The Missing Piece

November 30, 2009

Myths about time management: part 2

Earlier, I wrote about how when it comes to completing a college application or advancing a work goal — myths about time management are many.
Here is part two of the blog post which tries to interpret time myths that may keep us from project productivity.
Myth 3: Important tasks take a long time
 
Important tasks that we are passionate about doing can consume most hours of our day, but if we are compiling information on a deadline for college or for a professional report, then we want to quicken the time it takes to complete the tasks.
What I learned from journalism is that important tasks can be done in faster paces if you can outline the beginning and end of that task. It’s what one news professor who used to work for a daily paper where reporters had to write three-to-four stories a day, told me:
 “I’d be out in the field, reporting a story, and before I arrived back at the paper, I’d outline the entire story in the car, the beginning, the middle, the end, and who said what. Once at the newspaper, I could just write and save lots of time.”
Myth 4:  Avoiding problems saves you time
 
When I was applying to Columbia University’s graduate journalism school,
I took three months to write my personal essay about my life and interests–
three months because I had a big problem: deciding what parts of my life
were essential and compelling to tell was a huge exercise in deciphering
a million big and little events.
The problem grew bigger and bigger as I shared my essay with different friends and accepted their criticism that my essay drafts were “all over the place” or “not clear.”
At first, I tried avoiding the problem by writing differently, but in reality, I had to get confident in selecting just one storyline from my life and committing to it.
When I faced down my problem of deciding what to write, instead of writing around my indecision, I completed my biographical essay in three hours and handed in my application, which was successful.
The ultimate essay was about how my hair, coiled and springy, was a metaphor for my childhood of tangled identities and talents, which unlocked their potential the more and more I gained pride in my hair and my direction. So I say, if you have a problem, meet it face to face. Working through problems will empower your time with the speed of
finding solutions.
–Malena Amusa
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