Achieving goals and managing time.

I came across a couple of You Tube videos today which were recommended on one of the many PhD blogs that are around at the moment. Both are lectures delivered by the late Randy Pausch, who was a computer science lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, and are really interesting in a number of ways. The first, called ‘Really achieving your childhood dreams’ is really a reflection on his career and approach to acadmemic work, and I guess there are several useful lessons in it, including the need to be persistent in the face of apparent obstacles, the need to be open to opportunities in order to make the most of ‘luck’ and the necessity for lots of hard work. Pausch doesn’t pretend that achieving tenure was a walk in the park (when asked the ‘secret’ to achieving early tenure he suggests calling him in his office at 10pm on a Friday for the answer), but he does make it clear that if you’re willing to go that bit further than everyone else, you can get where you want to be.  He also throws in some great tips for handling difficult situations with line managers, effective teaching and, if nothing else, many lecturers could learn a huge amount from his style of presentation (including effective use of powerpoint!)

The second lecture, on ‘Time Management’ is perhaps more pragmatic and suggests that time is the most valuable commodity that we have, although we don’t often treat it that way. Another good thing about the lecture is that, in his own words, Pausch is “not big on platitudes” and therefore focuses on specific techniques for managing time (and by extension, managing stress)

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