Expanding Work

Work expands to fill the time given to it.

For my final exams, the structure for the majority of them was 24-hour online, open-book exams. This was the same as last year because of the move to distance learning, and it has taken some adapting.

Last year, for a German exam I was particularly worried about, I spent the best of 10 hours working on it. This wasn’t healthy or helpful.

I’ve tried to be conscious of that risk this year. Especially with essay writing, there is always more time you can spend proofreading and tweaking.

I got this balance wrong last semester on my huge translation group project. It didn’t help my mental health or well-being working all day and late into the evening, non-stop. In the end, all the extra time I put in (because I was worrying and stressing so much) didn’t make much of a difference, anyway.

In the same way, this concept of work expanding has plagued my revision. I’ve tried to structure and organise my work in a way that doesn’t expand beyond strict boundaries. 

The double-edged sword with languages is that there is always more to learn. There is always more time I could spend reading, watching, listening, speaking, building vocabulary.

We need to create systems for ourselves that allow us to do our most productive and efficient work, without it seeping into procrastination and time-wasting.

How do you do this?

How do you organise and structure your workday and your workload?