Using My Time Wisely

I have now been in Madrid for two weeks, and it’s still crazy to think that I going to be here for another two months. There is so much to do and so much to see that I don’t think I will ever find myself bored during my time abroad. After work, I have been picking metro stops at random and wandering around the city. I have discovered a new part of the city almost every day. I am amazed at the size of Madrid and at how easy it is to get around with their public transportation system. On my most recent adventure, I came across an area called “Plaza de Tirso de Molina.” I gave a presentation on this Spanish writer last semester in my Spanish literature class. I think it’s so much fun to actually see locations in Spain that I have only ever read about in books. I am becoming very comfortable in the city, and I am finally adjusted to the time difference and the odd eating schedules of Madrid.

In the workplace and on the streets, I have realized that people talk fast… very fast. It makes it difficult for me to jump into conversations with my coworkers and host family considering they are talking a mile a minute and I miss a few words here and there in their stories. However, this is getting better with time, and conversations are becoming more in depth as I continue to expand my vocabulary and learn different phrases and words specific to people in Spain. I find myself translating less from English to Spanish and thinking more in Spanish. It is a weird feeling because sometimes when I switch from speaking Spanish all day to talking in English, I forget some English words and mispronounce many phrases even though it is my first language!

It feels really good to meet up with the other students from my program and speak English after work. Thinking in Spanish is slower and takes more energy than speaking in English does. It’s nice to speak English and have things just flow without too much use of cognitive energy.

I have been able to manage my time thus far in my internship fairly well. I tend to complete tasks quickly and therefore have a decent amount of down time right now that I am able to use to read about company procedures and ask questions to the department head and my supervisor. I think it is important to use this time between tasks wisely since in the weeks to come I will be assigned more and more responsibility, and my time will become more valuable. I have been learning a lot about the company and the industry as well as the techniques they use that I have previously read about in my operations management class at Pitt. Having this down time allowed for me to really gain an understanding of both Sanitas and El Hospital la Moraleja.

Depending on what industry one is working in, different tasks require different amounts of attention. Since I am working in the healthcare industry, when I am given more than one task at a time, I must prioritize the one that is the most urgent. If I am given a request to complete as well as an order to place at the same time, I have to investigate the situation before deciding which to complete. If the request from a location in the hospital was labeled urgent by the department, then this is my first priority. Since I am working in the supply chain department of a hospital, it is important to ensure that the different areas of the hospital have all the supplies they need in order to serve the customers. If the requests are not labeled urgent, and the product in which I was asked to order has fallen beneath the level of safety stock, then I prioritize the order of the request. As time goes on, I will learn more about which responsibilities to prioritize over others so that the hospital continues to run smoothly.

Another time management technique I use is making lists. I order my tasks by importance and then work diligently to cross off each line. (It feels AMAZING to have a list that is completely crossed off) Personally, lists are an important part of how I motivate myself to fulfill my responsibilities and how I ensure that everything assigned to me is completed.

A fun fact/side note that I learned about the hospital is that their cafeteria food provider is Sodexo! Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing considering how the students at Pitt view the company, but only time will tell since I eat lunch there a few times a week. It is interesting to see how the food varies depending on what country Sodexo is serving.