March 20, 2007 at 2:22 AMLast week my boss asked me to check out some project management software. Since my job title includes the term project manager, I thought this was appropriate. But then I had a hard time getting my mind around the software. I've never been very good at thinking in milestones and deadlines and breaking larger tasks down into small, manageable bites. I hope it is something that I could get better at with practice, if I knew how to practice.
The truth is that I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed at work for the past several months. I've been in this job about a year and a half, and recently the workload seems to have accelerated and isn't letting up. I enjoy all the pieces of my job: my coworkers are nice, everyone is smart and there's a lot of positive energy at the Institute, the research we do on neurodegenerative disease mechanisms and therapies is not only interesting but meaningful and something that I can feel good about when I go home at night.
So why am I still feeling so exhausted and burnt out and like the best part of my day, by far, is the 30 minutes of viola practice I do in the morning? This morning I felt like I wanted to take a break from the pieces I had just performed so I spent the whole time on Wohlfahrt etudes. I want to finish viola Book 1 by June. I'm on #16. They're pretty easy, when I get going I can just motor through them. But then it's really time to pack it in and start the day, and I'm like, oh, why don't I just play another one? Oh, yeah, just another Wohlfahrt etude, please. Something's wrong when Wohlfahrt etudes are such a big treat, isn't it?
It might be the feeling of confidence and mastery that's so appealing about Wohlfahrt. Since I can do the etudes, they're fun. Whereas when I go to work I'm facing another day of confusion and vagueness and not really being sure if what I did was right or not.
Which brings me back to the project management software. Even my boss, who is a very creative, brilliant, high-energy person, said she was feeling overwhelmed by what's going on in the lab right now. Can project management software be like a practice log? A way to get the neverending swirling to-do list out of your mind and get you to focus?
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