Featured Post

Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do One Thing a Day

Ok. I know what you're going to say. I can't do just one thing a day, I have twenty or thirty things to do each day.

What I mean is this: COMPLETE AT LEAST ONE SIGNIFICANT TASK each working day. Let's break this down.

"complete": finish it OR make substantial progress (it it's a long-term task)

"at least one": not half of something.

"significant": A large chunk (significant) of an article, the writing of a syllabus, a complete revision of the cv., the grading of an entire set of papers, a peer review of an article...

"each": not every other working day, not every three or four days...

"working day": a day on which you are working, a day that counts toward your total number of working days.

Now this is going to be very hard, though it seems easy. You say you need to do twenty things a day, but you aren't currently doing that many truly significant tasks, right? I thought not. You're going to concentrate on bringing something to completion or doing a definable portion of a larger task. If you do at least that then you'll be set. Imagine a 5 day work week. Suppose in that week you've made significant progress on an article, you've graded an entire set of papers, you've written a letter of recommendation, you've read your colleague's tenure file... You've had a very productive week.

I'm wondering about whether task management or time management is the key. In other words, is time a distraction, when what we really want to do is get things done? More on that later.

No comments: