Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Time Management Tuesday: Working Like An Engineering Student

Yesterday I was doing some research on engineering students, because my most recent work-in-progress involves...yes, a main character who is an engineering student. I stumbled upon a site at which engineering students were writing about their recreational interests. Engineering is a demanding major and some of these people wrote about working intently during the week so they could have time off on the weekends. This didn't surprise me, because I married into an engineering family, and this is how those engineers talked about school. My father-in-law, for instance, described getting his undergraduate homework done during the day, and then walking up and down the hall in his dorm looking for someone to go to the movies with him in the evening. Evidently engineering students don't let work hang.

What did surprise me, though, was when I saw a couple of students at this site actually use the expression "time management." One of them quoted a professor who advised his students to treat studying engineering as an 8 to 5, Monday through Friday job.

Treating Writing As A ___ to ____ Job


Okay, not many writers have 8 to 5 Monday through Friday available for writing. But those of us who are able to keep any kind of regular writing hours at all, be they something like Ursula LeGuin's or an hour an evening four nights a week, which is something I did years go, can treat that time as a 8 to 1 job or a 4-hours a week job. A second job. A part-time job. A legitimate job. We can protect those hours for work, just as we have to protect hours at a traditional job for work. 
For those writers who have yet to be published or those who are in a long-dry spell without any publications, it's hard to think of what we do as a job, because there's no payoff either in material for a resume or financial pay. It's a mind game we play with ourselves, like the Sledding Method of Time Management
But if we play it well, we improve our chances of achieving a professional life. Like those engineering students are doing.


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