Posts Tagged ‘time management’

First off, a tip to the gentlemen readers: Never tell a woman that she looks tired. No matter how sympathetically you think you sound, just don’t do it. Admittedly the 48-hour sleep deficit I’ve been running over the last week isn’t doing wonders for my skin or my abilities to stay focused on the most basic of conversations, but I don’t like for that to be pointed out to me, thankyouverymuch.

The lack of sleep can be attributed to the combination of regular end of term happenings and my bright decision to have taken a week to screw off on the beach. There might have been a largely useless conference as well that served as an excuse to travel. The beach trip got a bit derailed by bad weather and my guilt over ditching my NBV group. So I found the one filthy cafe in the whole town with wifi and spent most of the weekend doing work.

This term has been a blast, and letting myself get swallowed up in it has been quite rewarding.

This week alone I managed to make it to Paris 5 times. On Tuesday and Wednesday, a dear friend from home was in town. It was so nice to catch up with someone who’s known me since college. I also spent a lovely Wednesday morning at the US Embassy getting extra pages sewn into my passport. While it’s kind of cool to have finally run out of pages in a passport, it’s not nearly as excited to be crammed in a standing-room-only waiting area full of immigrant hopefuls and wait for three hours. Note to self: if I ever start thinking I’m anything special, I should make a trip to the US Embassy (actually, any embassy) to bring me back down to size. We then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the city and had an incredible dinner at Bistro Paul Bert.

On Friday I was back in Paris to submit a visa application for a Tier 1 visa for the UK. I started the process back when I had a partner in the UK and definite plans to be there post-graduation. I’m now foot-loose and fancy free, and kinda sour on the whole UK idea and just a tad (read: hugely) resentful about the exorbitant financial investment. But I decided to follow through with the rest of the process in order to have a three year work permit. Now it’s out of my hands; please cross your fingers and toes that the frazzled/overworked/underpaid gods of border control will look kindly upon my application. (I’m not terribly psyched to be working this summer. While the subject matter sounds interesting and I have a well-defined project that will help me transition to a role in my area of interest, I really just want to go home and see my parents and friends, sleep until noon, read books, and eat Mexican food. On the plus side, a ton of people from INSEAD will be in London over the summer!)

On Saturday I stayed out at a trashy Paris club with some high-rollers until 5:30 in the AM, and again until 2:30 AM on Sunday for the Fete de la Musique – a huge street party with music acts on every street corner – with two of my favorite people. Paris in the summertime is completely unrecognizable from the freezing, disgusting Paris I encountered on my first trip there in over NYE. I think I might be loving it, finally.

Now I’m sitting in a cubicle in the west wing, staring at a markerboard with my lengthy to do list.
– edit a business plan for my New Business Ventures class
– practice an investor pitch for a presentation tomorrow
– submit an online poll for mergers and acquisitions. wait, no. j/k. I haven’t submitted one all term. Why would I start now?
– finish a paper on why MASDAR freaks me out
– start a 1000 word mini-paper – topic TBD
– start studying for final exams in Macro and IPA.
– find housing in London

Strangely, writing this post will not make this list any shorter.


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This time one year ago, a June weekend might have looked like this:  I probably woke up late on a Saturday, grabbed a New Yorker or a Gourmet magazine, and whiled the morning away over a huge coffee and a spinach, egg and cheese muffin at the bakery down the street.  Then I wandered into town for an afternoon of Swedish modernist home decor shopping, or for another giant coffee with a friend, or for a walk along the esplanade.  In the evening, I probably hosted a dinner, met friends in town, let one of the guys I’ve dumped (but insisted in keeping on as friends for reasons of flattery – wasn’t that fun, Danny?  I thought so…) make me dinner or went to the theater or the Symphony (often by myself).  On Sunday morning I read the NYTimes from cover to cover (okay, just the arts and style sections), spent some time torturing the piano, and thought about cleaning the apartment.   Or I hosted a fabulous brunch that involved strawberries and Chantilly or deep-fried poached eggs.  Then I dragged a group of friends to the beach for lobster, or to a clam shack out of town, or to climb a mountain.  This led my boss to point out that I seem to be having a lot more fun on the weekends than during the week in the office.  Yeah, no kidding.

This year’s June weekends look like this:  this morning I got up and checked facebook to see what I missed by not going out the night before.  There was a BBQ that looked like fun, but also described by my neighbor as, “just like every BBQ you’ve been to this year.”  Saw more pictures posted of the Monty Ball – was tempted to go just to get a picture of myself being decadent and wearing an 18th century wig, but decided to sleep instead.  Lame, I know.  Then I cranked on a scenario planning exercise for International Political Analysis, calculated some multiples for a Mergers and Acquisitions case, trying hard to force myself to care about the wave of acquisitions in the fine chemicals industry, and read three cases for my (really awesome) Enviro Management class.  Then I wrote an e-mail to my condo tenants back in the States to assure them that their A/C would get fixed just as soon as I could get the delinquent building manager to respond to my phone calls.   Then I checked the exchange rate for the 10th time this week – damn, no shopping therapy for me this year.  Then I wrote another angry e-mail to the idiots (mis)handling my visa.  Then I came to school for group work.  Had an unexpected, but really quality heart-to-heart with one of my groupmates.  It’s nice when you feel like you’ve gotten past the fronting and the keeping-it-together with someone – that they’ll still like you if you’re in a bad mood, if you’re stressed out, homesick, cranky.  Seriously, when is the last time you talked about what’s important to you?  Felt really inspired?  Admitted to someone that you’re worried that the thing you say you want to do with your life is not truly the thing that you want to do with your life?  It’s been a while.

But this is starting to sound like one of Vantan’s insufferable posts.  I’m not entirely sure what I’m trying to say with this comparison.  I don’t wish that I was still back in my condo, reading my Gourmet and showing up to the office on Monday to while away the week before I had another inspiring fulfilling weekend.  But I do miss some of the comforts of that life: trips to Whole Foods, finding time to read, $10 lobster, an income, friends I’ve known for 10 years living down the street, having one of the world’s top symphony orchestras a 30 minute walk from my house, not feeling like I’m missing out if I don’t make it to every social gathering, being an hour’s flight from my parents.  Essayist André Aciman describes mnemonic arbitrage as the act of thinking about yourself in the future remembering the moment that you are experiencing.  The meta-ness of this concept is a bit dizzying, but it’s exactly what I’m doing these days: looking at my world from the point of view of my future self.  Whether it’s the future self that is experiencing the moment while composing a blog post about that moment in my head, or the future self that looks back on this experience years from now and wonders if she did it right, made the right choices, made the most of her time.            

A couple of things threw me for a loop this week.  Part of the funk is due to some self-inflicted “matters of the heart.” But also, I went to a talk earlier this week.  One of the guys giving the talk worked for a direct competitor of my old firm.  The other guy had recently joined my dream firm – the company I’ve been stalking for months before finally applying for an internship and getting rejected by HR with a generic ‘we’ll keep your resume on file’ e-mail.  

– But… but… but… we were made for each other!  Wait, don’t leave!  

They also rejected a friend of mine that I thought was a shoo-in for the job.  So, like the men at INSEAD (okay, women too), they just don’t know what they want.  

The topic of the talk was precisely in the intersection of the two firms’ activities that are interesting to me.  Two things happened:  [one] It made me really miss my old job and [two] It made me realize that dream company does some really boring stuff.  While they think about interesting stuff, their main product appears to be slick-looking reports.  Snoooozzzz. 

– So, there, I wasn’t interested anyways!

Yes, my capacity for self-justification is amazing:  I can convince myself that every outcome that transpires is my getting my way/a blessing in disguise/a thing happening for a reason.  

I best go summon those powers of self-justification to try to feel less homesick.

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I’ve been spending my last month before school in a semi-productive manner.  While my classmates are scuba diving in Bali and hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, I’m taking Career Leader profile tests.

Choose a statement: “The position allows ample time to pursue other important aspects of my lifestyle” OR “The position provides excellent opportunity for exceptional financial reward”  

Um… both?

Among my motivators, “Intellectual Challenge” and “Lifestyle” are high.  As is my need for “Influence and Power.”  

In one section, you have to compare yourself with your peers.  What ends up happening in this type of a survey is a Lake Woebegone effect – everyone is above average!

So I tried to imagine my future class of overachievers, and rated my Time Management, Work Ethic and Self-Control at the bottom barrel.  I guess you could say that I’ve gotten where I am by being smart, not by working hard.  (I know the pitfalls, and I’m currently reconsidering this strategy.)

AJ Jacobs tells a hilarious story during one of the Moth Storyslams.  An editor at Esquire, he was one of the first people in the US to hire a business assistant in India to handle his administrative work.  This went so well that he then outsourced his personal life to another assistant.  She did his online shopping, booked his reservations, and even resolved an argument with his wife.   The bit is hilarious – totally worth a listen!  

So rather than investing in improving my time-management skills, I’m wondering if this is the kind of outside-of-the-box thinking that I should be employing.  Does anyone in India want to write my resume?  Take my exams?  Conference in for my case interviews?

$300/month.  Anyone?

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