How to Manage Your Time Effectively
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The following Q&A is adapted from the webinar, In First Person: Tips to Survive and Excel as a Woman in Neuroscience, hosted by SfN’s Professional Development Committee's Women in Neuroscience Subcommittee (WINS).
What time management advice do you have for others based on your experiences?
Susan Amara: You do learn to prioritize. You can’t do everything all at once and so you learn to develop schemes for prioritizing. Oftentimes, especially when you’re in the early phase of a family, there are things that you just have to do at home that will take priority. A personal example is that the day before I had to present at a site visit, I realized I had promised to take my daughter and all of her friends to Pocahontas on Ice. I ended up taking them and I had a grand time. I still have photos of the children and it reminded me that I had probably prioritized the right way that day. And the site visit went fine – perhaps just not as well as it could have gone. It’s this idea that you have to realize you’re not going to do everything perfectly. We often think “I have to do it this way, I have to do it that way,” but it isn’t so. Learning ‘what are the most important things to get done,’ and developing a strategy for deciding that, is probably the most important aspect of time management for me.
Sheena Josselyn: I definitely agree that it’s difficult to time manage. One of the big things for me was to realize that not everything has to be done perfectly. Sometimes “good enough” will suffice, and not to be such a perfectionist that it keeps me from doing something really important. Sometimes when I’m packing my daughter’s lunch I’m like, “Would you want this?” And she’s like, “No, I’d like something a bit more challenging to make, a bit more time consuming.” I’m like, “Okay, you get an apple. Next!” Sometimes you just have to be able to say that you can’t put 100 percent of your time into everything, and something has to give.