Friday, 4 September 2015


It's strange, isn't it? How, during the summer holidays, when you'd think I'd have masses of time to do things, I get behind with my Rudai 23 modules and yet, now back at work (and the start of a new school year - always a (more) manic time for us librarians!), I'm catching up.

But I've noticed that this is how I work. When I haven't got deadlines to meet or I'm not involved in multiple projects, my brain sort of switches off and I take longer to do things. I procrastinate - over the simplest of decisions, I am easily distracted (well, let's say "more" easily distracted as it doesn't take much to set me off on a different path), I dither. And yet when my to-do list starts to look unmanageable, everything seems to click into gear and I'm active and decisive.

Thing 11 is a chance to catch up and reflect, and has asked questions of the participants. Are you up-to-date and have you skipped things? Why? What is holding you back? How do you manage your time?

Well, as thing 11 is dated 20 August and I am writing this on 4 September then the simple answer to the former question is no. I did consider skipping the last couple of activities but, to me, that would be cheating, I'd feel as if I hadn't done the course properly, so I wanted to do them but kept putting them off.

Why? Thinking about this, I realise it's because they were more technically based. They involved downloading and using software I was unfamiliar with - surely the whole point of this MOOC - but doing this on your personal computer and on your own is a bit daunting; as I mentioned before, I'm always concerned that I'll be met with the dreaded blue screen. Or manage to wipe out something important. Or my computer will start making a strange noise! I also know that, whilst I'm happy using computers all day long, I just want them to work, I'm not interested in the mechanics of how they do things. It's a bit like somebody loving to eat cakes but not being bothered about baking process that produced them.

When I do things, I like them to have a purpose. I love to knit yet one of the things I don't like doing is creating a tension square at the beginning. If I'm using a standard wool then I often don't bother but, as any knitter knows, getting the tension wrong is a disaster ... unless it doesn't matter what size the garment turns out to be. And I'm like this with learning about new applications. I'll be slightly interested in what they do but if I'm not going to use it either at home or at work, if it doesn't have an immediate use then I'll switch off. I would much rather learn at the point of use ... besides, things change so often in the IT world then it's likely anything I do know would soon be out-of-date. So all I really want for some things is a generic overview rather than a detailed how-to.

I've also been thinking about what else holds me back. Because I definitely don't get everything done on that list! Thing is, the list is probably too big to begin with, it's usually full of ideas for projects that I never seem to get around to. If I'm committed to something, then it will be done. But if it's just something vague, a possibility, then it gets pushed down lower and lower until it drops off the bottom. Or I realise that it would have worked when I first thought of the idea six months ago but now it's been overtaken by other events so it gets crossed off. Part of the reason why this happens is the quantity on the list and not enough time to do everything but I think a big influence is my need for something to be perfect before I let it loose. I need to accept that sometimes you have to go with "good enough".

As for time management, I'm quite good at that. I can prioritise, get things done by deadlines, manage my tasks - thinking about how I work through each of the Rudai 23 modules, I:
* Read the email and follow any links in it.
* Make notes (usually a list) about what I need to do to complete the module. This acts as a visual reminder.
* I also make notes for the blog as I do my readings, if appropriate or relevant.
* Then do the task and write the blog.

The next three modules are sitting in my inbox and looking at the titles, I'm think I'm going to enjoy these so don't anticipate any further "putting off"!

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