Friday, 8 April 2011

Keeping the balls in the air . . .

I like to juggle, I can bust out a pretty tidy mills mess for any juggling enthusiasts, but like many of my hobbies it's taken a back seat over the last few years, specifically from September to May. My University course runs form September to May, coincidence? I think not! In order to pay my way through the LL.B I'm working full time. I'm worried about having a CV that's not brimming with legal experience so I'm trying to pick up as many extras as I can. To that end in my 1st year I volunteered two afternoons per week at a law firm, in 2nd year I joined the mooting society and made the quarter final of the internal competition, hurrah! The thing is, it's not easy, being committed for so much of my time is, well, time consuming!

In essence this post is about time management and motivation, for me the two are closely linked. It's hard to get anything done when you're not motivated, and with so much to do in so little time it's also hard to get anything done without being organised. When I'm organised and have a schedule I feel a lot more motivated, It's circular.

I learned a lot about time management a few years ago, I was working for a large company in an incredibly entrepreneurial environment. I often found myself working 65+ hours per week and doing a wide variety of tasks, from conducting seminars and talks to having meetings with clients and organising my staff. The biggest thing I learned, and this probably won't come as a massive surprise, was the importance of a well kept diary. As smart phones were in their infancy, I used a palm pilot, an electronic diary/organiser which was fantastic, until one day it crashed. I was utterly lost, from that day forward I've been a big fan of using a paper diary. The battery never dies, it'll never crash, and it's a lot cheaper to replace if you loose it!

When I've got a pretty full list of jobs demanding my attention, and I'm trying to work out what one to do first I try to always go for the one I want to do least, that awkward niggley one. I do this because getting it out of the way can be very liberating as the sense of dread is gone and the rest of the jobs feel much less of a chore! Another legal blogger Michelle Hynes calls this swallowing a frog, a name which I quite like!

I like to try to work/study with other people, which is yet another thing to organise. The benefits of group study are massive, it can often allow you to see things you'd miss on your own as well as help your understanding through discussion and interpretation of other peoples perspectives, but that's not all! I find it's a good motivator, I don't like being the one who's shown up empty handed so before a group session I'm more likely to get some work done. Also I'm quite competitive and I think my study buddies are a little more high flying academically than me, so it forces me to raise the bar on myself to keep up.  

And that's it, don't procrastinate, keep a good diary, work hard in good company and you can't go too far wrong! 


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