Lots of thoughts rattling around in my mind today about learning styles and leadership. The university is starting a pilot programme for its new managers, and I’m one of the guinea pigs. But while we were discussing this at our intro workshop, my brain was also working on setting goals.
On a general basis, I’m in survival mode, especially in my daily life. At work I tend to be much more organized and on top of things, but at the same time … I can’t really say I’m operating at much more than surviving. By this I don’t mean that I’m failing, or that things are building up. I just mean that I tackle things when they become important, on an as-needed level. Sure, I do some planning. Having meetings to attend kinda forces that. But do I just want to slog through doing the basics, completing task after task by rote? That has the appeal to me of walking down a concrete alleyway with my eyes on my toes.
I’m a big picture kind of person. I used to think I was detail oriented, and to some degree I am, but the details are meaningless until I have worked out a feel for how they fit together. I’m also a visual person – drawings, sketches, diagrams all bring a concept alive for me. Even just seeing something summarized in print helps. This is where all that learning style stuff we were discussing came into play. In my position I don’t have a ‘big picture’ in the same way as I used to. I’m not working on puzzling out one question, or even five questions, in a research project. Eventually I will, but not actively right now. Which does remind me I need to read up on some of what I’ll be working on before my PI comes back. But what I’m aiming at here is that I have figured out that I need to establish clear goals for myself, and possible paths towards achieving those goals. Something I can look at every day. Something I can relate each of the three thousand six hundred and eleven tasks I do every week to.
Don’t expect this grand scheme of my work and personal life to appear in a big chunk any time soon. It’s going to take a little bit of brainstorming to figure out exactly what the main parts are and how they fit together. And in the meantime, I have everyday life to get to, a “level two plus” room to decontaminate, a list of orders to do, invoicing to do, reams of credit card purchases to reconcile, and most importantly, a son to raise.