Prequel – to the efficiency post

It’s all because of a conversation and a post.

I have the habit of reading the New Oriental WeChat account post every evening around dinner time. Most of the posts are talking about life, habits, study. I enjoy reading the advice and stories in the articles.

That afternoon, I messaged a friend who’s at home. Our french professor last semester emailed the whole class about giving away four One Republic Concert tickets in Darien Lake. I thought it was funny so I sent the screenshot to that friend. He’s in China right now and he messaged me back before 6am Beijing Time.

We got into the conversation of his research and efficiency. My friend said that he’s way too relaxed at home, which confused me. I asked him about the research/internship. Cuz I don’t think it’s possible for you to have a relaxed summer if you are doing research. Living in school dorm, I have a lot of people around me doing research on campus. They are all busy doing experiment, coding, writing papers, etc. They even have to work on weekends to prepare for the Monday presentation. A lot of them are overwhelmed with the amount of the work and responsibility they bear.

He is actually doing research in a lab and that’s exactly why he’s bored. I was even more confused and a bit jealous. This summer just couldn’t get busier for me that I barely have time to blog and read. Eight hours at work every day would literally drain me. I once spent three hours in the office trying to finish up a post for work and after that, my brain just stopped working. Even though I am busy, working eight hours can get much worse than studying. I told him my story and his respond is “if everyday I finish a day of work as efficiently as you are in three hours, what should I do for the rest of the day?

The truth is there is not really much to do there but he has to spend the whole day in the lab. Due to the regulation, even after he finishes work, he cannot leave, read, be on social media, or even study. He has to stay in the lab, looking for things to do or just sit there and hang out with people.

In a sense, this is good cuz you don’t have to do much work but you still get paid. But really? You’ve hired me to hang out here? What bugs me more is that you are wasting my time by hiring me.

That night, I read the post from the New Oriental WeChat account. It is a post about time management also. I forgot most of the story but one thing is carved into my mind.

“I work 5 hours a day this year and my goal is to work 3 hours a day next year.” 

This might not seem realistic, especially under the American working circumstances where people get paid by hours. But the thing it’s saying is that you need to boost up your efficiency.

In that story, a newbie in the company was always very busy. She has to stay up late every night in order to finish work. She felt exhausted after Wednesday that she can barely do work Thursday and Friday. She is the kind of person who takes prides in replying emails within 10 mins. In that article, the author asked us, how many hours of time do you use to actually do work during 8 hours of office? How many hours do you put into online shopping and social media every day? How concentrated you are during work?

Do you now realize why you have to stay up late while others go to bed very early? 

Back to the lab friend. He’s a very efficient worker, I guess. He finishes work fairly quickly and for the rest of the time, he just chills.

It made me realize one sad thing. It’s not you who can decide your lifestyle once you entered the society. You are under a lot of control. How many people work overtime just because everyone else does and doing so will earn a good impression from your boss? That’s the normal state of our society right now. So like a lot of people have pointed out, you can’t blame the wrongdoing of a person solely to the person himself. Society is part of this.

As a student, I truly appreciate the insights his story and the post have provided me. When I still have control over my life, I need to do what I enjoy and keep good habits. Because, once you’re other people’s minion, you lose part of you. Not everyone wants you to do things quickly. Sometimes, they just want to see the hardworking side of you.



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