Coming down from a high

After submitting yesterday, today felt strange. I knew I had other grant proposals to write, but I couldn’t bring myself to start on any. Which is strange because I love starting things. I think it’s the prospect of going through the same process over again, without having had a final reflection on how I did things well and what to do differently. I have the end result, which is all well and good, but I need to be able to replicate the process, and for a much bigger piece of work.

I can go through each and every draft to see what changed between versions to see the learning process in action, but that wasn’t the point of keeping versions: the intent was that I can go back a few versions in case I deleted whole swathes of text. I can, however, see how far I had come since that very first draft that I showed the collaborators. All I can say is, they must have been concerned about the immaturity, or embryonic nature, of the whole application. The writing was OK, it conveyed the principle of the project, but it still had far to go.

I can go through my diary, calendar and emails to see who I talked to and when, but that has no details of what I was thinking at the time. I feel though that this is overkill for a 2-week process. Imagine having to go through everything when I’ve been writing for 6 months, just to reflect on the process…

I guess, what I would do differently, is that I would reflect on a weekly or fortnightly basis rather than at the end, so that reflection on the whole process will be easier. I can ask myself questions such as:

  • How good were the tools that I used? Did I run into any problems while using them?
  • How effective was I at identifying the strengths and the gaps in my writing, as shown by input from others?
  • In the future, how will I recognise the gaps in my writing, and how will I handle it?

Some days it will probably be too hard to answer those questions, as creative, nitty-gritty and reflective work require different ways of thinking, or different moods. Creativity requires pooling together what you know to make something new. Nitty gritty work requires looking at the project at a low-level, to see the mechanics of how something will be done. Reflection requires looking at the past, and learning from it to reinforce the successes and prevent the failures.

I need reflection, as I want to become more efficient at what I do, so I have time to take on more new tasks. I don’t want to keep making the same mistakes that slow me down. I want to change from a 20-80 at this task, to an 80-20. Also, today I created a timeline of what needs to be done and when, and it kind of scared me. There’s no time to fluff around.

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