Time and Work Management

Managing time and workload for the duration of of the XE404 module has been tricky but rewarding. It has been a time of missed sessions due to personal illness, extensions, massive changes to the work environment and a global pandemic. Something I did at the start of the module was to get hold of the teaching schedule (table below) so that I had a reasonable idea of size of the module and what we were going to cover.

Another aspect that makes managing this module hard that we are dealing with massive subjects such as CAD or CAM. We have a weekly session to introduce the subjects and then we explore and document them. From a time management point of view this is hard as there is almost no end to the depth you can go with these subjects and therefor no definite end point to the work that you can do – I mean, how do finish writing about CAD?

Finally, personally I have found the last couple of months very strange in terms of time. The combination of being stuck at home with limited ways to vary the daily experience and the fact that it has been the same weather almost everyday has made it feel like time has stopped. All the more crucial to make a plan and stick to it, otherwise deadlines might creep up on you even thought you’re sure March ended just a few weeks ago…


XE404 Indicative Teaching Schedule
Teaching Weeks MONDAY Date staff In C411 or fablab
1 3-Feb-20 DC digital fabrication principles and practices, websites and project/group management
2 10-Feb-20 DC computer-aided design
3 17-Feb-20 DC computer-controlled cutting
4 24-Feb-20 DC electronics production
5 2-Mar-20 DC electronics design
6 9-Mar-20 DC embedded programming
7 16-Mar-20 DC formative assessment in class Formative assessment in class – review of websites
8 23-Mar-20 DC 3D (scanning and) printing
9 30-Mar-20 DC molding and casting
13-Apr-20 Easter
10 27-Apr-20 IW Intro to Arduino and Flashing LEDs
11 4-May-20 IW Arduino Libraries Arduino Displays
12 11-May-20 IW Range finder & Display Digital folio website due Friday 15th May 3pm, feedback through gradecentre by 5th June



Progression Document –

There have also been many variations of this document. It is based on the teaching schedule but I’ve added some additional columns to add notes of what the main requirements or outcomes are for a given week and what I have or haven’t done. I loosely used a colour coding system to chart progress, basically no colour/not green means ‘needs work’, green is ‘adequately documented and written up’ or ‘done enough’.


This document began to be less effective halfway through the module when I decided to completely overhaul my website, change all the pages to posts and switch up how I was documenting my work – Originally I had been doing a page per week but I began to find this quite limiting, especially as many weeks had overlapping content. So I swapped to posts which I found made it a lot easier to add and create content in a way the flowed with exploitative nature of the module but I often made more posts than I thought or post that I hadn’t planned to and planning felt more like guess work. It also meant that I had to go back and rewrite or adjust almost everything I’d done so my progress was way off.



Through out the module I would create tables like this to keep on top of the things I need to do from day to day and week to week.

Task Notes
Vinyl leaf image cut and document the process in Computer Controlled Cutting. Underway, leaf .ai file ready to be cut. Time needs to be found to use FabLAb.
Follow, experiment and document process of displaying an image on OLED. Underway, confident with process and set up of OLED but need to find image editing software to make a template with the same no. of pixels as OLED display.
Tidy and consolidate the formatting of the website Forever ongoing, main issue is consistent headings to work with table of contents
Maintain Fixperts dp403 project page Underway, but a number of weeks behind actual project. Need to upload Fixpartner detail, problem specification and prototyping.
Maintain ORS Rail pd402 project page Underway, project completed so a large about to add. Needs constant updating. One quick job would be to add a media library and upload all the images from that project.
Write something better for my about me page Something that suggest what kind of design I’m interested in



There were also a lot of notes like this – not a professional as a gantt chart but still useful for know what you need to achieve on a given day.

This ‘to do’ list is excellent – one of the things to do is work out what there is to do…

to do list

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