This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Sunday, 01 July 2007

WOW skills in the real world of work

One of the most useful, practical sessions we had during WOW was Janet's presentations on time management. I think it's one of the most important skills to master.

So far, there hasn't been a dull moment at work, and there's never been a time when I've had nothing to do. People often ask for things they need done, usually when I have an existing project. I'm learning to juggle things in the order of their priority - mentally picturing the rocks and sand as I do. To help with this, it's important to ask whoever gives you the task what your deadline is.

During our WOW presentations, Dr van Zyl brought up the point that your time is often not controlled only by you - there are other people who impact on your decisions. This is true of the workplace environment.

For example, on Monday myself and Thobeka were asked to compile a media analysis of the coverage given to a company in the last twelve months, to be done by Friday lunch time. By Thursday morning, I still had quite a bit to do, and had planned to spend most of the day working on it. However, when I arrived at the office that morning I was asked to help compile a training pack as a matter of urgency. This took me most of the day, which meant that I wasn't able to spend much time on my work for Friday. I arrived home feeling frustrated. I went into the office early on Friday and was able to complete it on time.

Another challenge for me has been learning to complete tasks quickly. I've always been a slow worker, and so far, this hasn't mattered when I've been doing essays for varsity, as no one else depended on what I produced. But now, the workplace is fast-paced, and I need to learn to work quickly, while still producing a quality product. This includes learning to focus on what I'm doing and not get distracted by the other things that are happening around me.

I think this internship is the start of a lifelong journey towards mastering time management!


Valentin said...

Essentially, the "ability to focus" is an important skill people need to learn nowadays, especially at the work-place.
I am happy that you are getting there, Susan.
Good luck!

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

You said it! Time management is a bug bear. Nevertheless your approach is practical and achievable. Prioritise!! Also make room for contingencies. As you rightly point out in the work place unless you're the head honcho, your time is basically not your own to do with as you please. Being able to multi-task is also a great skill to have.