Thursday, 1 August 2013

The "To Do" List

Just one more exercise to finish and then I will be preparing for assignment three. I'm more or less mid-way through the course now and from previous experience know that I can feel a bit panicky about the amount of work still be to be completed. My self imposed deadline of approximately a year per module has worked well for me on my level one courses - now I'm at level two I can feel the study commitment cranking up a gear. My feedback on assignment two from my tutor, Keith, has just arrived with invaluable insight (as usual) into what I need to work on to improve my image making and other skills.

I'm feeling a bit panicky because I have edits, research, and re-shoots, to do on both of my submitted assignments before they will be ready for assessment. I'm gearing up on pushing the boat out for a full-on assault on assignment three and a conversation has already started with Keith regarding the critical essay for assignment four. Phew! That one year deadline may have to become more flexible at this level of study!

At times like this I find it helps to list out the workload into separate tasks. Breaking down everything into smaller and smaller steps with a priority of "high, medium or low" so that important ones don't slip to the bottom of the list unnoticed. Quite often the first thing I do when beginning a study period is I quickly review the to do list and tick off completed tasks (oh the joy) and re-prioritise any tasks before looking at what I can do for this specific study period. This mindset stops me from becoming overwhelmed with everything at once and having a sort of mental log jam. There is no point wasting mental energy on tasks further down the list that I am not ready for no matter how important they are. That's what I try to tell myself anyway. Sometimes I just have a full-on panic instead - please see above!

What helps though is that the to do list is always there, ready and waiting. It helps to get me back on track - take one step at a time. It was invaluable for my last assessment. I had so many tasks on the go at once. At times I felt like I was getting nowhere. But, I could look at the list and see all the completed ticks and know that I was progressing even if it didn't feel like it. I also use the to do list to note any posts that need writing on exhibitions I've visited or books that I've read for my blog. This helps to remind me that pile of notes and catalogues on my desk need attending to. One thing I have learned is how crucial it is to keep on top of the blog and not let that pile get too big.

My personality type probably plays a big part in how I study too - having a methodical outlook. I find that applying a strategy to how I study can be almost as important as the study itself in terms of finding my way through a module and reaching a successful conclusion. Having a system keeps me on track, (mostly) de-stressed, and most of all, motivated.

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