Jocellyn's Blog

Little reflection on productivity

Being a student at the University of Gothenburg makes me think about productivity and the ability to manage time well and learn effectively. Especially important are these skills when you find yourself in a situation like me, when studying international master course you do not understand and that is based on a reading of plenty professional articles that simply can not keep up finish. You just have to learn how to be organised.

For me a simple rule following the philosophy of Tim Ferriss, applies. I devote to study only a limited amount of time. I’m trying to concentrate on important things and emit unnecessary ones, which is the majority. At least in political science, the scientific articles you must read as a whole rather than concentrating on the words. And that’s what I’m doing, I’ll read the introduction and conclusion, and then in my own words summarize content of the article in a few sentences. Usually it is sufficient and if not, whenever I can go back to the article and look for details. The important thing is not to add an extra work for yourself and rely on your abilities.

In addition, everything looks worse in the beginning. When I started this course I was alsmot sure I will have to quit. Now I think I’ll be OK, even if the reading is still just as difficult, and I know that politics still just a little. The difference is that in the beginning you do not realize that most things sounds a lot more complicated than they are. Words have the power to obscure the reality and that we can use. I’ll give you one with the school unrelated example that illustrates this well:

I run an NGO which promotes education, volunteering and training oportunities for young people. If you take a look to our website, you may get the impression, that we are doing well. We receive emails from people who would like to work with us or who we would like to pay for advertising. People view us as professionals, because we have a nice website, a lot of activities and we can speak nicely about ourself and our misson. But the truth is that we are only 3 students who write articles at home when they have nothing to do. No office, no paid staff, no PR. That does not mean that our work is not useful, simply it means that from a bigger distance you can see something more complicated or more professional than it really is.

As I wrote in the previous article, the biggest enemy is usually your own mind. It is the same in this case. When you want to be productive you have to:

select the important parts, devote to work or study just a limited time (but with hight concentration) be aware that your work may just seem to be difficult, but if you named it in other words, it could suddenly seem more humane. be prepared to skip something or to not know. You are a human, not a machine. You can not know everything. Remember, the one who know the least is the one who can learn the most. And the fun part at the end: other people (classmates) usually also do not know, also have fears and also have problems managing learning. You just do not see it.


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