The question of “how” I work is an interesting on, and honestly something not typically considered. In short I would argue that my work habits fluctuate from being focused to sporadic. The long answer to that question would be, it depends.
I procrastinate. When I need to get something done, most of my attention is not directed towards getting that thing done until I feel a weight or pressure urging me on. Once crunch time is upon me and with a deadline looming over my head, I am focused, I am determined, and whatever I am working on will get done to the best of my abilities. I don’t care if it’ll take me one hour or ten.
However, without a big bad deadline on the horizon, how I work becomes quite reminiscent of how birds eat. I like to break down tasks, chunk it over a few days or weeks, and then each day take on a little bit of everything – pecking away leisurely. With random housework, cooking, and chores scattered throughout. Oftentimes this pecking away at a project means that I’ve played around with something enough then when it comes to actually doing it I can hone it and just get it done.
Looking more specifically still, the times I am most productive in doing my sporadic style of working is in the morning to early afternoon. From there I fizzle out (a lot) and don’t really get back into a work flow until the evening into the night, when I tend to be more focused and can really finalise something I’ve been working on.
Currently, I find that I usually do my work at home and that in and of itself comes in a few different forms:
- Bed – unmade and under the covers
- Bed – made and under a second set of covers
- Bed – made
- Clean desk
- Messy desk
- Livingroom – sofa
- Livingroom – dinning table
On occasion I will choose to go to a coffee shop and or outside to work. However, that’s typically when I have tasks like emails and or readings to do. As I spend a LOT of my time on campus, for the time between classes and for group meetings I prefer to use spaces such as the library and or a study room to work. But I do find these spaces to be situationally dependent and not “my” work areas.
After discussions that we’ve had on group work, I think it would come to no surprise to you Ravi that I typically don’t like to work with other people. Honestly, that’s a lie. I don’t like sharing responsibility of working with people who’s abilities, work ethic, and quality of work I do not perceive as being equal and or complimentary to my own. Due to this, within a school collaborative effort environment, I find it very challenging to collaborate on a project with people and because I say that I like to work on my own.
That being said, until I came to university, in one form or another I typically found myself among a cohort of individuals who were similar to me in their work ethic and the personal standards to which they held themselves responsible. Within these situations, I would find myself surrounded by people whom I felt understood me, both in terms of what I was working on and the standard to which I would like to complete it. We would be in working environments such as labs and or our common room were we could sit together and work independently, but I would still be okay to ask questions, for help, and engage in casual conversation. If you really needed to sit and get something done without distractions then there was a silent work area for that. However, for the most part we had a collaborative work environment.
What I described above is the kind of space I enjoy working in. For the most part I feel as though VIU and the personalities/work ethics of individuals within my cohort of Digital Media studies students does not lend towards the creation of that kind of work environment. Although it must be noted that there are a few exceptions to the rule. Consequently, while on campus I find myself wanting and in some cases needing to work on my own and not interact with other people. That being said in recent months I have made connections with some people outside of the program with whom I can create a mini version of the working environment/experience described above.
Reading back over what I’ve written, outside of a few words, I can tell that I’ve not really described the kind of person I like to work with. So let’s try to operationalise the kinds of people I find intellectually helpful and stimulating to be around:
- People able to think and work independently.
- Individuals who are able to give and take constructive feedback.
- People who have a passion for what they are doing and who put their all into everything they do.
- Individuals who have an open and honest curiosity about the world and enthusiasm for what they do.
- People who are creative and interdisciplinary thinkers.
- Individuals with a strong sense of integrity and perseverance.
When it comes to gathering feedback on work that I’ve done, I can honestly say I am a snob in regards to who I will approach and who I will listen too. Unless there are very specific reasons for me to be listening to them, if I: don’t respect someone and the work they produce; feel as though the attention they would give to providing me feedback; view them as being somehow incompetent; think that their opinion is biased (be that positive or negative); then I am likely not to ask that person for feedback on my work.
Currently, most of the feedback I get is either from my fellow students (both inside and outside of my program) as well as from professors. Typically, if time allows, I try to leave at least a few hours between when I have completed work and when I go back to review it, as this enables me to go over things a little more critically. Once this is done then I usually ask a classmates to look it over and get their feedback on a number of components. After this the work is either submitted, which enables me to get feedback from a professor, or I approach a professor I trust and ask them to look it over for me before considering the project complete. Here I would like to add, although I hope it would go without saying, that a project is only considered complete after careful consideration of all areas of feedback and appropriate adjustments have been made.