Protecting your time – Response

I really like dreadsci’s post from Monday about protecting your time. Mainly, because it’s something that is super important, but that a lot of us rarely do. Instead, we worry that if we aren’t “stepping up to the plate” than whatever we’re not helping with is either not going to get done, will get done (but badly), and may cease to exist in the future.

Preparation So, the first step is to come up with your list of top priorities/obligations and goals.This sounds like it should be easy, but I actually find it really hard to do. I can’t seem to decide what the right granularity is for the task. Finish my PhD is one of my priorities. But thinking of it at that level, doesn’t at all provide any context as to how involved this task really is. And, I don’t actually know what all the steps left are (is this current experiment the final one?).

After some brainstorming, I have the start of a list:

  • Finish my PhD
  • Get start-up off the ground and making money
  • Exercise/get healthier
  • Have a life

Dreadsci mentions picking (at most) your top three. Right now, I would say the way I’ve been working, the first two have been the only ones I’ve been making an actual priority. But, the lack of the last two, is causing problems with the top two. I don’t know how to narrow the list down. The last one has rarely been a priority for me over the last few years, and I think that’s starting to take a bigger and bigger toll. And probably should be number one on the list. Which seems a bit crazy to say, since it’s hard to have a life without a career/money. That, and I’ve never been the social butterfly type of person.

The top three should probably be finishing, start-up and exercise. But, I kind of think the finish one is the one I should drop instead – that doesn’t mean don’t finish. Just not be so concerned about when I will finish, and balance the other tasks on the way.

Next up, I’m suppose to come up with an anthem or phrase to describe my work. Well, this becomes difficult, because to be honest, lately (for a long while?) I’ve actually held the feelings that my (research) work is generally crap, no one will ever use it, and I have no idea why I’m doing it. Which makes it hard to make it sound grandiose and important without feeling like I’m just BS-ing. So for now, I’m skipping this step. Because I think (know) I need to be in a better mindset to do so.

Daily When it comes to dailies, I really like the idea, that once a day you put something important to you ahead of everything else. It goes back to something I’ve tried to do in the past, but have never managed to make it into a regular habit – which is scheduling things like exercise right onto my calendar so that they get the same level of importance as other meetings. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the need to block of some time most (every?) day that is completely ‘unstructured’ free time. Time where I can do whatever I want, without feeling guilty.

Regularly Finally, there are two tasks left to do. One, say no to stuff (which I’m actually getting better at) and two, to share successes (including when you say no to something). So, to start off, I will share my most recent success: our start-up is going to get mentioned in a news article about an entrepreneur stuff going on at the university (yay for free exposure).

Has anyone taken on this challenge? If you’re using HabitRPG, you can actually join the challenge there.


3 thoughts on “Protecting your time – Response

  1. Fantastic post! Love the honesty in how you’re feeling with your work…I think if you take a breather and place some of the other goals at the forefront like you mentioned you might re-discover your passion for your topic. That’s just my thought anyway 🙂

    Also, a good way to kill two birds with one stone is to join a walking or a running club at your local running store. You can get some activity in while being social! I’m not much of a social butterfly myself, but I’ve always been able to find a couple of people I connect with; there’s such a varied crowd! And on days where you don’t feel like being as social it’s great….put your headphones in and run hard!!

    • Thanks. 🙂 I’ve done the running club in the past. Trained for a couple of half marathons that way – but I’ve never been able to stick with it. I blame the stupidly cold Canadian winters. I have thought about joining again this spring/summer. I’m definitely not in great running shape anymore (:() and I know my lack of exercise recently is taking a toll on my mental health. Also, mixing with people who aren’t connected to grad school/work is a really nice break.

      • Ahh yes the cold here really can put a damper on things! The great thing about being out of shape is that you can start progressing again really quickly 😉 I find being with a group of strangers slightly terrifying, yet at the same time refreshing.

        I wish you all the best with your endeavours!

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