This post has been a long time coming but, given that I am tangled up with university assignments all due in for next week I thought it might be a good time to talk about my work mentality as it stands at the moment.
I find myself in a strange place, as far as education goes, because I take my education very seriously but I don’t feel the same way about university. I won’t deliver my diatribe on university right now as I want to stay on topic but I will say that the actual contents of a university degree are completely pointless for the vast majority of people in the UK who go to university. I do maths. Statistically, 50% of the people on my course will become accountants after university. After they get their qualification from university they will then have to take exams to become a qualified accountant which have nothing to with the maths they learnt at university. Why not skip the 3 years and crippling debt and just become qualified as an accountant. As a real kick in the teeth, there is an accountancy degree course at my university. Accounting firms prefer to hire people with maths degrees rather than accountancy degrees for some reason that is unknown to me. An accountancy degree almost isn’t worth the paper it is written on, so why do they take it?
But anyway, I don’t take university seriously. I turn up to around 50% of my lectures and these are the ones that I have deemed to be useful to me. The rest of the lectures I work from home and, from discussing things with my course mates, this has done me a world of good. I understand the course better than them, I can do assignments and coursework much more easily, I’m not pressured to rush through problem sheets to try and get them done in the classroom-lessons we have and I don’t waste the time going to and from university to go to lectures. On top of that, I naturally work better on my own as there is no one to distract me from doing the problems or making notes. I want to pass my degree and I want to get a good grade at the end as well. The best way for me to do that is to ignore a large part of my teacher’s advice and do things my way. I find that this leaves me very stress free as everything, I feel, is by my own choice even though I have deadlines to meet.
This also leaves me with a lot more time which I can dedicate to things that I value more highly but still class as work. This blog, for example, I take very seriously and it also occasionally does lead to proper paid work. When I write an article that I think is really good I send it off to websites for them to consider publishing. However, when doing things like this I think it is important to establish what you want to get out of them.
My “mission statement,” with this blog is two fold. I want to write an 800-word article every day. If I don’t manage that I usually have a good reason for it. At the moment, for example, I feel I have waned a lot in keeping this blog updated seven days a week but I have been busy with the previously mentioned university work, my birthday, my best friend’s birthday and a few other, smaller things that I don’t want to get into. Secondly, I am planning for NaNoWriMo this year. Admittedly, a lot of that is just batting ideas back and forth in my head while I zone out in a video game, but I do get those moments when everything comes together and I have a perfect scene in my head and I have to scribble it down before it leaves my mind forever.
But now onto perhaps more useful things about how I work. I like to live in organised chaos. To me this means that, while I work, I can make things as messy as possible. I only have a small desk but, when doing maths, I often have a lot of notes to go through and so my room gets very cluttered. It doesn’t distract me because I am focused on my work. However, when I am done I tidy up and make things neat again. It’s worth mentioning that, for the first time in my life, I have a room where I can stretch my arms out and do a 360 without hitting the walls or furniture and I want to make sure that I keep this rarely large me-space clutter free.
Secondly, if I need something done that I don’t want to do and will take a long time I do it at the end of the day. I know this is counter intuitive for some people but, for me, if I need to get something done and it’s late at night, the objective of sleep powers me through and gets me to do the work efficiently. It’s a lot easier for me to put off sleep and stay up late (something that has always given me a certain level of satisfaction) than put off work. I also find it immensely rewarding that, after I finish the work at 2am or so, I can do whatever I want before bed.
Lastly, I know what’s going on in my life and how these things are prioritised. I have my school assignments (2/5 done) which are top priority. I have a bet on with my friend in Dota 2, and generally Dota 2 in general is a high priority for me. I have this blog. I have NaNoWriMo. Then I have “miscellaneous,” which are usually open and shut tasks like filling my sketch book with drawings. These are tasks that can be started and finished in an hour or so. Everything else is relaxation.
As a kind of postscript, I should say that I avoid things that are obvious distractions. Over summer, when I had a lot of time on my hands, I started using Imgur. No offense to Imgur, but something that proudly describes itself as a way/place to waste time shouldn’t be something people regard highly. If I do go on it now, which is very rare, I only browse the front page before I close the tab. It should also be noted that I consider watching series and playing games as relaxation rather than distractions. I’m not one of those people who watches TV to zone out. I can’t watch things that are only “watchable,” because I find myself wanting to do something else. I have to be getting something from the show or I will stop watching it. Among the other things that I do class as distractions: FaceBook and checking my emails. It really frustrates me that I still find myself opening them as often as I do. I should really only open either once per day. In reality you won’t miss anything.