One. Massive. Semester.
Taking a step back from it all now, this last semester was indeed challenging. I’ve tried new things. I’ve learnt A LOT. Yes, it has been one, giant leap for my LIS career.
While only enrolled in one subject (focusing on web content), I also conducted a small research project of my own and produced my first conference paper, to be presented at the New Librarians’ Symposium (NLS5), held in Perth later this year. Not to mention my full-time paid work, organising events for ALIA New Graduates group and writing an article for the association’s ‘InCite’ magazine. Phew!
How did I deal with it? Well, to be honest I just kept truckin’ through it. Yes, deadlines were tough, and yes, I did run out of ‘steam’ towards the end. But I really do believe I kept a fair amount of focus on tasks throughout the entire time. Again, how? You ask. I planned well and was systematic. Simple. Implementation of the ‘Getting Things Done’ methodology assisted with making me stop and think about the next actions required for both my subject and research project. I input these into my task manager app on my phone (which also syncs to my Mac). A weekly review of tasks ahead enabled me to manage my (huge) workload, re-schedule and juggle tasks around as needed. I used project folders (or document wallets), organised on a rack, to hold all my notes, readings, etc pertaining to each. Flexible hours at work were a bonus. Even with my systematic approach, I ran into hiccups and mistakes.
I’d never started or written a blog before.
I’d never written a conference paper before.
I’d never written an article for ALIA’s InCite before.
I’d little background knowledge prior to commencing my Masters subject.
I’d never formally gathered data before for a REAL project/ conference paper.
That’s a few ‘firsts’.
Notice that these ‘firsts’ are primarily focused on writing? Ah ha! Written communication was a skill I identified as needing improvement at the beginning of the year. I’ve taken up every reasonable opportunity to write. As a professional (and perhaps academic in-the-making), I need to write well.
Guaranteed, I make life hard on myself. But if it wasn’t hard, everybody would be doing it! If I want to learn about something, information architecture for example, I’ll go learn as much as possible. That’s just how I am. I’m also privileged to have academic staff (on hand) to make me feel comfortable to discover things for myself.
The most significant ‘take aways’ from what I’ve learnt this semester are: -
- content management and systems
- information architecture
- web content governance
- developing skills in HTML
- connectivism and personal learning networks
- conference writing process
Learning about content management systems and information architecture have coincided with projects I’ve instigated at work in the technical library. This has worked out really well as I believe I’m now informed with the basic, necessary knowledge to proceed.
Looking to next semester, I’ll again be enrolled in one subject which will compliment my newly found interest in information architecture, and presenting my paper on Personal Learning Networks at NLS5. I feel I need a bit of a break, a breather.
Between now and then, I intend to catch up on and finish readings for CCK11, read up about conducting research, and reassess skills development and create a plan for the next six months.
There’s not much I would change about my approach to my workload. I guess the one thing I would like to improve is my attention to detail, and deciding on a method and sticking to it. From something as simple as recording and tracking research articles I’ve read, to reviewing my task list.
The ‘keys’ I’ve learnt these last few months are: -
- Know your (productivity) limits.
- Be systematic and proactive.
- Identify next actions – look at the tasks/steps required, don’t view the whole project as a single task.
- Look forward, not backwards – focus on what you can do, not dwell on how you may have screwed up.
One, giant leap. Yes, indeed.
I’ve been challenged.