Tuesday, February 8, 2011


That sounds like the title of another Linkin Park album. (for those clueless, Reanimation was the actual name and all they did was remix previously written songs. Was OK but somewhat a lie to fans - I would say like myself, but by then I had given up title of "Fan")

Anyhow, I'm sorry for the long pause in between posts. Lots going on that I have wanted to share, and lots I have been sharing through random emails to folks here/there so now I'm going to take a minute to gather those thoughts and post them (probably in a few posts). I've actually been trying to reach out on a personal level to most of you...

First off, I have been re-evaluating things in general, while at INSEAD. Some of these semi-philosophical moments, I have shared with you, whilst others I have been trying to somehow categorize in my own brain so I could share them with you... yes, it is all about you! Aren't you delighted? I am. (And now I'm hoping it isn't too silent - i.e. there's at least one reader out there *cricket... *cricket... :)

BUT (IRRR)regardless, here's a recent thing that I've only just come to understand myself. The idea of being "busy" has always been explained to us in a certain context. Our whole lives we've been "busy" with work so we couldn't go out to watch a movie, or vice versa ;)

And after several years of living my own life through school, college, and my first job, I really had a grasp on the boundaries of my busy-ness, that is to say - I knew my limit. When I knew "OK I'm really busy and need to sit down, take a deep breath, and re-prioritize."

Those of you who know me well (i.e. all of you reading this) are probably laughing to yourself thinking, "how is that possible? all he knows how to do is over-commit & spread himself thin!" but truth be told I've been working on that weakness and taking it quite seriously the past few years.

Only to be smacked in the face at INSEAD with a realization that I should've waited to "work" on this "weakness!"

First off, I do not want to be a jack-of-all-trades because that implies king-of-none. Secondly, I find that the time I'm spending on one endeavor is really eating up the time that I could be spending on a skill that, with some refinement, becomes a talent (using those terms loosely). And finally, it is just plain tiring!

At my old job, of which many of you know a little here/there, there's this idea that if you're in prolonged moments of distress - i.e. the moment is lasting a good 12-18 months, you start to find new ways to deal with your distress.

I find that to be where I am now. Don't get me wrong - I am not in distress in the way you might be assuming - i.e. this is a cry for help. Far from it. I am, however, learning about what constitutes being busy, what I want to get done with my time, how to prioritize, and what the e/affects can/are/will be. I am not sure I have really figured it out down to a science, but personally, I am starting to feel much better about things.

I have been needing to spread myself quite thin, but I have also been using this technique that my group and I discussed, with the help of our friendly neighborhood frenchman (WATA!) to realize that sometimes 80% of a goal is 100% - that is to say, if you've got 5 chores to do on a Sunday, and you're working meticulously on all 5, then there's a very high probability that you are not going to finish 2 out of the 5 chores, which then gets pushed off to next week, par exemple. Bascially, there is a 100% chance you will not complete these chores.

Now you ask yourself, OK what would I do if those 5 chores became 5 homework assignments and the 1 day remains. This is not even a matter of being prepared or thinking ahead or planning. You literally were told at 11:59pm on Saturday that you had to turn in 5 assignments by 11:59pm on Sunday. Now what?

THAT is real prioritization. And you have to ask yourself some very important questions - and if you're working in a group - you have to ask align your priorities accordingly. That is not to say don't try/work hard/meticulously or do a shabby job. It is just a fact of life. Do what you can at a good pace, with good results, and work through each problem.

Sometimes you have the option of saying, I will not do 2 out of 5 chores - laundry can be done next week. But when you have 5 deliverables for 5 professors, it is a different story.

And to be honest, that is when you forget about the grade and start concentrating about the learning. You start to really want to learn and appreciate what you are learning and assimilate the knowledge in a way, that in the past, has been very different.

OK this post has no visual aids or exciting pictures and just text about being busy, so I believe that I have now lost you. Here's something to pick up the spirits:

XKCD - knowing just what to say when you need it most... (http://xkcd.com/170/)

Now that I have you back, here's the ending point of this discussion: slowly but surely through the first period of classes and activities at INSEAD, I have had to prioritize between family, school, internships, social engagements, and personal time. At times, I have not been able to say "I will put this off to later" - it is either I am not doing this or I am doing this with the available time I have and really doing a great job at it. Personally I don't like to turn in something that is not, at least for me, ready to be turned in. However, if some of the edges of the drawing are rough (to be highly simplistic), I have learned to pick my battles and I think through this refinement, I'm finding out that P1 is challenging me to learn about time management in preparation for the next 4 periods where I'll be even further into the job hunt, while taking very important course...

I'm learning how to get a lot done with very little time with very little repercussions for not having done 100%. In that time, I'm also learning how to refine the "80%" so that in the same amount of time I got only 4/5 of something done, I can actually do 5/5. I truly believe that. Hence the re-evaluation. And it is exciting to feel so completely free from something as binding as grades - granted I am concerned about my performance, but I also believe, quite strongly, that it will be echoed by what I learn if I'm truly learning...

1 comment:

  1. So, what was it that is "TB added" which was supposed to lift the readers' spirits ? :-). I didn't see anything but really enjoyed the post.