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Should I do more or less - TCIM Career Plan

Should I do more or less?

We live in “secure the bag” “Invest” “ side hustle” culture… so where do we draw the line and accept we are only one human !

It’s human nature or maybe capitalism's fault for ingraining the routine use of comparison. You can’t help but compare yourself to everyone !

We encourage networking and saying yes to as many opportunities without acknowledging that you are only one person. The truth is that you can say no and in fact should say no a lot more often.

So while 2020 I took on probably a lot more than I should have, I accept I have a toxic working culture and the idea of rest is more or less a foreign concept to me.

Let's look back at my” headless chicken year”

I am the type of person that gets ideas, gets excited and can’t really stop until i’ve done at least 50% of it. In 2020 there was a point where I spread myself like the last bit of butter but had two slices of toast. There was just enough of me to cover everything going on. At this time I didn’t prioritise REST. I wanted to be everywhere and do anything because “ how could I miss out “?

I saw a great idea and wanted to be part of it because I was genuinely excited. What I have learnt from this is to be honest with my time and realise REST in itself is a timeslot and should be there. While I can handle busy periods ( again my toxic work habits) I can't let it interfere with the moments I have for myself.

This is where my white board being a lifesaver allowed me to really visualise how I was spreading myself too thin. This leads me to my next point of : compartmentalise and prioritise !

On my white board I had 4 KEY things I wanted to do every week split into categories: Uni, Work, side projects and myself. There was a point I had four side projects going on at once. No this isn’t a good thing, in these moments I was left exhausted with constantly feeling uneasy as I knew there was always something next.

I further split my white board into days. So 7 days and my tasks split across this. Having this visually presented in front of me helped me realise that I can't have more than 1 or 2 things related to an external project outside of my main purpose. At the time Uni and work were my main goals and tcim my main side project. That alone was enough to leave me exhausted. I took on more and while I don’t regret doing it at the time and enjoyed the main event of each thing, I knew I couldn't continue like that.

So into 2021: I started to compartmentalise and prioritise my life and projects. My white board now isn’t allowed to have more than 4 main items on it per week.

These bits are

  1. Work

  2. tcim ( yes a whole section on its own because it is important and no longer just this random thing I do)

  3. Side projects: only allowed to do one at a time and no more than 3 hours of my entire week

  4. Extra: this is food, exercise, and just things that I want to do

If there is something new, I know that something in the four categories has to be removed because I am only one person and I can’t do everything.

Now lets talk about doing more. For me to get to the position I was in in 2020, I had the goal of doing exactly what was preached. Trying new things and involving myself in things that interested me. In doing more it allowed me to figure out what I liked and most importantly disliked. The result... I am doing more with tcim, I evaluated where I wanted to be with it and I have clear goals of improving my writing, establishing myself and finding my feet in science communication and broadening the reach of the career profiles. For that i STILL have to do more.

It's scary forcing yourself to do more but as the quote or all the Instagram posts I have seen. There is no growth INSIDE your comfort zone. If you are way too comfortable with every aspect and feel there is no room for improvement this is most likely untrue. Doing more also doesn't have to be in line with academia or putting yourself out there it could be spending more time on yourself and nurturing relationships you once neglected because you were so busy with the outside world.

It wouldn’t be a tcim post without self reflective questions. So sit and think about the following

  1. How long does it take you to complete a full task ?

  2. How do you plan? - is it effective, do you not have a plan, do you feel you need one?

  3. Where should you be doing more or less?


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