in Thoughts

A Couple Of Lessons I’ve Learnt At Work Over The Past Few Weeks

The last two weeks have been really horrible. I’ve been working late nights, rushing deadlines, training for the upcoming performance at Commencement and most importantly, not getting enough rest. So my body finally gave way, and I’ve been sick since Saturday.

Firstly, I really would like to apologize for the severe lack of updates on the blog. I know I’ve promised to write posts on how I’ve managed to increase my focus and my own productivity through designing the environment around me. I’ll get back to writing those posts once I’ve cleared the backlog at work.

Secondly, I’d like to just take some time to share a couple of things I’ve learnt at work, over the past two weeks. You’ll probably find this useful.

Learn how to effectively manage your own production time

I never thought doing so was important until I was already 6 feet under, digging my own grave by promising deadlines that I couldn’t meet. A lot of the things I’m doing at work now is relatively, if not completely new to me. And because the tasks are new, I haven’t really been able to estimate a good production timeline, which is really crucial, because you always have to know when you’ll be able to deliver your finished work.

What happened was, when repeatedly asked when I could complete Task X or Y or Z by. I gave an answer like “Oh, I should be able to get it done in 2 days“.┬áInstead of properly considering how much time I actually had on my hands to complete those tasks and give a realistic answer.

In the end, I had a slew of deadlines that kept piling up and were impossible to meet. It really was a time bomb waiting to explode.

However, I managed to rectify this quickly once I got into the hang of things. By taking time to consider how quickly I could finish a given task at work, and by managing my superior’s expectations of how quickly I could get work done, things started falling into place.

Lesson learnt: Never over-promise. It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver. Always keep track of how quickly you can complete tasks, so that you can translate that into a realistic timeline of deliverable.

Always be clear of what your task involves

There’s nothing worse than putting in hours of hard work into something, and realizing that none of it matters, because you’ve gone out of the scope.┬áIt’s really kind of like in University or College, when you don’t get a clear picture of what the essay question is asking for, and you write a 20 page report that does not answer the question.

This lesson is so intuitive and simple, but many of us, even I, tend to overlook it because we don’t like to look stupid asking “stupid” questions and also because more often than not, we’re simply too afraid to ask or clarify.

When deadlines are coming in one after another at work or in school, you really don’t want to be wasting time and effort on something that has absolutely no relevance to what you’re supposed to be doing. This problem can easily be avoided by clarifying your tasks/question/job.

Lesson learnt: Don’t be afraid if someone ridicules you for clarifying your brief. You’re not at fault. He/she is. Never remain silent if you’re unsure, always seek to ask and clarify.

Get ample rest

I don’t think this needs any further explanation. Without rest, we can’t function. If we can’t function, we can’t deliver. The more mentally and physically tired we become, the more we lose focus and that’s when our bodies eventually give way.

I know it’s hard to get enough rest when there’s so much to do, even I’m having a tough time getting this straight. But I really think having ample rest goes a long way to helping you stay focused and productive at work.

If you can squeeze that extra hour of sleep in to sleep at 130am instead of 2am, do it!

Lesson learnt: Sleep is not for the week, because the strongest get the best sleep.

Maybe this is just me ranting on for not having blogged for so long, but you’ll be able to take the lessons I’ve learnt over the past few weeks and apply them to make your life better.

If you’re feeling up to it, tweet me!

  • You’re exactly right. We all tend to underestimate the amount of time it’ll take to finish something and then we’re stuck with a huge backlog of work.

    • Yea it kinda sucks eh. Glad I’m not the only one facing the same problem.