Since last Thursday I’ve been working around 12 hours per day with school work. But before I start with my story I will say that this is not a complaint about how harsh it was these days. Of course it wasn’t directly a walk in the park when I spent 15 hours working some days and was sick in flu… What I will talk about is instead what I have learned from this, and how to try avoid it for next time—I have never worked this much before ever, and I never want to do that again. This is more of note to myself than to anyone else, I don’t know what I have learned yet since I haven’t had the time to dwell upon that. To do that I need to give you some background story.
It started of with a course that ended late because of the teachers, meaning we needed to work with the final assignment in the same week the two other courses started. This would naturally be fine and it actually was, almost. I did not start working on it directly on the Monday, but on Tuesday and I had to be done by Thursday around 12, although the deadline was Friday night. This was because I went home with my girlfriend to visit my mom, and I did not want to change the date since we had planned things; I did not finish the assignment in time for Thursday but worked on the Train home, and then read through it one last time on Friday before sending it in, nothing too stressful. This however prohibited me for starting to work enough on the other ‘project’ course (since only one had assignment this week).
The next week I had to fix some things for the project course for Wednesday, and I just made it in time (but only working 6-8 hours per day). After this day is when the final workload just increase by 100%. For the second started course—the research course—we had our deadline for the assignment on Monday morning, meaning we had 5 days to complete it which was to find, read, compare some papers, not a very difficult task but it takes some time and of course I did the planning for when to do what in our group—I love planning so I don’t mind Anyway in total I maybe worked around 14 hours on this task. It was the fact that I needed to find a management system for the project course, or I did not need to do it but I was the most experienced with management systems, thus I accepted the task, and I knew that it was only me of the two producers that could do this. First I searched, tested one management system (although this is more ticket/bug report system) and then got back to Trac which is the system I usually am using. Now I had to do a lot of things, first I needed to setup three Trac pages—not that difficult since I have created a script for that—but there were some new plugins that we needed to use which I needed to fix. Next I was required to create two tutorials for the system, but first I had to learn the system myself…
This would still be quite easy and not too much work although there were some problems that occurred. Maybe it would require more than 8 hours per day (including the weekend days), but manageable. OK, this time it’s the real problem I promise… I got sick and had a fever on Sunday–Wednesday; although I got sick at Friday night, it wasn’t a problem until Sunday when the fever hit me. On Sunday I only worked for 6 inefficient hours—I had to go to bed after working around 2 hours since I did not have enough strength to work. This really messed things up—the sickness—because I had calculated that I would have enough time to work on everything with quite a marginal. But due to the fever I could not work efficiently and this resulted in working 15 hours on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the storm has passed and everything went back to almost normal, except I still had some symptoms of the flu…
My conclusions from this is that I would want to avoid this again at all costs; so what could I have done instead—where ‘not getting sick’ isn’t an option. One obvious thing is to start with the assignments immediately, this would have solved some things at least. Another thing is that I tend to take too much responsibility for things, which could be good, but not when you are supposed to work in a group. It is because I have worked with people that don’t want to work or cannot do the task I assign, which caused me to fix things on my own in the last minute; so I’d rather do that myself from the start now; what I think I need to do is starting to trust people more, at least I will do that in work since then almost everyone is serious about his work at least. The third point I can think of now is that I’m too much of a perfectionist, I want everything to be done perfectly which I should really let go of. I want everything in too much detail, as of some days later I got an email from a friend saying their group weren’t going to use the system and I actually think they shouldn’t, so some of my work has been in vain, or at least not all; my group will still use it but I think I will use it in another way now; and if I didn’t setup the system I would never have learned this other way… I think that if I have the time before the next project I start up for a group I will thoroughly try to evaluate what management methods we should use, and try to make it too simple.
As a last thing I noticed that I am capable of really working a lot, I will keep this in mind—although it was because of the deadlines and the stress (stress should be counter-productive?) it has actually been proved that you work less efficiently during stress and a close deadline, but deadlines per se is a great way to get things done, as long as you don’t procrastinate.
If you have read through this I hope that I have maybe helped someone else from not falling into the same trap as me, and that you enjoyed the reading. If not, why are you still reading! Have a nice day!