ECPN’s recent webinar, "Project Management: A Crucial 'Soft Skill' for the 21st-Century Emerging Conservation Professional," took place on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, and featured Quinn Ferris and Nicolette Meister. The full recording of the webinar is available on AIC’s YouTube Channel. One question from a viewer could not be answered due to time constraints; however, Quinn Ferris has generously answered it here.
What strategies do you use to find a work/life balance with a heavy work load?
Quinn: I think an important step for me early on was to mentally shift from being a student to a professional. I think as students we become habituated to working long irregular hours to try and get everything done, which gets harder as you age, but also doesn't leave you time to have a life outside of your studies in many cases. I had a great internship supervisor who emphasized that if I had a work task or project, I was only expected and encouraged to work on it between 9 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday. At first this was a hard adjustment--mostly because I didn't know what to do with myself or my newly liberated time. After a while, it became my own personal rule--that I would work hard and do as much as I could during work hours and the rest would have to wait.
Obviously, certain projects and timelines might demand that this cannot always be the case and I am not saying that I haven't worked long nights and weekends in the spirit of getting something done on time. But I think it is helpful to realize that balance in and of itself is always in flux, and staying permanently "balanced" in the traditional sense is kind of impossible in modern life. When that's the case, I think shifting our focus towards the idea of "re-balancing" is really key. If you have to put in extra time on an assignment or project that eats into the "life" side of your work-life equation, I would say that it is important to advocate for yourself to make sure you have some time that you can focus on making sure your balance is restored. For example, when I work a long day or over the weekend, I make sure I express to my supervisor my intention to take that time when the project is concluded to catch up on the things that I may have had to neglect in the moment--like personal errands, rest or fun. If you don't do this, you run the risk of having always to be at a deficit, which makes moving forward with the next thing on your docket a challenge.
Thank you, Quinn! ECPN is grateful to both Quinn and Nicolette for participating in this webinar and for generously sharing their project management expertise. For more information on this webinar and the presenters, please see the announcement post about the webinar.
Below are the project management resources that our speakers provided during their presentations:
- Project summary templates.
- Trello Project Management.
- Project Management Institute.
- Morris, Martha (2017) Managing People and Projects in Museums:
Strategies that Work. Rowman & Littlefield.
- Project Management Toolkit (2017) Transforming Future Museums. British Council.
- American Alliance of Museums, 4-part series, $25 each webinar.
- Project Management Basics
- Project Management: Creating a Scope of Work
- Project Management: Getting the Project Work Done
- Project Management: Closing and Evaluating the Project
- American Association for State and Local History, 4-week online course, $350-425.
- Project Management for History Professionals