managing self

Know Your Limits

Know your limits, know when to stop.


This is a lesson I’ve learnt over the last few semesters of my LIS studies. I’ve found I cannot work into the wee hours of the morning doing assignment work. I honestly don’t know how people do it. When people say they have to pull an “all nighter”, I have to say I’m not sure if I believe they’d actually do it. Are they for real?

I remember peers from my undergraduate degree talking about doing “all nighters” the night before an assignment was due. I continue to wonder….how on earth do these people’s brains work at that hour?

I believe in quality over quantity. I’d rather do a job right or don’t do it at all. I’ve learnt to recognise when my limit is up, when I simply cannot think about, draw connections with, or just cannot think clearly enough to produce quality work. The last few nights I’ve had to stop at 11pm. I could’ve pushed through the tiredness, kept soldiering on. After all, ‘no pain, no gain’ right? But I stopped. It wasn’t worth the time, my effort, nor my partner’s patience for me the next morning when I unleash my wrath. It’s unfair. When I can’t think anymore, when I see myself (and my thoughts) go in circles, I stop. No amount of tea or port can get me through to the wee hours. I know I can’t do it.

Producing quality work doesn’t come from the amount of hours you put in. It’s what you do with your time that counts. A good balance of task/time management and knowing your limits is key to quality work. Know when to put that pen down, close that book, stop looking for those last few references, shut down your computer. Recognise your limits, listen to your body.

Now I’ll admit my last few posts have not been what I’d call quality, I feel bad about that, but nonetheless I intend to continue to have purpose in every post. I’ve finished and submitted my last assignment for the semester today. So I look forward to writing some ‘deep in thought’ posts as I see out this challenge of blogging everyday in June.

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  1. I am totally with you. With me, it’s not si much that I can’t pull an all nighter and produce ok work. It’s what it does to my brain function the next day. Without eight hours sleep – 7 at a pinch – I don’t function properly the next day. When you need your brain to be firing on all cylinders all the time, you’ve got to know where your boundaries are. Good on you for having that figured out.

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