastinating , being distracted by everything else except do the work needed. So leaving less time for work, thus being stressed out and having to sacrifice the balance of things to keep to deadlines. Hence the need to prioritise.

Prioritisation technique

Thus in short, following this workshop I plan to intricately follow the developed ‘Action Points’ , which include

  • Make good use of SMART in everyday situations, especially with respect to managing work for the next two modules, alongside lifetime planning (completing CV and start applying for vacancies).
  • Use of macro and micro planning, also GANT charts, to set a course of action for my dissertation (stages of the dissertation, completion dates for each stage, understand how will I ascertain if I have achieved completion of each stage).
  • Start to develop lifetime planning and set goals to achieve them (Develop and complete my CV, research job vacancies, start applying and planning next steps following Masters).
  • Finally try to maintain a balance between ‘Work-Family-Friends’

Thank You Beverley for a very useful workshop

Best Regards

Melvin Jose


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