This week, I began the first week of my MBA program. Also, we welcomed a new crop of students into the optometry program at MCO. It was a busy week, during which I managed to accomplish a great deal, make a few mistakes, and otherwise muddle by.
What went right?
Work scheduling: The week was a productive one. Though I had many tasks to complete, I had good luck sticking to my schedule. I was able to dispose of many of my action items with a minimum of fuss and bother, with some exceptions (see below).
Teaching and fatherhood: I taught my daughter a reading lesson every night of the week, and our plan to help her control her temper is going quite well. So far, she is blossoming in her first week of kindergarten.
My studying: I was able to follow my MBA study schedule and Online Great Books reading schedules quite well. I even got some pleasure reading in. There were some organizational elements to my MBA work that were tricky, but more about those in a moment.
What went wrong?
The take-charge guy: At a meeting at work, I let my faculty know of an event coming up I had been working on. At that time, several of the faculty reminded me that I had said I would hold the student participants to one standard, and that I had violated that standard without telling them.
Of course, this took me aback, because I realized they were right. I had changed my plans midstream without reporting back and consulting with them. My reasons were sound, I believe; as I worked to plan the event it became clear our original plan would not work, and since we were trying to make this event happen with limited time, I simply adjusted on the fly. In another situation, it would have been admirable.
Yet, in this situation, it felt like a betrayal. I clearly had left things with the faculty in a different place than the endpoint I had arrived at. Though I can justify the reasons, and even the necessity of doing so, this is not the behavior I would like to exhibit. I want to be one who leads with communication and consensus. I want to follow the Lean concepts of Toyota Way (which is part of the reason this reflection blog exists). It is clear some adjustment to my standard protocols are in order to prevent this from happening again.
My first responsibility: The first item I prioritize and list every day and week are my devotional service to God. Intercessory prayer, Bible study and memorization, and practicing my catechism are scheduled spiritual service, and thus are vital. Yet, this week, I skipped them due to the new schedule, and the many tasks to complete.
Gym: I have not worked out in earnest for almost a month now. The schedule was so busy (with my falling slightly behind) I always felt like I would have been using study time for weight lifting; time I could not spare. It became easier to just skip the physical work. This can’t continue, or I risk my colitis flaring up again.
MBA Brainscape and Assignments: My plan to read my weekly MBA readings according to a schedule showed some success (early in the week, particularly) and some failure. Due to my lateness in completing my readings, I had to got to my office on Saturday, and vanish for five hours on Sunday, merely to complete my assignments on time. Though all was well in the end, I do not want to be operating under such constraints and threat of missing a deadline.
Additionally, I had planned on using Brainscape to help me reinforce the textbook material, but after using it for three chapters of a book and finding it not terribly useful when reviewing, I wonder if it is in fact not working well.
Of course, in the class I used Brainscape, we do have a final examination, so it may be wise to continue doing Brainscape, if for no reason other than forcing consistent reinforcement of the textbook concepts.
OGB Write, ASCO Handbook, Covey Review: Once again, these important but non-urgent tasks were pushed off to the next week. I will need to simply devote a few hours to get them finished soon.
What will I do this week to improve?
- Prioritize devotions, staring each day with them as a matter of course. I will decrease the parts of the devotions, so I will not be inclined to blow them off due to the perception of the devotions taking too long.
- Divide and Conquer on Important-Non-Urgents: I need to expect one of these items a week. If I can do that, they will be completed soon.
- Brainscape and assignments: continue using Brainscape for the Lean Enterprise course. Schedule readings for earlier in the week, and the assignments for even earlier.
- Consensus building: I will work on an Influencer Plan designed to help me err on the side of building consensus before acting.